Written by Dr. Sean Heerey.*  This is the fifth article of a six-article series on the efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and safety of naturopathic medicine when it comes to health promotion and disease prevention based on research from across the country.  To read the first three articles of The Value of Naturopathic Medicine in New York, please click here:  The Problem:  Chronic DiseaseEvidence-Based Chronic Disease PreventionTraining and Cost-Effectiveness.

health word in greenNaturopathic medicine is a medical system defined by its philosophy of treating the “cause of disease” and not just alleviating symptoms. It includes health promotion, disease prevention and health care education for patient empowerment. Some of the tools Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) utilize include lab testing (especially looking for unhealthy trends to intervene early), dietary modifications, nutrients, herbal therapies, supplements and lifestyle changes to support patients with health.

U.S. Senate Resolution 221 of the 113th Congress states that “naturopathic doctors are skilled in preventing and treating chronic disease; that naturopathic medicine is a safe, effective, and affordable means of health care; and that licensure of naturopathic doctors helps address the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States, while also providing people with more choice in health care.”

Part V


Malpractice claims against CAM practitioners occur less frequently and typically involved less severe injury than claims against Conventional Physicians.
Mark Cohen MH. Malpractice and vicarious liability for providers of complementary & alternative medicine. Benders Health Care Law Mon. 1996 Jun:3-13.
Mark Studdert DM, Eisenberg DM, Miller FH, Curto DA, Kaptchuk TJ, Brennan TA .Medical malpractice implications of alternative medicine. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1610-5.

Jury Verdicts Northwest with civil court records in states where 55% of naturopathic doctors practice, reported that their records show zero cases paid against naturopathic doctors and only 17 filed in 20 years.

Year(s) U.S.
MD/DO Malpractice Claims Paid 2009 107,391
MD/DO Malpractice Claims, Estimated Total Filed 2009 1 million
MD/DO Malpractice Claims, Total Paid 2009 $34.7 billion
ND Malpractice Claims, Total Filed 1990-2010 17


Next week’s article, the last in a six-part series on the value of Naturopathic Medicine, is “Patient Satisfaction.”

*Please note:  Contributing authors are Dr. Maura Henninger and Dr. Rick Brinkman

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