By Miste Gardner
I have found myself in a whirlwind trying to understand the Naturopathic profession, the law that currently governs them, how new laws are made and how to have my voice heard at the Capitol.
This is a lot of work and time consuming.
I understand our representatives are busy with a lot to do in a short amount of time. Trust me, as a single mom of four kids, business owner and real estate agent fighting an autoimmune disease, I understand the challenge of fitting it all in. I am finding that having a voice is a job in and of itself.
[Tweet "A monopoly is NOT the answer. Free enterprise IS the answer. - Miste Gardner"]
Should I have to hire a lobbyist to be heard?
Still, I've learned enough to give the cliff notes version of some problems in House Bill 181.
What other profession has two boards to govern the profession? If senators pass the measure, we will have Title 54 Chapter 51 to govern Naturopaths.
A small group of Naturopaths that have graduated from certain schools in America and Canada want to have their own chapter and board? These schools are fairly new, having started in 1987. Natural medicine has been around for thousands of years in various countries. There is a rich history of education outside of these American and Canadian schools.
Why does this group want their own board? What's going on with the current board under the current law? The answers I receive show their frustration. The board has been dissolved for quite some time. The governor is responsible to appoint the board, but hasn't. Without a board this profession doesn't have structure and Naturopaths can't get licensed under the current law.
This is a problem.
The group that graduated from the aforementioned schools wants to separate themselves and create their own law and board rather than working to get the board reinstated under the old law.
In my opinion, passing House Bill 181 will create total and utter chaos!
Some Naturopaths will fall under the old law and the new law. To which board do they answer? Some Naturopaths will fall under the old law. Will they be protected down the road?
According to local attorneys, if challenged, the new law will supersede the old law, leaving that group out in the cold. They will be stripped of their license and no longer be able to have the title Naturopathic "physician" or "doctor".
This will create an unfair advantage as their counterparts will be licensed and be able to accept insurance.
In other states where this law has passed, the unlicensed practitioners have closed their doors, leaving their staff without jobs and patients without vital care.
The third group, those who didn't have the opportunity to get a license when the board created by Title 51 was doing work, would be most affected by House Bill 181.
They haven't been able to get licensed under the current law because there hasn't been a board. They don't qualify under House Bill 181 because they didn't go to the specific schools. They have been practicing for years and have loyal patients and staff they employ.
The answer? Urge Gov. Butch Otter to reinstate the board under the current law. Get Naturopaths licensed so that they can accept insurance if they want to.
A monopoly is NOT the answer. Free enterprise IS the answer.
My doctor, Dr. Michael Karlfeldt, is in the third group. He has given my children their mom back. I can hug and play with them again. He has given my business a chance to thrive again now that I can give it my attention. He has given me back the ability to walk and hold a hot cup of coffee. I'm just one of hundreds of patients that look to Dr. Karlfeldt to keep us healthy and able to take on our hectic lives.
Miste Gardner is a mother of four, a property manager and a real estate agent in the Treasure Valley.