United States Department of Labor Definition:
29-1199.04 – NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS
Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases using a system of practice that is based on the natural healing capacity of individuals. May use physiological, psychological or mechanical methods. May also use natural medicines, prescription or legend drugs, foods, herbs, or other natural remedies.
Sample of reported job titles: Naturopathic Physician, Naturopathic Doctor, Physician, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Why Does Michigan Need to License Naturopathic Physicians?
Despite US Department of Education recognition of naturopathic medical education unaccredited services still sell “naturopathic” degrees online or through other non-accredited institutions. Without licensure, it is difficult for health consumers to discern between natural health consultants and naturopathic doctors. State licensure is the only way to protect the public by providing regulation to verify the credentials of their naturopathic physicians. Licensure separates life-experience and self study from formal medical training. Additionally, as surrounding states pass licensure laws, Michigan is likely to see an influx of these alternative practitioners implying physician-level training, unless Michigan enacts licensure first. The only way to prevent alternative healers from representing themselves as doctors and physicians is to provide licensure to those that uphold the national standards proven safe and effective for primary, natural health care. Without responsible oversight there will be lower health care standards and public confusion.
Licensing of Naturopathic Physicians will prevent Michigan citizens who want natural and integrative health care from leaving the state
CAM prevalence and use is growing yearly. 36%i -68%ii of Americans are using some form of naturopathic or alternative modality as part of their healthcare. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 14.8 billion dollars is being spent on non-vitamin, non mineral natural products and 11.9 billion is being spent on actual visits to CAM providers. iiiivv With neighboring states currently entering new licensure legislation, and Minnesota passing a new law in spring of 2009, Michigan residents seeking integrative care may soon be taking those health care dollars across state lines.
Naturopathic Medicine Lowers Health Care Costs
In a recent study conducted by Green Mountain Wellness Solutions for the Vermont Automobile Dealers Association in 2005-2006, 848 employees were examined and advised by naturopathic physicians for one year. The organization saved $1.5 million in direct and indirect medical costs the first year. Further, the drastic reduction in health risk factors has resulted in a decrease in insurance premiums for each year the program has been in place.
Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are all considered preventable conditions yet the current health care system has shown little efficacy in preventative medicine.vi vii viii ix x Naturopathic Medicine has proven itself to be significantly more effective in improving health and reducing health care costs.xi The Oregon Office of Medical Assistance provided data showing that Naturopathic Medicaid Services have been “57.5% more cost effective than MD/DO/NP combined services in the last 4 years.”xii The King County report from Regence Blue Shield of Washington states that “preliminary outcomes suggests that an effective ND PCP centered managed care program could cut the costs of chronic and stress related illness by up to 40%.”
Naturopathic medicine is extremely safe
Health is a right that all Michiganders deserve access to. Naturopathic physicians are the only healthcare providers that are professionally trained and willing to work with other branches of medicine to offer the best and safest health care. Naturopathic Physicians have a phenomenal safety record. In states that license and insure NDs, coverage costs, reports and claims are significantly lower than those found in conventional medicine This bill provides access to safe, effective integrative medicine.
Passing legislation that provides consumer access to care from naturopathic physicians will be a costly process. The Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians (a non-profit 501c(6) organization), relies on the generosity of people like you who envision an integrated healthcare system that is truly effective. All levels of giving are greatly appreciated. For details on making a contribution, please call (313) 389-MANP.