The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 26: Professions and Occupations

Chapter 81: NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS

§ 4121. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Acupuncture" means the insertion of fine needles through the skin at certain points on the body, with or without the application of electric current or the application of heat to the needles or skin, or both, for the purpose of promoting health and balance as defined by traditional and modern Oriental theories.

(2) "Approved naturopathic medical college" means a college which grants a degree of doctor of naturopathic medicine or doctor of naturopathy:

(A) is accredited by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education, its successor, or other accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education;

(B) has attained candidate for accreditation status with such agency; or

(C) meets educational standards essentially equivalent to those established by such accrediting agency.

(3) "Director" means the director of the office of professional regulation.

(4) "Disciplinary action" means any action taken by an administrative law officer established in 3 V.S.A. § 129(j) against a licensee or applicant on a finding of unprofessional conduct by the licensee or applicant. "Disciplinary action" includes issuance of warnings and all sanctions including denial, suspension, revocation, limitation, or restriction of licenses, and other similar limitations.

(5) "Natural" means present in, produced by, or derived from nature.

(6) "Naturopathic childbirth" means uncomplicated natural home birth assisted by a naturopathic physician.

(7) [Repealed.]

(8) "Naturopathic medicine" or "the practice of naturopathic medicine" means a system of health care that utilizes education, natural medicines, and natural therapies to support and stimulate a patient's intrinsic self-healing processes and to prevent, diagnose, and treat human health conditions, injuries, and pain. In connection with such system of health care, an individual licensed under this chapter may:

(A) Administer or provide for preventative and therapeutic purposes nonprescription medicines, topical medicines, botanical medicines, homeopathic medicines, counseling, hypnotherapy, nutritional and dietary therapy, naturopathic physical medicine, naturopathic childbirth, therapeutic devices, barrier devices for contraception, and prescription medicines authorized by this chapter.

(B) Use diagnostic procedures commonly used by physicians in general practice, including physical and orificial examinations, electrocardiograms, diagnostic imaging techniques, phlebotomy, clinical laboratory tests and examinations, and physiological function tests.

(9) "Naturopathic physical medicine" means the use of the physical agents of air, water, heat, cold, sound, and light, and the physical modalities of electrotherapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, diathermy, ultraviolet light, ultrasound, hydrotherapy, and exercise. "Naturopathic physical medicine" also includes naturopathic manipulation and mobilization therapy if, in the opinion of the director, the naturopathic physician's education emphasized the importance of the neuromusculoskeletal structure and manipulative therapy in the maintenance and restoration of health. Naturopathic medicine does not include the practice of physical therapy, physical rehabilitation, or chiropractic.

(10) "Naturopathic physician" is a person who practices naturopathic medicine and is licensed under this chapter.

(11) "Prescription medicine" means any human drug, including finished dosage forms and active ingredients subject to Section 503(b) of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, required by federal law or regulation to be dispensed only by prescription.

(12) "Topical medicines" mean medicines applied to the surface of the body and include topical analgesics, anesthetics, antiseptics, scabicides, antifungals, antibacterials, cryo-agents, and anti-inflammatory agents.

(13) "Naturopathic pharmacology examination" means a test administered by the director or the director's designee, the passage of which is required to obtain the special license endorsement under subsection 4125(d) of this chapter. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 49; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. June 13, 2002; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 45; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 37; 2009, No. 25, § 12; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 57.)


§ 4122. Prohibitions and penalties

(a) No person shall perform any of the following acts:

(1) Practice naturopathic medicine in this state without a valid license issued in accordance with this chapter except as provided in section 4123 of this title.

(2) Use in connection with the person's name any letters, words, or insignia indicating or implying that the person is a naturopathic physician unless the person is licensed in accordance with this chapter. A person licensed under this chapter may use the designations "N.D.," "doctor of naturopathic medicine," "naturopathic doctor," "doctor of naturopathy," or "naturopathic physician."

(b) A person licensed under this chapter shall not perform any of the following acts:

(1) Prescribe, dispense, or administer any prescription medicines without obtaining from the director the special license endorsement under subsection 4125(d) of this chapter.

(2) Perform surgical procedures, except for episiotomy and perineal repair associated with naturopathic childbirth.

(3) Use for therapeutic purposes any device regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has not been approved by the FDA.

(4) Perform naturopathic childbirth without obtaining from the director the special license endorsement under subsection 4125(b) of this chapter.

(c) A person who violates any of the provisions of this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in 3 V.S.A. § 127(c). (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 33, eff. June 13, 2002; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 46; 2007, No. 29, § 64; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 38; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 58.)


§ 4123. Exemptions

(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit any of the following:

(1) The practice of a profession by a person who is licensed, certified, or registered under other laws of this state and is performing services within the authorized scope of practice of that profession.

(2) The practice of naturopathic medicine by a person duly licensed to engage in the practice of naturopathic medicine in another state, territory, or the District of Columbia who is called into this state for consultation with a naturopathic physician licensed under this chapter.

(3) The practice of naturopathic medicine by a student enrolled in an approved naturopathic medical college. The performance of services shall be pursuant to a course of instruction and under the supervision of an instructor, who shall be a naturopathic physician licensed in accordance with this chapter.

(4) The use or administration of over-the-counter medicines or other nonprescription agents.

(b) The provisions of subdivision 4122(a)(1) of this chapter, relating to the practice of naturopathic medicine, shall not be construed to limit or restrict in any manner the right of a practitioner of another health care profession from carrying on in the usual manner any of the functions related to that profession. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 47; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 59.)


§ 4124. Reporting contagious and infectious diseases; death certificates

Naturopathic physicians are subject to the provisions of the law relating to contagious and infectious diseases and to the issuance of birth and death certificates. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 34, eff. June 13, 2002.)


§ 4125. Director; duties

(a) The Director, with the advice of the advisor appointees, shall:

(1) provide general information to applicants for licensure as naturopathic physicians;

(2) administer fees collected under this chapter;

(3) administer examinations;

(4) explain appeal procedures to naturopathic physicians and applicants for licensure and complaint procedures to the public;

(5) receive applications for licensure under this chapter; issue and renew licenses; and revoke, suspend, reinstate, or condition licenses as ordered by an administrative law officer; and.

(6) refer all disciplinary matters to an administrative law officer.

(b) The Director, with the advice of the advisor appointees, shall adopt rules necessary to perform the Director's duties under this section, which shall include rules regulating a special license endorsement to practice naturopathic childbirth.

(c) [Repealed.]

(d) The Director, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall adopt rules consistent with the Commissioner's recommendations regulating a special license endorsement which shall authorize a naturopathic physician to prescribe, dispense, and administer prescription medicines. These rules shall require a naturopathic physician to pass a naturopathic pharmacology examination in order to obtain this special license endorsement. The naturopathic pharmacology examination shall be administered by the Director or the Director's designee and shall test an applicant's knowledge of the pharmacology, clinical use, side effects, and drug interactions of prescription medicines, including substances in the Vermont Department of Health's regulated drugs rule.

(e)(1) The Director shall appoint an advisory committee to study and report to the Director and the Commissioner of Health on matters relating to the prescribing authority of naturopathic physicians under the special license endorsement, including recommendations if necessary for revisions to the administrative rules in order to ensure that naturopathic physicians prescribe, dispense, and administer prescription medicines within the scope of a naturopathic physician's pharmacology education, training, and experience.

(2) The Committee shall be composed of at least seven members: two naturopathic physicians, two physicians licensed by the Board of Medical Practice or the Board of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, a pharmacologist, a pharmacist, and a member of the public.

(3) Members of the Committee shall be entitled to compensation at the rate provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 49(a); 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 35, eff. June 13, 2002; 2003, No. 60, § 22; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 48; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 39; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 60; 2013, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 46.)


§ 4126. Advisor appointees

(a) The secretary of state shall appoint two naturopathic physicians licensed under this chapter to serve as advisors to the director in matters relating to naturopathic physicians. They shall be appointed as set forth in 3 V.S.A. § 129b and serve at the pleasure of the secretary. One of the initial appointments shall be for less than a full term.

