States have untapped resources that can help residents stay healthy. They should not be ignored. Action Alert!
New York State has expanded the scope of practice of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants during the COVID-19 pandemic by relaxing the requirement that these practitioners work under the supervision of a physician. These orders should be expanded to natural health practitioners such as naturopathic doctors (NDs), who in many cases must work under a limited scope of practice that can involve supervision by a physician. Loosening these restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic would give patients more options to see the practitioner of their choice, particularly naturopaths and NDs who specialize in prevention.
We’ve been writing about the many promising natural substances for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and how most of these medicines are completely ignored by the government and the medical establishment. Media outlets have summed up the views of conventional medicine: supplements are useless, and there’s no such thing as “boosting” immunity to ward off infection. Instead, conventional medicine and government cronies wait for a vaccine or a drug that will save us from COVID-19, going so far as to push dangerous drugs that have no statistically significant effect on mortality.
Never has there been more of a need to incorporate the precepts of integrative medicine into the standard of care. Practitioners of natural medicine understand that many Americans are deficient in many micronutrients which can have dramatic impacts on long-term health and immunity. They understand the dangers that come with taking multiple prescription drugs, especially for chronic illnesses that are amenable to dietary and lifestyle changes. Practitioners of natural medicine understand the importance of prevention and maintaining optimal health, rather than simply treating sick patients with pharmaceutical drugs.
NDs are educated at accredited, four-year medical schools. Unfortunately, many states do not allow NDs to practice to the level of their skill and training, or they don’t allow them to communicate their skill and training to consumers. This prevents consumers from making informed choices about the practitioner they want, and in many cases prevents consumers from accessing practitioners other than doctors who practice a conventional approach to medicine.
States can act now to eliminate restrictions on ND scope of practice, allowing them to practice according to their skills and training. For example, in many states NDs cannot order diagnostic tests; many states require NDs to go through a number of administrative hurdles to be able to give IVs. This is undermining Americans’ ability to meet the challenges of this pandemic.
At the federal level, Congress passed the CARES Act to, among other things, provide direct financial assistance to healthcare workers. NDs, however, are excluded from the bill because they are not considered eligible providers by Medicare.
ANH-USA has developed a tool to help Americans around the country find natural health practitioners in their area. Our integrative practitioner finder can help you connect with a healthcare practitioner, rate the service you receive from these providers and see how other patients rate a practitioner’s service.
Action Alert! Write to your state legislature, urging them to expand the scope of practice of NDs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please send your message immediately.