Quack Protection Acts advance in state legislatures

We begin with a look at the website of a Wisconsin Naturopath who uses the initials "N.D." Even though she graduated from the Trinity College of Natural Health, her name is stillNaturopathic Doctor. Trinity is an unaccredited online school where one can become a "Certified Traditional Naturopath" after 16 weeks. Two patients of one's choice are evaluated in the clinical component of the course. Trinity also offers certifications in practices like iridology and homeopathy.

For less than the average medical student would spend in class or a clinical setting in a few weeks of education and training, one can complete the entire Trinity naturopathic program.

Lindsay, who also advertises herself as a herbalist, seems to feel qualified to diagnose and treat thyroid disease despite her modest education. She has written a book that claims to reverse a disease. She suggests that.

You don't have to take hormones for the rest of your life. All the glands of the endocrine system are blocked by synthetic hormones. If you come back into balance, you will be able to make your own.

How? Lindsay.

Applied Kinesiology can be used to identify deficiencies and toxicities, and to create custom herbal tinctures as part of a custom 8-week protocol. Medicial teas and healing foods can help cleanse and support the organs. If you want to bring you back into balance, yoga and meditation may be able to help.

It is dangerous for anyone who is actually suffering from a disease such as thyroid disease to be told that Applied Kinesiology is a method of treatment.

Lindsay has a lot to say about thyroid disease, but her rants about Covid, which she claims is not a true virus, is what really makes her stand out. She believes that masks are a test to see who follows orders for the new Global Reset, a conspiracy theory involving the UN and world governments, who want to remove inherent rights if the people consent to immoral dictates.

She believes that the introduction of radios in the early 1900s was the cause of the 1918 flu, and that the roll out of 5G is just like that. There are vaccines that can be used for evil purposes. And so on.

You would think that the good people in the Wisconsin Legislature would be appalled by the threats to the public's health and do everything they could to protect Wisconsonites from Lindsay.

They are not. Since I last wrote about the topic in April, bills in Wisconsin and Massachusetts have advanced and the Wisconsin Legislature appears dangerously close to passing a new law that protects "complementary and alternative health care practitioners" like Lindsay.

Lindsay is the president of the National Health Freedom Coalition, which is a group that advocates for the passage of so-called "health freedom" laws or, as I prefer to call them, "quack protection acts." Her COVID rants are no surprise, given that these organizations are anti-vaccine and have bills designed to handicap public health officials in fighting infectious diseases.

The bills are for quacks.

The practice of medicine is defined by Wisconsin.

To treat, prescribe or advise for human health or disease, or to operate into the fact, condition or cause of human health or disease, by any means or instrumentality.

If you practice medicine without a license, you can be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for up to 9 months. The state can stop unlicensed practice. This gives you an idea of the seriousness with which the state of Wisconsin views unlicensed practice.

Lindsay could face a cease and desist order, a substantial fine, and jail time for her unconventional advice regarding the cause of and her treatments for the disease. The state will be powerless to stop her and others like her if the bill passes, as long as she follows a few easily-met requirements.

If Lindsay were to be diagnosed with thyroid disease, the doctor would be subject to discipline for falling below the standard of care, especially if the patient was harmed.

The Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing on the bill in July but has yet to vote. There is plenty of time left, as the legislative session will continue in the year 2022.

The National Association of Social Workers and the Wisconsin Council on Mental Health filed written testimony opposing the bill, but the Wisconsin Association of Marriage and Family Therapists showed up to testify. The Legislature's website shows that the medical community was AWOL.

Lindsay testified in favor of the bill.

We are not unlicensed because we do not cause harm in what we do.

That is false. Naturopaths andholistic practitioners can cause a lot of harm, and this false premise ran through much of the supporting testimony.

If a health care provider is engaging in unlicensed practice, they can take advantage of the safe harbor from prosecution offered by the bill. The bill allows unlicensed practitioners to practice if they stay within certain parameters, which we will get to in a moment.

The bill contemplates that the public will see unlicensed practitioners to treat their medical problems, no matter how serious, without the benefit of competent medical advice. The bill does not require the unlicensed doctor to refer a patient to a hospital even if the patient is in dire need of medical help.

