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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 17, 2015 10:44 AM
From: Senator Jay Costa
To: All Senate members
Subject: Naturopathic Physician Licensure by the State Board of Medicine
In the near future I will introduce a companion bill to Representative Mark Mustio's legislation providing for the licensure or naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) by the State Board of Medicine. Licensure of N.D.s will help to fill the medical void in many communities lacking general practice doctors. N.D.s complete a four-year, graduate level medical school program and pass medical boards. These doctors are highly trained specialists in the areas of nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and are the only group of medical providers trained in herb-drug and herb-nutraceutical interactions.

Currently, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have licensing laws for N.D.s. In these states, N.D.s work side by side with medical doctors to provide integrative care and routinely consult with MDs on drug-herb interactions and natural alternatives to conventional care. In Pennsylvania, hospitals have already begun to integrate the services of N.D.s. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia currently has six N.D.s on staff to provide integrative care for its patients. U.P.M.C. Shadyside Hospital has a center for integrative medicine with an N.D. on staff, and the Penn State Hershey Medical Center has some of its students do rotations with N.D.s.

Licensure of N.D.s will help patients who are seeking naturopathic medical care select qualified and accredited practitioners. However, my legislation will not limit any other practitioner from using natural therapies as they have been or are currently permitted. It will not limit the sales of supplements, botanicals, or homeopathic remedies at retail stores, offices, and pharmacies or by the general public.

Licensure of N.D.s would give Pennsylvania residents a choice in their health care and provide for an integrative model of health care. The patients of Pennsylvania Naturopathic Doctors deserve access to the care their doctors can provide, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania needs quality care providers who will reduce the burden of chronic disease.

Please join me by co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB621