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State Action: Challenge to MD Homeopaths/AZ, Florida Agency Data on Massage, NDs Advance in NY, plus PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

State Action: Challenge to MD Homeopaths in Arizona, Florida Agency Data on Massage, NDs Advance in NY, Library Services as Integration, plus

Summary:  Arizona is one of 3 states licensing MD-homeopaths, but with an odd, broad law - which is now under serious review following questionable licentiates. The American Medical College of Homeopathy is organizing the fight to keep the law ...  The Florida Department of Health has released data from its survey of the practitioner in that state ... ND licensing advances in New York State, but may be stopped by a refusal of the New York State Medical Society to meet ... Three studies out of the California Bureau of Consumer Affairs offer a grounding in the ND scope of practice ... Higher licensing fees to practitioners in Washington to support access to evidence based practice resources from the University of Washington ...
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1.    Arizona: American Medical College of Homeopathy Tries to Keep Licensing Board

Todd Rowe, MD, founder, AMCH
The legislative committee of the
American Medical College of Homeopathy (AMCH) is busy preparing a case for the re-licensing of homeopaths in its home state, Arizona. The state is one of just 3 with a homeopathic license for medical doctors (AZ, CT, NV). Currently, many are from out of state.

The license has been heavily scrutinized since late 2005 when legislators, according to an article in the Arizona Republic , called for an audit upon discovering that "the homeopathic medical board has licensed four felons and at least six other doctors who have lost their licenses or been disciplined elsewhere.
" A part of the problem is that the Arizona board is broader than homeopathy. The following is the description of scope on the home page of the Arizona Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners:
"The scope of a homeopathic license includes the practice of acupuncture, chelation, homeopathy, minor surgery, neuromuscular integration, nutrition, orthomolecular therapy and pharmaceutical medicine (see A.R.S. § 32-2901(22))."
ImageWhile Hahnemann may be squirming in his grave, the legislative committee of the AMCH is organizing to protect the law. Kristina Star, CHom, the committee chair, told the Integrator that the present focus is on a grassroots effort to get at least 2000 letters to the licensing board from patients, prior to Labor Day. Currently roughly 125 MDs and osteopaths are licensed by the board, with 1/3 from other states who may view the license as a kind of cover for practices that stray outside the conventional scope in their own states. According to the same article in the Arizona Republic, the primary requirement for licensing is 90 hours of homeopathic training, "which can be gained through a correspondence course, to get an Arizona license."

Anyone curious about the status of homeopathy might be interested in exploring the Homeopathy Practitioner Survey on which AMCH also took the lead.


In other homeopathy-related regulatory activity, the North American Society of Homeopaths
(NASH) is crying foul about a proposal to regulate homeopathic practice through a "joint professional colleges" with the Ontario Board of Naturopathic Doctors. In a release, the homeopaths claim their practice is being "hijacked" and that the outcome will be increased costs. The group prefers to remain in a "self-regulating" status.

2.    Florida: Department of Health Study Data on Massage Therapy

ImageIn what is presented as a first study of the massage profession by a government agency, Massage Today shared data from a survey of 6,592 massage therapists in Florida which was undertaken by that state's Department of Health. ("
Survey of Florida Massage Therapist  Provides Snapshot of Profession," by Tina Beychok, May 2007.) An area of concern which stimulated the survey was reports of unlicensed activity. Some findings:

  • 1% work solely in a gym/fitness center
  • 36% do at least some home visits or office visits
  • 36% never do home visits or office visits
  • 50% are self-employed
  • 7% report owning their own establishment
  • Most work 20 hours or less per week, with half <10 hours and half 11-20 hours
  • 61% do not bill via insurance
  • 15% bill via insurance for at least half their clients
  • Half earn <$20,000/year
  • 10% earn at least $40,000/year

A surprise to a member of the Florida Board of Massage Therapy, Lynda Solien-Wolfe, was that deep tissue massage techniques are used more than Swedish massage. Pain relief is the primary focus of care. Interestingly, while over half reported sustaining some kind of work-related injury (back spasms, wrist, etc.), 75% of those who did so did not take any time off work.

Comment: But, where appropriate, did the injured practitioners get a massage? Or is it the pattern of the cobbler's children having no shoes?

3.   New York: Naturopathic Licensing Update

Donielle Wilson, ND, pushing fpor NY license for 4 years
Donnie Wilson, ND
reports that the efforts of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NYANP) to gain licensing for naturopathic doctors in New York state have advanced but are up against the clock, presently, with just 5 weeks left in the session.
The bill passed through the relevant Senate committee but Deborah Glick (D-Soho) who chairs the key Assembly panel, despite being a bill sponsor, has not yet given it a hearing. On May 14, the NYANP fired off an email to supporters through its consumer lobbying program and by noon of May 15, 100 messages had been sent to the Assembly woman.

Wilson indicates that the big issue for NYANP now is that the "state medical society refuses to meet with us." She estimates that there have been "6 or 7 formal requests by legislators or us" since January, and the society hasn't met with them. Wilson, the NYANP president and unpaid spearhead throughout the now 4-year campaign believes that the medical society "knows we have a strong bill and if they met with us, they would have to allow the bill to move." The assumption that they don't want the bill to move is aligned with one of the goals of the Scope of Practice Partnership of the American Medical Association. Utterly stopping the NDs from gaining additional licensing was affirmed in a focused resolution at the 2006 AMA House of Delegates meeting.

Plus, MA, NC, IL, CO
  Naturopathic physicians, who are only licensed in 13 states and the District of Columbia, are also pushing licensing in other jurisdictions. Karen Howard, executive director of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, provided the Integrator a quick update on 2007 action. In
Illinois, the state association successfully got the legislature to pass a bill to study the profession. In Massachusetts and North Carolina, bills are still "in play." In Colorado, while the bill is dead for 2007, it advanced further than anticipated and leaders are hopeful for 2008, according to Howard.

4.    California:  Insights into ND Practice via 3 Department of Consumer Affairs Studies

Anyone with a curiosity about the evolving scope of naturopathic medical practice might enjoy a short side-journey into three recent reports from the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine, a part of the California Bureau of Consumer Affairs. Each was to clarify key questions regarding the establishment of scope: one on formulary, a second on natural childbirth and the third on minor office procedures/minor surgery. Each 15-30 page document reports the work of a multi-disciplinary panel, with medical doctor participation from such professionals such as Mary Hardy, MD, Bill Benda, MD and Soram Singh Khalsa, MD. The reports provide clarity on recommendations in all areas, including a detailed pharmacy list.

5.    Washington: Okay, so how about we integrate via library services ...

A law passed in Washington State as part of a major healthcare bill (SB 5930) will add a surcharge on professional licensing fees of up to $25 to fund a program through which the University of Washington health services library system will "provide online access to selected vital clinical resources, medical journals, decision support tools and evidence-based reviews of procedures, drugs and devices." Among the disciplines that will both face the surcharge and gain the resource in that state are chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths and massage therapists. The initiative is part of an effort to promote evidence based practice.  (Thanks to lobbyist extraordinaire Lori Bielinski, LMP, for the information.)

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