Naturopaths put the moves on Mississippi

Fresh from the legislative losses in 2014, naturopaths are busy filing new licensing bills. Perhaps in search of a state where their licensing hasn't been rejected over and over, they somehow persuaded Rep. Rita Martinson to introduce a whopper of a bill in Mississippi. (House Bill 725) Best I can tell, no naturopathic licensing bill has ever been introduced in the Mississippi legislature.  

Naturopaths are already practicing in Mississippi, they simply aren't licensed to do so. Let's look at a couple of their websites, to see what kinds of treatments naturopaths are already offering.  Here's "Sarita" Elizabeth Cox, who is also an acupuncturist. As a graduate of the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education-accredited National College of Natural Medicine, Cox would be eligible for naturopathic licensing should this bill become law.  According to her website, she offers "amethyst biomat treatments and rentals":

Offering far infrared heat waves and negative ionization, the amethyst biomat can be used for balancing and maintaining health as well as detoxification. It is paired with select meditative and brain wave altering headset audio to help change habit patterns, achieve relaxation and optimize health. As this quantum energetic is cumulative, three and six session packages are available. Amethyst can be added on to any treatment. Both the mini mat and full length professional mat are available for rental.

 

Yes, "quantum," that favorite of practitioners of pseudoscience everywhere, who want to sound "sciency" but have no clue about what quantum actually means. Or, as David Gorski calls it, "a 'get out of jail free' card for any magical thinking you can imagine."  

What are the beneficial effects of the biomat? It has that other signature quality of psuedomedicine: "the one true cure."  In the interest of space, I'll mention only a few of the biomat's impressive qualities: it purges toxins, pesticides and PCBs, reduces stress and fatigue, improves immune function and cardiovascular health, reduces allergy symptoms, and is anti-aging. Who could ask for anything more?  

Doesn't say much for the education of naturopathic doctors, does it?

So what would this bill allow? Naturopaths would have close to the same scope of practice as an MD or DO primary care physician.  In fact, they could call themselves "physicians." And, like medical physicians, these "naturopathic physicians" would be regulated by their own board, the Board of Naturopathic Medicine. They could prescribe drugs, if these drugs are on the naturopathic formulary approved by a formulary council consisting of 2 two naturopaths, two pharmacists and one MD or DO. The approved prescription drugs could be by all the usual routes, including IV. 

Naturopaths could practice "naturopathic childbirth attendance" as well, with some additional training and passing an approved exam.  One of these exams is that of the North American Registry of Midwives.  This organization provides registration for "direct-entry midwives," that is, midwives who have no formal medical training. Naturopathic childbirth attendance includes "management of normal pregnancy, normal labor and delivery, and the normal postpartum period, including normal newborn care." 

All the usual naturopathic nostrums are included in the practice act: dietary supplements, homeopathy, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, colonic hydrotherapy.  As well, they would be allowed to use a wide range of diagnostic procedures, including ordering and performing phlebotomy, clinical lab tests, orificial exams, and physiological function tests and ordering diagnostic imagining. These would presumably include such things as PET scans, MRIs, x-rays, spirometry and cardiac function testing. 

Fortunately, naturopathic practice acts don't usually grant them the scope of practice they wanted.  Most naturopathic licensing legislation fails to pass even after repeated attempts. Where they are licensed or registered, their scope of practice is far less than they would have liked, although they will regularly come back for more, year after year.  

But they can do a lot of damage with the scope of practice they have, whatever it is. Just go over to the SBM blog and type "naturopathy" in the search box. Scary, isn't it?

 

 

Points of Interest 1/26/2015
Points of Interest 01/24/2015

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