The MNHC board would like to thank all of our supporters over the last couple of years. The board would like to thank Representative Joel Johnson for sponsoring HB 4789.
Unfortunately, in order to achieve our health freedom goals in Michigan, we needed a great deal more support from Michigan citizens and the Legislature to get a health freedom bill passed. With this in mind, as of January 9, 2013, the board has decided to disband.
The information on the Michigan Natural Health Coalition website is still valid. We feel a health freedom bill is still important for the citizens of Michigan. If you are interested in seeing a Health Freedom Bill passed in Michigan, please contact Dr. Mary Born at www.bornforhealth.com
Alternative/Complementary Health Care Threatened
The definition of “practicing medicine” is so broad that everyone is at risk! Current Michigan law, 333.17001(f) states:
“Practice of medicine’ means the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, cure or relieving of human disease, ailment, defect, complaint, or other physical or mental condition, by attendance, advice, device, diagnostic test, or other means or offering, undertaking, attempting to do, or holding oneself out as able to do, any of these acts.”
Millions of Michigan citizens visit alternative health care providers each year and studies show that this number is increasing. In fact, a Harvard University study shows that 55% of all health-related visits were to alternative/complementary practitioners!*
Based upon a July 2009 report from the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), 38% of Americans’ use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) based on 2007 survey data. It also found that Americans spent $33.9 billion in out-of-pocket costs in a 12-month period for CAM. Based on this state’s population (9,969,727 ; 3.2% of the national population). Over $1billion dollars were spent on CAM in Michigan. CAM practitioners are not licensed, registered, or certified by this state.
However, Michigan’s Medical Practice law requires that anyone who performs any type of diagnosis or treatment for any type of mental or physical ailment, injury, or condition of any kind must be a licensed medical doctor or other licensed health care provider – even if their treatment is not potentially harmful.
Remember that the purpose of requiring a license to practice is to protect citizens from harm, yet the majority of alternative/complementary practitioners practice safely.
This current law potentially affects your right to access valuable healing modalities. It also implies that practitioners of unlicensed therapies – including homeopathy, colon hydrotherapy, naturopathy, herbalism, ayurveda, native or other indigenous forms of healing and even yoga are in violation of the law. While this law is not routinely enforced, it has been used from time to time to prosecute practitioners even when no harm has been caused.
The use of this antiquated law in this way protects no one and at the same time unjustly punishes practitioners who have caused no harm. It also tends to restrict access to useful healing modalities that the majority of the public finds beneficial.
The increasing popularity of alternative/complementary healing is drawing attention. Additional unnecessary restrictions on the practice of these harmless healing methods are being considered.
In effect, unless something is done to make them legal, the number of choices we have for the practice or use of alternative/complementary healing could be greatly reduced.
What is the Solution?
In 1999, landmark legislation was passed in Minnesota that remedies this situation. Now being called the Minnesota model, this legislation provides an exemption to the Medical Practice Act so that unlicensed healers are able to operate openly and freely without the need of a license – as long as they do not engage in certain potentially dangerous medical activities or claim to be licensed medical doctors.
This legislation was passed overwhelmingly in Minnesota and was also passed in many other states and there are additional states with organizations working to pass similar legislation. The goal of MNHC is to educate Michigan citizens about laws appropriate for Michigan to guarantee the rights of all Michigan citizens to freely access or practice alternative/complementary health care without unnecessary government restrictions. Being a 501(c) 4, the MNHC is able to lobby and therefore is qualified to get appropriate legislation passed.
Health Freedom Bill in Michigan
This is a safe harbor exemption bill. It protects consumer access to the health care practitioners of their choice and consumer rights to information and educated choice.
This bill would assure consumer access to the broadest range of practitioners and healing methods by providing a safe harbor for those practitioners who do not hold a conventional state occupation license who are doing healing therapies, as long as they follow guidelines of the bill. This protects the consumer’s freedom to choose the alternative practitioners and services desired.
Why do we need a Michigan Health Freedom Bill?
If you do not have a license to practice medicine in Michigan, or a special exemption, you could be arrested for giving any kind of help to anyone!
While not routinely enforced, this law has been used to prosecute practitioners, even when no harm has been done. Those prosecuted could be subjected to aggressive raids, heavy fines, criminal charges, and possible jail time.
Alternative wellness businesses have been thriving in Michigan for decades, paying sales and income taxes all along. When a business is built by reputation, that reputation must be good for the business to stay alive.
This bill would provide a safe harbor for those practitioners who give out proper disclosure and who do not pose a risk of harm to the public. They would no longer fear prosecution by the state of Michigan for practicing a health care profession without a license.
Take Action Now!
- Join our organization as a consumer or practitioner.
- Make a donation.
- Attend our rallies and take part in our activities and functions.
- Inform and motivate all your friends and professional contacts to become members and to do the same.
- Get to know your legislators. See the legislative info page to download a handout on how to communicate with your elected officials.
* Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, Ettnes SL, Appel S, Wilkey S, Van Rompay MV, Kessler RC.
Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997. JAMA 1998;280:1569-1575