Naturopathic Medicine in Colorado

Page last updated 12 July 2017

Legislation update

2017 Sunset Review

Senate Bill 106 Bill was signed into law by the governor in May 2017. The Colorado naturopathic registration bill was due to sunset at the end of 2017. Senate bill 106 continues the registration of naturopathic doctors. Sponsored by Senator Don Coram, Senator Irene Aguilar, and Representative Jonathan Singer.

Information courtesy of Society for Science-Based Medicine.

Want to get involved?

Contact your Colorado Senate and Assembly representatives and voice your opposition to legitimizing the practice of naturopathy.

Not sure what to say? Check out these tips from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Sign the petition Naturopaths are not doctors: stop legitimizing pseudoscience


Media Coverage

Naturopathic Doctors Attempts Character Assassination of Colorado Senator. Forbes. 20 April 2017. Britt Hermes.

Colorado May Green-Light Naturopathic Doctors, Against Warning. Forbes. 16 April 2017. Britt Hermes.

Colorado is Nearer to Promoting Naturopathic Pseudomedicine—Aided by the Colorado Medical Society. Science-Based Medicine. 2009. Kimball Atwood.

Licensing Naturopaths: the triumph of politics over science. Science-Based Medicine. 2013. Jann Bellamy.


Scope of practice

Naturopaths are registered in Colorado. They are not licensed to practice medicine.

There are strict rules governing naturopaths in Colorado. Specifically, naturopaths are:

  • Required to provide patients with a written statement disclosing that the naturopath is not a physician, and that recommends patients have a relationship with a physician. Additionally, the naturopath must attempt to establish a collaborative relationship with a patient’s physician.
  • Prohibited from treating children under two years of age, unless the naturopath has a written collaborative agreement with a physician, the naturopath agrees to exchange health information with the child’s primary care providers (if the child has one), and the naturopath presents the most current immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control to the parent or guardian along with an explicit informed consent document that clearly outlines the narrow scope of practice for naturopaths in Colorado.
  • Prohibited from treating children under eight years of age, unless the naturopath agrees to exchange health information with the child’s primary care providers (if the child has one), and the naturopath presents the most current immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control to the parent or guardian along with an explicit informed consent document that clearly outlines the narrow scope of practice for naturopaths in Colorado.
  • Prohibiting from counseling against the use of a drug or medical course of care, unless the naturopath consults with the prescribing health care practitioner.
  • Not regulated by an independent advisory board.

Colorado Naturopathic Doctors Act, revised 2016

Rules regulating naturopaths in Colorado

Title: May use the title doctor

  • May not use the title physician

Prescription drugs: Naturopaths in Colorado are not permitted to order or administer any medications or substances except, epinephrine for anaphylactic emergencies, vitamins B6 and B12, barrier contraceptives, oxygen gas for emergencies, and vaccinations for patients who are at least 18 years of age.

Controlled substances: Prohibited

IV administration: Intravenous therapies are not specifically defined, although the rules state that administration of a drug or substance “means the direct application of a drug to the body of a patient by injection, inhalation, ingestion, or any other method.”

Diagnostic tests and labs: Not specified

Minor office procedures: Local anesthetic use and surgical procedures are prohibited.

Spinal manipulations: Prohibited

Childbirth/ midwifery: Prohibited

Vaccine waiver: Not specified

Naturopathic assistants: Not specified


Continuing professional development requirements

A registered naturopath is required to complete 25 hours in continuing professional development every year. If treating children under the age of eight, three of these hours must pertain to pediatrics. If treating children under the age of two, an additional two hours spent in identifying and referring sick infants for medical care are required.


History

In 2017, Senate bill 106 was signed into law. It continues the registration of naturopathic doctors. In 2013, House Bill 13-1111 defining the Naturopathic Doctors Act passed.

The bill went into effect January 1, 2014.


How to file a complaint

Registered naturopaths are regulated by Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Anyone may file a complaint. DORA recommends filing complaints via their online system for expediency. A complaint can be filed the old-fashioned way by mailing in a hard copy of a complaint form.

Download complaint form

Mail completed form to:

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
Division of Professions and Occupations
1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
Denver, CO 80202

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