News

For Immediate Release

Naturopathic Physicians Urge Recognition in State of California:
Healthcare for Low-Income Urban and Rural Children Would Benefit


Sacramento, April 10, 2000: The California Association of Naturopathic Physicians (CANP) announced today that it is increasingly alarmed by the lack of healthcare for children in the inner cities and rural areas of the state. CANP would like the state of California to recognize the naturopathic profession, so that naturopathic physicians could jump in and help improve this situation.

"The healthcare crisis was underscored by the recent report released by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration in Rockville, Maryland," said Carl Hangee-Bauer, N.D, LAc. and CANP Public Affairs Chair. The report stated that children who lack health insurance and African American children, in particular, are not getting the healthcare necessary to clear up common childhood ailments such as recurrent ear infections.

The study concluded that the healthcare needs of American children in the inner cities and rural areas of the state are not being addressed. For example, these children not only endure the pain of an earache, but also are apt to suffer complications if they do not get treatment. They are also likely to fall behind in school, because of hearing problems. "This doesn't have to happen and should not be happening," added Dr. Hangee-Bauer. "It is a shameful situation in a state of bounty and abundance."

Naturopathic medicine could be a safe and cost effective solution to this problem. Yet in the state of California, naturopathic physicians, who have completed 4-years of post-graduate naturopathic medical school training, cannot help these children. California is one of the few Western states that has not yet put a recognition process in place for naturopathic physicians.

Yet, in California, the public demand for complementary and integrative healthcare is increasing, and it is increasing at an accelerated pace.

Until there is a statewide recognition process in place insuring safety and quality, naturopathic physicians in California cannot provide the healthcare they were trained to give.

"In the meantime, children who are denied treatment for something this common (an earache) are inflicted with unnecessary pain and illness," said David Field, ND, LAc and President of CANP. "And we, as a culture are watching it happen! We are standing by watching the band play-on with the same old ‘overburdened system’ excuse. As a naturopathic physician, I find this both painful and unacceptable. Naturopathic physicians can help rectify the stress on the healthcare system, but we can only do so if the state will recognize naturopathic medicine, just as it currently recognizes conventional medicine, chiropractic and the acupuncture profession."

A naturopathic physician (ND) is a primary care general practitioner trained as an expert in natural medicine. Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole patient wellness - the medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the cause of the patient's condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.

To train, naturopathic physicians face a four-year grind at a naturopathic medical school. Like conventional physicians, they study basic sciences for the first two years. However, while MD's spend their last two years treating the critically ill, naturopaths zero in on preventing and treating chronic or recurring conditions such as asthma or fatigue. Some even emphasize particular areas of practice, focusing on children's or women's healthcare or on a type of treatment such as botanical medicine.

CANP represents naturopathic physicians and a growing number of organizations and citizens who want California to put a recognition process in place to allow these under-served families to have access to responsible health care options. This is an issue that is clearly in the interest of offering qualified, competent, safe choices for the welfare and healthcare of our communities.

For more information on The California Association of Naturopathic Physicians, please call 1-800-521-1200

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Media Contact: Connie St. John

415-454-2243