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  Texas Health Freedom Alliance

Did you know that not all natural and alternative therapies are recognized in the state of Texas ? Our choices in health care are continually being decreased and eliminated by overly restrictive laws that prohibit certain types of health care practitioners and restrict the use of certain health care products, supplements and devices from public use. These restrictive laws apply even when there is no showing of harm to the public, and when statements made by practitioners and manufacturers are truthful.

The Texas Health Freedom Alliance is a  grass roots organization lobbying for consumer choice in natural health modalities and dietary information.

GOALS:

  • Strengthen the voice and status of health freedom
  • Educate the public on health freedom issues
  • Design and promote health freedom legal models that protect access
  • Create public policy platforms that promote health choice

The Texas Health Freedom Alliance(THFA) supports an individual's  right to self-determination in making their own health care choices. The (THFA) is calling together all individuals and groups interested in preserving their freedom of access to complete health care. The purpose of this call is to build a strong state coalition with a united voice, and send a clear message of health freedom. A more acceptable balance must be created between individual rights to self-determination and free choice, and the government’s concerns for public safety.

In most states, a practitioner such as a homeopath, herbalist, naturopath, or other unlicensed health practitioner, is legally vulnerable to criminal charges for practicing medicine without a license. This is because medical licensure laws define the “practice of medicine” broadly and make it a criminal offense for non-Physicians to practice within the definition of medicine without a medical license. Most alternative health care practitioners are unaware of the legal ramifications of practicing their chosen profession. Practicing medicine without a license is a misdemeanor; in some states it is a felony. Florida has several  cases against unlicensed practitioners of alternative medicine, including naturopathic and energy healing providers. This State 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:

  • An unlicensed person was criminally charged with practicing naturopathy and dietetics and nutrition. No prescription drugs were recommended and nothing dangerous occurred. This practitioner faced imprisonment, has been ruined financially and her practice has been closed.
  • An energy practitioner who also sold dietary supplements was arrested for the unlicensed practice of medicine. The criminal case was closed after months of legal maneuvering and thousands of dollars' of legal fees and lost business.
  • Click to read about a Texas Doctor that fought back and won.

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, IN SOME states the Department of Health disagrees with you. It declared that "unlicensed persons 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). It  believes that any therapy intended to affect one's health, however gentle, belongs exclusively to the licensed professions.

Who does this affect? A plethora of people. Natural, complementary, & alternative health care that Texas citizens use every day including homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Below is a list of the following disciplines that are affected :

  • Aromatherapy/essential oils
  • Ayurveda
  • Colostrum therapy
  • Culturally traditional healing (plant medicines/food, ceremonies, prayer, and songs)
  • Detoxification practices/therapies
  • Energetic healing
  • Folk practices
  • Gerson therapy
  • Healing practices utilizing food, dietary supplements, and nutrients
  • Healing practices utilizing physical forces of heat, cold, water, touch and light
  • Healing touch
  • Herbology or herbalism
  • Holistic kinesiology and other muscle testing techniques
  • Homeopathy
  • Meditation
  • Mind-body healing practices
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutrition
  • Nondiagnostic iridology
  • Polarity therapy
  • Supplements

HEALTH FREEDOM MOVEMENT

The concept of health freedom is based on the idea that conventional medicine covers a relatively small subset of existing techniques. By definition, the remainder fall into the category of alternative practices. The health-freedom movement is based on the idea that individuals have a right to choose their own treatment, rather than having it imposed upon them, even when this treatment is outside the mainstream of conventional medicine.

One objective in the movement is to prevent alternative products - such as vitamins, minerals, herbals, botanicals, amino acids and other food supplements - from being regulated as if they were drugs, which requires millions of dollars and decades to approve. Instead, the dietary supplement industry wants them to remain classified as food.

 Health freedom” advocates  support increased access to nutritional supplements and natural foods. Some supporters also criticize government-mandated vaccinations and water fluoridation. In general, “health freedom” advocacy groups promote patients' rights to access health care treatments outside the scope of traditional medicine. Thus, among other things, they advocate reduced regulation of complementary and alternative medicine practitioners. Their work generally involves lobbying, public education, and outreach.

The National Health Federation is an international nonprofit organization established in 1955 which describes itself as the world's oldest health freedom organization. The federation's Declaration of Health Freedom Rights includes the right to receive alternative medicine and treatments (such as those provided by chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, and clinical nutritionists) and the right of such practitioners to determine and use those treatments best suited for their patients, without government restrictions. Among other things, the declaration also advocates for the elimination of (1) government restrictions on dietary supplements; (2) pesticide, hormone, antibiotic, and irradiation use in food including support for mandatory labeling of genetically-engineered food.; (3) water fluoridation; and (4) mandatory vaccinations. The full declaration is available on the federation's website.

