Health care remains one of the top concerns of voters across the country. How to care for our families and pay for that care confounds policymakers and politicians around America.
Just as important, the conversation also centers around how we can ensure our families have the choice to make the best medical decisions.
This year, the Arizona Legislature can expand the choices families have to make based on their desired medical care. With HB2314, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Barto, legislators can increase choice for patients around the entire state.
The nearly 700 naturopathic physicians practicing in Arizona already have wide privileges to prescribe medications and treat patients for common ailments and life-threatening diseases.
Naturopathic physicians take a holistic approach to treating patients by using natural treatments to many of the body’s ailments.
Rep. Barto’s HB2314 expands the services naturopathic physicians can provide to patients. It garnered an impressive 49 votes from House members. We appreciate all those who supported Barto’s effort to expand access for patients to naturopathic physicians.
It is important we give patients the choice to seek out the care that is best for their families. As with all aspects in our lives, having that choice is what makes America so great. With the medical field being so vast, it is important that we give the patients their choice on how they wish to protect their families. Thankfully, Arizona has come a long way to improving access to a wide range of care options.
The new legislation makes some changes that are simple yet important in a family’s daily life. For instance, it allows a naturopathic physician to provide a doctor’s note for a child who has missed school or submit an evaluation regarding whether a patient should receive a driver’s license.
But there are also significant changes that could be life-saving. The bill allows a naturopathic physician to approve an order for administration of an epinephrine injection to a student.
HB2314 includes a piece that brings us in line with medical doctors who must report to the Department of Health Services a blood analysis that contains high levels of lead. This bill also makes naturopathic physicians a submitting entity for court-ordered HIV testing.
While these are small changes, the bill is garnering wide support because they bring naturopathic doctors more in line with the practices of medical doctors. Ultimately, granting all physicians the ability to perform duties that they have been trained to conduct while ensuring that they are following important safety guidelines is the best possible outcome for patient safety.
Allowing naturopathic doctors these added responsibilities and duties will increase the health of Arizonans who eschew medical doctors in favor of a more natural way to care for the body. These additions in state law gives patients and families more choice in their health care menu.
Rep. Barto’s bill makes small but important changes. Doctors and patients throughout the state hope the senators follow their counterparts in the House and approve HB2314.
Steven Katz, ND, is president of the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association.