The bill also covers nursing, dentistry, midwifery, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, speech pathology, all mental health professions, and optometry. As I read the bill, it was clear that alternative practitioners could treat disease, deliver babies, fix teeth, and even treat mental disorders, as long as they are in compliance with the law.

Any health care practice or method of healing therapy not prohibited by the bill is considered a complementary and alternative health care practitioners. The act of surgery, setting fractures, skin punctures, and x-rays are not allowed.

A proposed amendment changes this to make a diagnosis of a medical disease or mental disorder, but it doesn't prohibit a health care professional from responding to a client's concerns. I don't know if the Committee voted to include this change in the bill.

It is not clear if the prohibition against making a diagnosis of a medical disease would include diagnoses like quacks. If not for diagnosis of a disease, why does the bill permit blood screening? How hard could it be for the unlicensed doctor to fit hisdiagnosis into the general assessment of normal structure or function? Look at what supplement companies have done with their limitation to structure and function claims.

If a diagnosis has already been made by an actual medical professional, the unlicensed doctor is free to treat the disease or condition with no restrictions.

The bill allows fraudulent practices like cranial therapy,detoxification, healing touch, and homeopathy. The only limitation is the imagination of a charlatan and whatever nostrums he might cook up.

Taking kickbacks and sexual contact with a client are some of the low-bar prohibitions. Anyone who has not completed his sentence for a felony and is still a health care provider is not allowed. Anyone convicted of a felony for providing health care is barred from doing so. If you have committed a felony Medicare fraud, you are barred, but not if you have been convicted of other crimes, for example, sexual assault, wire fraud, child endangering, or even homicide.

There is a prohibition that could be problematic for unlicensed practitioners. They can't.

False information about the degree, training, experience, or other qualification of a health care professional is advertised or provided.

It seems impossible to practice alternative health care without giving false information. The provision seems incongruous when the bill specifically allows practices, like cranial sacral therapy and homeopathy, that are based on lies, leaving me wondering how it would be enforced.

The bill requires disclosures to clients of information such as the fact that the unlicensed provider is, well, unlicensed, as well as fees and any degrees, training, experience or qualifications he holds, no matter how pathetically inadequate they are. If you have them, you have to tell if you have any education or training.

The client is not required to record their complaint, diagnosis, or treatment plan. The client is entitled.

The assessment of the client, the recommended alternative health care service, and access to the client's records are included in the current information.

The nature of the service to be provided must be written in the client's records.

Penalties are imposed for violations. The unlicensed provider can be asked to correct the violation. Failure to follow the disclosure requirements can lead to a cease and desist order and a fine of up to $10,000.

This is better than nothing. Why? Remember, per this bill.

No matter how serious a disease or condition is, no matter how much education and training a person has, they are allowed to treat it with supplements, herbs, and energy.
Mentally, physically, or financially harming clients is not a violation and is not subject to enforcement.
There is no requirement for practitioners to suggest the client seek medical attention.

The state will be powerless to stop the harm that can be done within these liberal parameters.

The Massachusetts General Court is considering a similar bill, but it only provides less protection than the Wisconsin bill. I won't discuss the bills in detail because of the similarities. The practice of complementary and alternative health care is defined as anything that is not prohibited in the bill, which is not much. That is it. Nothing else, except for these, is limited by a charlatan's imagination.

The Massachusetts bills have the same disclosure requirements. No disclosure about fees is required. Even if you are a felon, you can still set yourself up as a doctor. If these bills pass, the state can't do anything to curb quackery because there is no enforcement mechanism.

Several dozen other bills and a hearing were held on October 15th. There is plenty of time left, but it doesn't appear that the Committee has voted.

I don't think anyone who isn't educated and trained should be allowed to assess or treat anyone in need of medical care, and the state should not be involved in facilitating fraudulent health care practices.

What other profession or industry is this not allowed? I don't know, to my knowledge. We don't allow unregulated banks run by people who have no education or training in finance to hold deposits, make loans, operate without audits, and so on, because they are providing alternative banking services. We don't allow unlicensed lawyers who didn't go to law school or pass the bar to give legal advice, represent clients in court, and draft contracts and estate plans, based on the fiction that they are providing "complementary and alternative" legal services. We don't allow unregulated utility companies to provide public services because they are pretending to be alternative utilities.