Colorado Governor Signs Bill Regulating Naturopathic Doctors
Enactment Will Increase Access to Natural Medicine for Illness Prevention and Treatment
Denver, CO, June 5 – Governor John Hickenlooper today signed into law a measure to allow naturopathic doctors to register with the state to legally practice naturopathic medicine. Colorado becomes the 17th state to do so, along with the District of Columbia.
“I am proud that Colorado has taken the lead in ensuring that well trained naturopathic doctors, appropriately regulated, become a viable health care option for the citizens of our state,” said Rep. Joann Ginal (D-Ft. Collins), the bill’s lead sponsor. Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton), the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, commented that “naturopathic doctors are going to be a key component in health care, saving the state millions of dollars through their focus on disease prevention and natural treatment, such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine.”
Naturopathic doctors are trained to prevent and treat chronic conditions associated with lifestyle – such as hypertension, weight gain, obesity, and diabetes – as well as most other illnesses. The law will enable Coloradans to distinguish between naturopathic doctors and lay or traditional naturopaths, who lack extensive graduate-level clinical training. The law allows naturopathic doctors who have completed a 4-year post-graduate program at an accredited naturopathic medical school and have passed a national science and clinical board exam to register with the state.
Currently, more than 150 naturopathic doctors practice in Colorado. As with other licensed medical professionals, a framework will now be provided for the safe and effective conduct of their profession, including:
- A registration program for qualified naturopathic doctors
- A multi-disciplinary advisory committee with oversight responsibility
- Requirements to maintain liability insurance and meet continuing professional competencies
- A requirement that naturopathic doctors communicate and collaborate, as appropriate, with other health care practitioners.
“This is a great day for naturopathic doctors and the citizens of Colorado,” remarked Denise Clark, ND, president of the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CoAND). “Our members are dedicated to patient-centered, preventive care. Naturopathic doctors provide a safe, effective, and affordable alternative for patients seeking holistic health care.”
“An increasing base of scientific research is affirming that naturopathic medicine is useful in the treatment of numerous chronic illnesses,” observed Jud Richland, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). “A good example is the recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, documenting that naturopathic medicine may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among people at high risk. Naturopathic medicine, with its emphasis on self-responsibility and body’s inherent self-healing capacity, is effective in many cases of preventable illness, which affect a vast and increasing number of Americans.”