(b) Appointees shall have at least three years of experience as a naturopathic physician during the period immediately preceding appointment and shall be actively practicing naturopathic medicine in Vermont and remain in good standing during incumbency.

(c) The director shall seek the advice of the advisor appointees under this section in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. The advisor appointees shall be entitled to compensation and necessary expenses as provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010 for attendance at any meetings called by the director for this purpose.

(d) Notwithstanding 3 V.S.A. § 129(j), when an advisor appointee is unable to serve as an administrative law officer by reason of disqualification or necessary absence, the secretary of state may appoint a suitable person to serve as the administrative law officer in lieu of the advisor appointee. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 49(a); 2007, No. 29, § 65.)


§ 4127. Eligibility for licensure

To be eligible for licensure as a naturopathic physician, an applicant shall satisfy all the following:

(1) Have been granted a degree of doctor of naturopathic medicine, or a degree determined by the director to be essentially equivalent to such degree, from an approved naturopathic medical college.

(2) Be physically and mentally fit to practice naturopathic medicine.

(3) Pass a licensing examination approved by the director by rule, unless the applicant is exempt from examination pursuant to section 4129 of this chapter.

(4) [Repealed.]  (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 40; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 61.)


§ 4128. Application for licensure

A person shall apply for a license under this chapter by filing with the director an application provided by the director accompanied by the required fees and evidence of eligibility. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 4129. Waiver of licensing examination requirement

The director shall waive the examination requirement if the applicant is a naturopathic physician regulated under the laws of another jurisdiction who is in good standing to practice naturopathic medicine in that jurisdiction and, in the opinion of the director, the standards and qualifications required for regulation in that jurisdiction are at least equal to those required by this chapter. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 41; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 62.)


§ 4130. Biennial license renewal; continuing education

(a) The license to practice naturopathic medicine shall be renewed every two years by filing a renewal application on a form provided by the director. The application shall be accompanied by the required fee and evidence of compliance with subsection (b) of this section.

(b) As a condition of renewal, a naturopathic physician shall complete a program of continuing education, approved by the director, during the preceding two years. The director shall not require more than 30 hours of continuing education biennially. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 63.)


§ 4131. Supervision

A naturopathic physician licensed pursuant to this chapter shall be authorized to work independently and shall not require supervision by any other health care professional; provided, however, that this section shall not be construed to limit the regulatory authority of the director or office of professional regulation. (Added 2011, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 2, 2012.)


§ 4132. Unprofessional conduct

(a) The following conduct and conduct set forth in 3 V.S.A. § 129a by a person licensed under this chapter or an applicant for licensure constitutes unprofessional conduct:

(1) Failing to use a complete or accurate title in professional activity.

(2) Conduct which evidences moral unfitness to practice naturopathic medicine.

(3) Harassing, intimidating, or abusing a patient.

(4) Agreeing with any other person or organization, or subscribing to any code of ethics or organizational bylaws, when the intent or primary effect of that agreement, code, or bylaw is to restrict or limit the flow of information concerning alleged or suspected unprofessional conduct to the board.

(5) Abandonment of a patient.

(6) Gross overcharging for professional services on repeated occasions, including filing of false statements for collection of fees for which services were not rendered.

(7) Sexual harassment of a patient.

(8) Engaging in an inappropriate sexual act with a patient.

(9) Willful misrepresentation in treatments.

(10) Practicing naturopathic medicine in an area or areas in which the licensee is not trained to practice.

(b) The director may refuse to accept the return of a license tendered by the subject of a disciplinary investigation and may notify relevant state, federal, and local agencies and appropriate bodies in other states of the status of any pending or completed disciplinary case against the licensee, provided that notice of charges against the licensee has been served or disciplinary action against that person has been taken.

(c) The burden of proof in a disciplinary action shall be on the state to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the person has engaged in unprofessional conduct.

(d) After hearing, and upon a finding of unprofessional conduct, an administrative law officer may take disciplinary action against a licensee or applicant. (Added 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 49(a); 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 63; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 33; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 36, eff. June 13, 2002.)