Proposal Would Have Naturopaths Be Registered; amid Growing Interest in Natural Remedies, a New Pennsylvania Law Aims to Protect People from Untrained Alternative Healers by Creating a Registry of Naturopathic Doctors Who Have Completed Accredited Training Programs. [Derived Headline]

By Venteicher, Wes | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 7, 2016 | Go to article overview

Proposal Would Have Naturopaths Be Registered; amid Growing Interest in Natural Remedies, a New Pennsylvania Law Aims to Protect People from Untrained Alternative Healers by Creating a Registry of Naturopathic Doctors Who Have Completed Accredited Training Programs. [Derived Headline]


Venteicher, Wes, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Amid growing interest in natural remedies, a new Pennsylvania law aims to protect people from untrained alternative healers by creating a registry of naturopathic doctors who have completed accredited training programs.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation last week creating the law, which goes into effect in January 2018. The law outlines qualifications to register as a naturopathic doctor and makes it illegal for people to advertise themselves as one if they are not registered.

"Before this bill passed, anybody in the state with very little training could call themselves or advertise themselves as a naturopathic doctor," said Heidi Weinhold, a naturopathic doctor who is the legislative chairwoman for the Pennsylvania Association of Naturopathic Physicians. "It was dangerous."

Many who call themselves naturopathic doctors complete only a six- week online course before telling people what supplements to take and what "toxins" to avoid, Weinhold said.

The law requires naturopathic doctors to have completed a program with at least 4,100 credit hours and to have passed a licensing exam. There are a handful of graduate schools in the United States with four-year programs accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, which is recognized as an accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education, according to a letter from the council's director.

Supporters called the law a good "first step" toward helping patients access the services of naturopaths, who are increasingly working in conjunction with medical doctors to help patients manage diet and lifestyle to complement conventional treatments.

Pennsylvania becomes the 18th state, plus Washington, D.C., to regulate naturopathic doctors, according to the Washington, D.C.- based Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. Some state laws go further than Pennsylvania's by requiring insurers to cover a naturopathic doctor's services, said JoAnn Yanez, the association's director.

The law also stops short of licensing naturopathic doctors, which adds more rigorous oversight than registration, Yanez said. Still, she said, the law will help.

"At the end of the day, licensure and registration both boil down to public protection," she said. …

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Proposal Would Have Naturopaths Be Registered; amid Growing Interest in Natural Remedies, a New Pennsylvania Law Aims to Protect People from Untrained Alternative Healers by Creating a Registry of Naturopathic Doctors Who Have Completed Accredited Training Programs. [Derived Headline]
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