Testimony in Support of HB 612
Bill to License Naturopathic Doctors in PA
Dear Chairperson and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am writing to ask your support of HB 612, a bill that would provide licensure for naturopathic physicians in Pennsylvania. HB612 was introduced by Representative Mark Mustio (Republican-Moon Twp) on Feb 8, 2013 and sent to the House Professional Licensure Committee. Passage of this bill would allow naturopathic doctors to practice to the fullest scope of their education and training. HB 612 will not limit any other healthcare provider or practitioner from using natural therapies as they have been or are currently permitted under their primary licenses. It will not limit the sales of supplements, botanicals, or homeopathic remedies at retail stores, offices, and pharmacies or by the general public.
Licensing naturopathic doctors is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden of chronic disease in Pennsylvania, especially in light of the physician shortage that exists in this state. Naturopathic doctors' focus on therapeutic life changes is particularly timely given today's epidemic of chronic diseases brought on by poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and high stress. Ample evidence exists to substantiate the role of naturopathic therapies in preventing or delaying the onset of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
As a healthcare consumer, I feel it is in my best interest o have access to qualified Naturopathic Doctors in coordination with my medical care. It has been my experience that naturopathic doctors really listen and take the time to know you, as an individual. Their commitment to addressing the cause of my problems and not just providing symptom relief is a welcome change from my experience with medical doctors, who tend to rush through visits and provide impersonal service.
Passage of HB 612 would ensure that educational guidelines are followed, promoting the highest quality of naturopathic services for Pennsylvania residents, by licensing naturopathic doctors who have completed a four-year, graduate level medical school program, passed board exams, and who meet federally recognized standards of education. Licensure would also bring naturopathic doctors into the professional wellness community, allowing improved communication among various practitioners, including physicians.
It is important that legislators become informed regarding the benefits and public demand for complimentary alternative modalities and their healthcare value in delivering safe, effective, and economical treatments. Ideally, Medical Doctors and Naturopathic Doctors would work in collaboration to deliver quality patient care.
Please support HB 612 so that Pennsylvania will continue to be progressive in healthcare delivery while meeting the public demand for these services.