Laws and public policy should no longer be based on unfair discrimination against particular practitioners or treatments, or on the demands of special interest groups or institutions, but rather should be based on true issues of the healing relationship, i.e., an informed environment, ethical conduct of practitioners, reasonable standards of actual harm, and available avenues for client complaints.

The following statistics were compiled and documented by health activist Monica Miller of Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine (faim.org):

  • 80% of medical students want training in complementary and alternative therapies ("CAM")
  • 70% of family physicians want training in CAM
  • 69% of Americans use nonconventional medical therapies
  • 67% of HMO's offer at least one form of CAM care
  • 64% of U.S. medical school offer courses in CAM
  • 60% of physicians have referred patients to CAM practitioners
  • 56% of Americans surveyed believe their health plans should cover alternative therapies
  • 29 health insurers and HMO's already cover some CAM therapies

Texas Health Freedom Bill
The Complementary and Alternative Health Care Services Bill (House Bill 1716/Senate Bill 1084) is a brand-new bill, just filed in the State legislature.  It recognizes the safety of complementary-and-alternative modalities and will protect the natural health-care industry from the rampages of arbitrary and mindless medical bureaucrats, and with it also protect patient access to that industry in Texas.

The National Health Federation (NHF) is one of several organizations actively working to get this Bill passed so that Texans’ health rights can be protected.  The Bill can be found at HB 1716/SB 1084 (full text of Bill not available at this time due to continued text changes).

Successful health freedom legislation accomplishes several important things:

  • Provides parameters of practice for professionals and allows unlicensed professionals an opportunity to share their services with the health care consumer more openly and freely.
  • Increases awareness of the health care consumer about alternative health professionals, who can openly advertise and educate the public about their services.
  • Creates more open and inclusive dialogue around health care.
  • Establishes the potential for collaborations among professions in providing more options and opportunities for the public.

This Bill will:

  • Empower Texas consumers by ensuring access to alternative natural care.
  • Help preserve thousands of entrepreneurial Texas CAM businesses.
  • Explicitly recognize and respect the rights and privileges of licensed health-care practitioners.
  • Create a “safe harbor” and delineate that a person providing complementary and alternative health-care services under this Bill would not be practicing medicine as defined in Subtitle B of the Occupations code.  This would protect him or her from persecution by the State Medical Board.

Other important considerations are:

  • The Bill will present no cost to the State of Texas.
  • More than 3 million Texans currently use and want CAM services to maintain their health.  Many of these 1200 therapies have been used for decades and decades; in fact, your grandparents and their grandparents almost certainly only used natural modalities for their health and wellness.
  • This industry has thousands and thousands of small business owners, including their staff and their clients, who bring money into the State of Texas and all would be negatively affected if this joint Bill is not passed.
  • Practitioners are being harassed and suppressed by the Texas Medical Board for “practicing medicine without a license” simply because they used the word “healing” on their website. This bill will provide them protection.
  • This Bill and the mandatory “disclosure statement” will create a distinction of what really constitutes practicing medicine, so, both conventional and alternative medicine may work together for the good health of Texans.
  • Health-care bills similar to this one have passed and are now working successfully in eight States and are saving those States significant money.
  • This is a self-enforcing Bill.  The consumer is protected from harm by CAM therapies (which are already considered benign) by the informed consent “disclosure statement” and access to the full range of existing criminal and civil legal remedies, if needed. The practitioner is protected from the Texas Medical Board and Texas Massage Licensing Unit by clear and concise definitions of what constitutes “practicing medicine without a license” or “practicing massage without a license.”  If necessary, the CAM practitioners will enforce against their own kind for not adhering to the Bill protocol.
  • This issue is long overdue to be resolved in Texas
  • The U.S Health Care System and the federal and state regulatory systems are dominated and controlled by special interests, including the Pharmaceuticals, Insurance Industry, and Agriculture Industry, to the benefit of special interest but to the extreme detriment of the public. These special interest spend billions each year influencing and controlling public opinion and the Media message to the public on health issues, plus also billions each year on lobbying federal and state governments and agencies to influence public policy and regulation to their benefit and to the public detriment. Unfortunately, there are a large number of examples of this.
     

    If you want to support an educational process to correct some of these abuses, join and support health freedom organizations. In numbers and organization, there is power when you are also have accurate and documented information.

    THFA Membership:  Become a Health Freedom Champion

  • Click here to find out more

  • Below is a map outline those states that have already passed Health Freedom Bills

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