April 2011: North Dakota is Sweet Sixteen!

By Gene McGill, Director of State Government Relations

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly has passed SB 2271 for the licensure of naturopathic physicians and, as of this printing, the bill has made its way to the governors office and is schedule to be signed by North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple.
Congratulations to all involved in this tremendous accomplishment!
There is a saying that to get legislation passed you need a good sponsor, a good grassroots operation, and a good lobbyist. All those things were present in the passage of SB 2271.
Senators Margaret Sitte and Tim Mathern worked in a bipartisan manner to move the legislation through the chambers. Upon passage, Senator Sitte said, “I’m so happy for our state that we have a new tool in medical care.”
North Dakota Association of Naturopathic Doctors President Faye Johnson, Treasurer Lezlie Link and Beth Allmendinger, ND Candidate (Bastyr), were crucial in the grassroots operation of finding additional sponsors, gathering community support, and the executing the email campaign. Also lending support were Kathleen Allen, ND, and Stephanie Nishek, ND. Special thanks to the other students who joined in the grassroots organization Sara: Christopherson (Bastyr), Brooke Halgren (NCMN), Scott Just (SCNM), and Sara Larson (NCMN).
The lobbying, planning, and organizing the push for licensure was all the work of Beth Allen, ND. Beth also serves as the secretary of NDAND. She worked tirelessly over the past several months to defend the bill, present testimony, and work with the legislature to ensure changes did not compromise the final legislation. Beth personally spent in excess of four hundred hours this year working on licensure.
SB 2271 will create “the state board of integrative health care.” The board will consist of a minimum of five members. Each profession regulated by the board must have one member on the board. Additionally, the board will consist of an MD or DO, a pharmacist, an advanced practice nurse, and up to two laypersons. A subgroup must be established for each profession being regulated with three to five members, all licensed or licensable in the regulated profession. The board as a whole may take no action that impacts a regulated profession unless they first consult with the subgroup.
The practice of naturopathic health care in North Dakota will permit nonprescriptive natural therapeutic substances, food, vitamins, dietary supplements, topical drugs, health-care counseling, nutritional counseling, and barrier devices for contraception. Naturopathic doctors may also perform or order for diagnostic purposes a physical or orificial examination, ultrasound, phlebotomy, clinical laboratory tests, and any other noninvasive diagnostic procedure commonly used by physicians in general practice and authorized by the board.
SB2271 offers NDs in North Dakota a very solid base to build upon. Congratulations again to everyone that that worked so hard to make it happen.