The Senate Health & Welfare Committee has voted unanimously to repeal Idaho's naturopath licensing law, which has gotten bogged down in conflict between two competing groups of naturopaths who differed on suitable qualifications. The licensing law lets licensed naturopaths write prescriptions and perform minor surgery. But the fight over rules to implement it has become a battle that Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, said amounted to differing attempts to change the legislation. Broadsword sponsored the repeal bill, which drew no opposition at today's committee hearing, according to the Associated Press. Ken McClure, lobbyist for the Idaho Medical Association, said the group regretted agreeing to the licensing law in the first place. "We've kind of thrown up our hands at this point," he said. Click below to read the full story from AP reporter Sarah D. Wire.
Senate panel moves to repeal naturopath licensing
By SARAH D. WIRE
Associated Press Writer
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Senate committee has voted in favor of repealing a law requiring naturopathic physicians to be licensed by the state.
The Health and Welfare Committee passed the repeal bill unanimously Tuesday, sending it on to the full Senate.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, cited "total disagreement" over training standards between the Idaho Chapter of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the Idaho Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She said repealing the law would be the best way to move forward.
"This will allow the organization(s) as a whole to have a fresh start," Broadsword said.
Idaho's naturopathic licensing law was passed in 2005 to require naturopathic physicians to be licensed in order to write prescriptions and perform minor surgery.
But differing opinions about what kind of education is necessary to obtain an Idaho license has kept the five-member state Board of Naturopathic Medical Examiners from drafting rules over the last four years to regulate the handful of licenses that have been awarded.
The Idaho Chapter of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians wants to require physicians to attend one of five naturopathy colleges accredited by the U.S. Department of Education and pass a national test to get a license, something other states have done to distinguish between training levels and to protect the public.
The Idaho Association of Naturopathic Physicians contends such a narrow standard won't accommodate people with years of experience and skills, but not a formal education from one of the schools.
The state board is made up of two members from each of the rival groups and former state Rep. Jack Barraclough from Idaho Falls, who was appointed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
Without the law, naturopaths would still be able to use heat, water, light, air and massage techniques under a separate Idaho law.
Several naturopathic physicians from the AANP voiced support for repealing the law. No one from the IANP chose to testify before the Senate committee Tuesday.
Joan Haynes, a naturopathic physician who helped write the 2005 law, said she would prefer repealing the law and starting over.
"The rules submitted this year are inappropriate," she said.
A spokesman for the Idaho Medical Association, representing medical doctors, which helped draft the licensing law after fighting it for years, said the association regretted agreeing to it.
Ken McClure, the association's lobbyist, called licensing naturopathic physicians a "noble experiment" but said "we've kind of thrown up our hands at this point."
Broadsword said repealing the law would allow the groups to come up with new legislation they could agree on.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.