AKAND pushes for full scope of naturopathic practice

The Alaska Association of Naturopathic Doctors is proud to support providers offering naturopathic medicine to Alaskans. But state rules currently prevent NDs from offering the best care.

New legislation would change that. The AKAND is working hard this legislative session to pass House Bill 115.

How HB115 helps Alaskans

The new law would establish a clear scope of practice for naturopathic doctors that reflects our education and training. The current law is outdated, limiting the ability of naturopathic doctors to provide comprehensive care to patients. House Bill 115 allows licensed practitioners to issue vitamins, minerals and non-controlled-substance prescription medications and perform minor office procedures.

  • Alaska faces a dire shortage of primary-care providers. The US Department of Labor recognizes naturopathic doctors as primary-care physicians
  • Allowing naturopathic doctors to practice the full scope of their training will immediately increase the number of primary-care providers in Alaska. This will improve healthcare access and help drive down costs.
  • The recommended changes reflect the actual training and qualifications of naturopathic doctors, who graduate from accredited 4-year medical programs with more than 4,000 hours of training and clinical rotations.
  • In Alaska, naturopathic doctors have a more limited scope of practice than healthcare providers in Alaska with equal or lesser training. Naturopathic doctors practice safely under the complete scope in many other states — as several of our members have done.
  • Allowing naturopathic doctors practice to the full scope of their training lets patients access their medications from their primary care provider without the need for duplicative appointments and costs.
  • Alaskans face some of the highest health care costs in the nation, increasing prevalence of chronic and preventable disease, and inadequate access to health care — particularly in rural areas. Passing HB 115 is one step towards addressing these needs.
  • Naturopathic doctors’ primary focus is on disease prevention, rather than symptom and medication management. This type of care saves money for consumers, insurers and the state. It also decreases the unnecessary emergency-room visits, frequent med checks and follow-up visits.
  • Regulating naturopathic doctors appropriately will encourage more practitioners to move to Alaska and serve Alaskans. Naturopathic doctors already qualify for Indian Health Service’s national loan repayment program aimed to increase access to remote Alaskans, but are unable to make use of this program due to the currently limited scope of practice.

How you can help

Help pass House Bill 115 by writing a letter of support to your representative in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.

House Labor & Commerce Committee:

Rep. Jesse Sumner, Chair
District: 28 Wasilla
Party: Republican

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, Vice Chair
District: 7 Soldotna
Party: Republican

Rep. Mike Prax
District: 33 North Pole
Party: Republican

Rep. Dan Saddler
Majority Leader
District: 24 Eagle River
Party: Republican

Rep. Stanley Wright
District: 22 Anchorage
Party: Republican

Rep. Ashley Carrick
District: 35 Fairbanks
Party: Democrat

Rep. Zack Fields
District: 20 Anchorage
Party: Democrat