Illinois Naturopathic Physicians Work to Establish State Licensure with First Statewide Convention
Weekend event highlights the importance of natural medicine and the need for state licensure to protect the public, establish medical accountability, and improve primary health care choices
LOMBARD, IL - As health care dominates headlines from Washington, Illinois naturopathic doctors are gathering to discuss the need for the state to establish a license for naturopathic doctors in Illinois at the first Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians' annual conference in Lombard.
Currently 17 states regulate naturopathic doctors (NDs) to provide their citizens with another health care choice, and lawmakers in Springfield are considering legislation, SB 1168 (Sponsor: Sen. Iris Y. Martinez) and HB 3645 (Sponsor: Rep. JoAnn D. Osmond), that would license NDs in Illinois.
The legislation will be a focus during the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians' first annual conference beginning Saturday, Nov. 16 at the National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) in Lombard, one of only seven naturopathic medicine degree programs accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medicine Education. The two-day event features leading naturopathic physicians from Illinois and across the country.
There are important reasons state lawmakers should act to establish a license for naturopathic doctors:
• Public safety: A professional license requirement would provide public safety by establishing defined education and training standards for naturopathic doctors.
• Accountability: Like other medical professionals in the state, licensure for naturopathic doctors would provide direct accountability for care and treatment according to standards enforced by professional regulators at the State of Illinois.
• Improved access to primary health care: Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary care providers, specializing in natural medicine and holistic approaches to health.
In Illinois today, anyone can use the title ‘naturopathic doctor’ and assert that they are qualified to practice naturopathic medicine without consequences, even if a patient suffers harm.
“Illinois can join other states in improving access to safe, effective and affordable primary health care by establishing a license for naturopathic doctors in Illinois. Without licensure, there is no way for an Illinois citizen to understand who is legitimately qualified to practice naturopathic medicine, said Dr. Eliot Edwards, ND, FABNO, Naturopathic Oncology Provider at Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, and President of the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians. “Now is the time for Illinois to license naturopathic doctors in order to protect the public, establish medical accountability, and improve primary health care choices for the people of Illinois.”
Momentum for licensing naturopathic doctors in Illinois is growing because naturopathic medicine focuses on patient-centered natural health care to prevent and manage chronic illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 75 percent of U.S. health care costs are due to preventable chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Naturopathic doctors work to treat the cause of a chronic illness through natural means. For example, if a patient suffers from high blood pressure, a naturopathic doctor may prescribe evidence-based nutritional supplements, as well as instruct the patient about lifestyle changes, often reducing the need for prescription medication.
The goal of a naturopathic doctor is always to optimize patient care and to empower patients to positively influence their own health and wellness. However, they are also trained to work in collaboration with medical doctors when a conventional medicine approach is needed, and utilize recent evidence to combine the best of both approaches.
To learn more about the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians, visit www.ilanp.org.