You are a practitioner of gentle, natural health therapies. Florida’s Department of Health (DOH) believes that you are breaking the law.
The DOH has created an unlicensed activity unit of investigators and attorneys who locate, investigate and prosecute people like you: unlicensed practitioners of gentle, natural health care therapies. Practitioners of low and no risk therapies have been arrested. Two recent examples include:
Some of you believe that you’re practicing legally because you aren’t offering potentially harmful therapies and aren’t holding yourself out as a licensed practitioner. This view is particularly held by degree-holding graduates of formal training programs. As a matter of law, you may be correct. As a practical matter, however, the Department of Health disagrees with you.
Recently, the DOH removed any doubt about its position. It declared that “unlicensed persons, in the State of Florida, cannot offer CATH therapies (gentle, natural health care therapies).” and “that a patient who chooses to seek CATH therapies [must] do so from a … licensed individual.” (emphasis added) The DOH believes that any therapy intended to affect one’s health, however gentle, belongs exclusively to the licensed professions.
In our opinion, the DOH’s legal interpretation is misguided. However, because Florida’s laws are in conflict about whether a license is required for any practice intended to affect health, the legislature must resolve this matter. The legislature must act to protect your right to work and your clients’ right to choose you as their practitioner.
What’s the good news?
Florida Health Freedom Action (FHFA) is ready to work on a legislative solution, given sufficient grassroots support and funding.
What can you do?
FHFA needs your help now. For the past four years, FHFA has depended on the generosity of a small number of volunteers and donors. More volunteers and adequate funding are needed to enable us to work for a legislative solution to your problem.
December 4, 2006
Legislating for health
The case for Health Freedom
By Deborah Miller, J.D., Policy and Legal Consultant, Florida Health Freedom Action
We accept that our legislature cannot pass laws that will provide us with lives free from pain and disease. We simply want government to protect us from serious danger and to otherwise stay out of our personal health care choices. We should not accept government’s refusal to honor our right to choose our own healing path.
Sadly, Florida’s laws are being interpreted and enforced to limit our access to gentle, natural therapies such as Reiki and homeopathy and many of their practitioners. Arguably, we have been legislated AWAY from the natural health care and practitioners of our choice.
The legislature has rightly created licensed professions for those who perform surgery and prescribe drugs. Unlicensed people cannot legally engage in such dangerous practices. The downside of licensing a health care profession is an increase in your health care costs and less availability of that profession’s services and the number of practitioners who may legally offer them. In short, a licensed health care profession is given a monopoly; we must use its members to access the services they’re licensed to provide.
Representative Rene Garcia, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Health Care Regulation Committee
“The Department of Health’s position underscores a critical need for clarification of Florida’s health care regulation laws.”
The Sunrise Act
The legislature passed the “Sunrise Act” in recognition of the high personal and economic price that we pay for professional licensure. This Act prohibits licensing a profession unless it’s necessary to protect us from serious harm. Otherwise, the Act honors our right to choose the health care of our choice and to work without state regulation.
Unfortunately, Florida’s Department of Health (DOH), which regulates the licensed health care professions, has interpreted the law to require us to receive all health care services from licensed practitioners, such as physicians and acupuncturists. This applies even to gentle, natural health therapies such as Reiki and Homeopathy.
No one would argue that we cannot receive homeopathic advice from a physician – but can the state force us to do so, even if our choice is an unlicensed, British-trained homeopath, for example?
A Champion of Health Freedom
A health freedom champion in the Florida Legislature has responded to the DOH’s opinion that state law controls our every natural health care choice. Representative Rene′ Garcia, who is committed to increasing consumers’ access to health care, lowering health care costs and protecting us from unnecessary state intrusion into our personal health care choices said, “it appears that the Department’s position overlooks Floridians’ Constitutional right to keep government out of their personal lives, including their choice of natural health therapies and its practitioners. Florida’s Sunrise Act also recognizes this right and is clearly intended to protect our citizens from non- essential government regulation.”
Protecting Your Rights
Florida Health Freedom Action is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting your right to choose the gentle, natural health therapies and practitioners that you decide are right for you. If you support FHFA’s mission, visit our website at www.floridahealthfreedom.org. Sign up, make a financial contribution and learn how you can support our health freedom campaign on your behalf.