Legislation filed for major overhaul of naturopathic medicine law
By The Star Staff
Naturopathy doctors will not be required to live in Puerto Rico for a year to practice their profession, and will be able to prescribe natural remedies for ailments if legislation filed in the island House of Representatives to that effect becomes law.
New Progressive Party Rep. Wilson Román López recently introduced House Bill 1556, the first major overhaul in 25 years of the 1997 Law to Regulate the Practice of Naturopathic Medicine in Puerto Rico.
The legislation notes that the field of naturopathic medicine has evolved dramatically. As a result, new treatments and practices scientifically recognized as effective and positively impacting health have been developed.
“Studies have demonstrated naturopathy’s effectiveness in treating cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal pain, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune and endocrine conditions, polycystic ovary syndrome, depression, anxiety, and a variety of complex chronic conditions,” the bill reads.
However, Law 208-1997 prevents the practice of Naturopathic Medicine in Puerto Rico from evolving according to the state of education and knowledge prevailing in the profession.
“This is a great obstacle for the access of the Puerto Rican population to the new advances and treatments that doctors in naturopathic medicine can offer,” the bill notes.
The measure changes the definition of “naturopathy.” It redefines the professionals authorized to practice naturopathic medicine in Puerto Rico as “naturopathic physicians.”
Likewise, the bill would eliminate the requirement of having resided in Puerto Rico for a term of not less than one year to obtain a naturopathic physician’s license. In addition, the bill would broaden the scope of the practice of naturopathic medicine to include new treatments and therapies widely recognized as naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic physicians cannot prescribe controlled medications or perform surgery. Still, they will be able to prescribe natural medicines such as foods, food extracts, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, digestive aids, natural glands and hormones, plant substances, botanicals and homeopathic preparations.
They will also be able to treat patients using aromatherapy, balneotherapy, biomagnetism, chromotherapies, acupuncture or acupressure, phytotherapy, homeopathy, kinesiology, enemas and showers, therapeutic massages, traditional chinese medicine and acupuncture, and reflexology.
Doctors practicing naturopathic medicine will also be required to buy medical malpractice insurance.