Health Freedom in Wisconsin

Written by Heather Burkart

I'm passionate about helping women unlock their greatest potential to experience the energy, focus, and mood that they deserve.

Yesterday, I went to a hearing for A546 or the Consumer Protection for Complementary Healthcare bill at the State’s Capitol. What a day! The bill’s hearing was pushed to the end. Although it was inconvenient, this was a good sign because so many had showed up to give testimony (mostly in favor; a few against, but that’s a whole other post). During the wait, I was able to meet like-minded people, consumers and practitioners alike, who are also passionate about complementary care and had their own story to share. A highlight was meeting Diane Miller the Director of Law at National Health Freedom Action and Anne Gillum an attorney working closely with NHFA. I also got to personally thank Representative Mary Felzkowski for authoring the bill and offering her testimony that revealed that her triumph over cancer was helped by complementary health care.

You might be wondering, what is Health Freedom and why is it important? Read on …

If you want to get the gist of the bill you can read the following from National Health Freedom Action:

National Health Freedom Action has a special commitment to supporting the passage of Safe Harbor Exemption bills that protect access to health care practitioners who do not hold state occupational licenses and are currently practicing in the public domain. Historically these health care practitioners have been unfairly charged with practice of medicine without a license.  Safe Harbor Exemption laws for these practitioners protect consumer access to the broad range of health care and healing practitioners, such as herbalists, traditional naturopaths, homeopaths, body workers, and culturally specific healing practices, that are not currently regulated by the states and that do not rise to the level of concern requiring state oversight, certification, registration, or licensure. Eleven states now protect consumer access to these practitioners on some level, including Oklahoma, Idaho, Minnesota, Rhode Island, California, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona (limited exemption for homeopaths only), Colorado, Nevada, and Maine. Fifteen additional states have introduced similar legislation within the past ten years.  More states are preparing to do so in the future.

This bill also effects Ayurvedic Practitioners, like myself, as Ayurveda is not a licensed profession in any state in the US. Steps are being taken to move towards licensing but until then this exemption law will offer protection as long as Ayurvedic professionals practice within the parameters outlined in the bill, which many like myself probably already observe. For example, disclosing to my clients that I am not a licensed medical doctor and I cannot I treat, cure, diagnose, or prescribe. On the most part, I educate and make suggestions that my clients are free to take or leave. I also strongly encourage consulting with their primary care giver to seek diagnosis or before they make any changes to their health regime. If they’d rather not, they sign off on that. In fact, as a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, I’m required to adhere to a strict code of professional ethics.

One way for Ayurveda to rise to the same level as other complementary care professions is to gain accreditation for our profession. Check out the video below to learn more about that.

If you want to learn more about Health Freedom in Wisconsin or in your state, go to the National Health Freedom Action’s website. There’s lots of resources on how to take action. Wisconsin has its own Health Freedom organization and an association for Ayurvedic professionals.

Contact me if you’d like to be at the Senate hearing (TBA sometime before March) or subscribe to NHFA email list to stay informed. Showing up is the best way to show your support.

More resources from NAMA include:

Health Freedom: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

The Legal, Unlicensed Practice of Ayurveda

State Licensure for Ayurveda Legitmacy & Recognition

FYI Colorado’s Ayurvedic Association was the first to submit an application for license in their state. It might be sooner than we think!

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