This is in response to the letter to the editor by Alan Phillips [Back Talk, May 14]. He wrote a very disgruntled and evasive response to the letter by Ms. Dittmer, LMBT, and to her response to Barbara Solow's article about requiring licensing for the practice of homeopathic and naturopathic treatment.
1) Phillips stated Ms. Dittmer's recent response "reveals considerable confusion about health practitioner licensing," regarding the current non-licensing requirements of the above listed alternative medicine/health care practitioners. There was no confusion in anything she wrote or in her understanding of the article. Phillips, however, is very confused and lacking in both knowledge and experience.
2) He states, "Occupational licensing is justified where an occupation poses a known risk to the public." Having used a number of licensed alternative care providers as well as non-licensed homeopaths, I can tell you from personal experience I will never again go to anyone who is not licensed. Only licensed professionals in any health care field should to be allowed to practice, regardless of the type of care.
3) Non-licensed homeopathic/naturopathic practitioners do practice a form of medicine. They can and do pose a serious health threat anytime they suggest or persuade people to stop taking all conventional medications for serious health problems without first consulting with the prescribing physician.
4) Non-licensed homeopathic practitioners do pose a serious health threat anytime they suggest or say they can "cure" an illness which the conventional health care professionals state they are not able to "cure" but can only treat and which the alternative care person can furnish no proven documentation of their or other's previous proven successes.
5) Non-licensed homeopathic practitioners do pose a serious health care threat any time they refuse to work with or even contact the primary care provider to keep them apprised of the additional treatment. This is a serious health care risk for the patient and has lead to patient deaths (personal knowledge) as well as permanent disability (personal knowledge).
6) For all of the above reasons all alternative health care providers need to be licensed by the state in which they practice and by a Board of Licensed Naturopathic and Homeopathic Specialists with a standard set of requirements as are all practicing chiropractors, herbalists, massage therapist, acupuncturists, etc.
Mr. Phillips never once addressed Ms. Dittmer's concerns. By being required to be licensed by a board of their peers, not the medical board, homeopaths and naturopaths prove to the public and the state they are legitimate. Licensing demonstrates and documents the person has studied and has acquired the knowledge and skills for which they profess they are ready to practice. Licensing also means if they break the code of ethics, as prescribed by the board, they can have this license removed and they will not be able to harm anyone again. If they do, they are breaking the law and they can be prosecuted. Licensing works for all other forms of alternative medicine, so why not for homeopathy and naturopathy? Create this licensing board for homeopathic and naturopathic practitioners with licensing requirements and end this feud.
The following radio station was inadvertantly left out of our May 21 guide to local stations in Rock 'n' Roll Quarterly:
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to email@example.com; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.