THE BILL: LD 364
Why is safe harbor legislation needed?
In most states, many healing practitioners, such as herbalists, health coaches, homeopaths, and cranio-sacral therapists, can be prosecuted, fined, and barred from practicing based on charges of practicing medicine without a license. That is because most states have laws (medical practice acts), which bar those who haven’t completed medical school from “practicing medicine”.
The definition of what it means to “practice medicine” includes doing anything to treat illness, or even prevent it! These laws put many practitioners at great risk if they practice. This discourages some practitioners from helping people with their health, or from letting people know about their services via a website. (You can read the existing language here.)
The result? Many consumers cannot access what they need for healing, or may not even know that there are options that could help them.
What is a safe harbor practitioner exemption law or a health freedom law?
Safe harbor practitioner exemption laws are not practitioner licensure laws. Rather, these laws work to ensure consumer access to a broad domain of healers and practitioners who are not licensed but providing safe therapies.
They do this by giving practitioners exemption from charges of “practicing medicine” without a license, provided they avoid prohibited acts such as using prescription drugs or puncture of the skin, and provide specific disclosures including their education and training.
Many practitioners of modalities where licensure has not been needed due to the low risk of harm from their therapies, are protected under these new laws, including herbalists, homeopaths, health coaches, nutrition coaches, wellness consultants, and reiki, qi gong, and other types of energy healers, as well as numerous others.
Safe harbor laws now exist in ten states, including Minnesota, Rhode Island, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arizona (partial, only for homeopaths), Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. These laws are working very well, and the movement to pass them in other states is growing. -from the NHFC website