Practitioners of the Pennsylvania Traditional Naturopaths Association (PaTNA) are urging citizens to contact their state representatives to vote “no” on proposed senate bill 834, introduced this past July. The bill would repeal Act 128, which Governor Tom Wolf signed into law November 2016.
The law requires registration of practitioners in the naturopathic field. Act 128 is an amendment to HB 516, which would regulate naturopathic doctors, set education and training requirements and allows only those that meet those qualifications to present themselves as “naturopathic doctors” or a “doctor of naturopathic medicine”. Bill 834 includes much of the licensing requirements and penalties originally presented in HB 516.
“Basically, there’s a select group that qualifies themselves as ‘naturopathic physicians’ claiming that they are medically trained, and they want exclusivity with the title ‘naturopathic doctor,’” says PaTNA president Lynn Feinman, a doctor of naturopathy with Natural Health Options, in Paoli.
Feinman says if bill 834 becomes a law, it could adversely affect consumer choice and access to natural products. She adds that it could also put 200 practicing naturopaths out of business.
“At issue is a group trying to claim that these natural products and natural foods and herbs are medicine, and it will make it more difficult for consumers to access preventative care,” Feinman says. “Prevention is what naturopathy traditionally is—an educational model teaching clients about health and laws of nature, rather than diagnosing and prescribing. There is a huge misconception that it is a panacea or natural cure, when in truth it’s about facilitating health.”
Those interested in getting involved can visit PaTNA’s website, PANaturopaths.org, for more information and to review sample letters to write to their state representatives. To find your state representative, visit Legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator.