2004 Community Bulletin

Will Naturopathic Physicians Return To Florida?
Local Advocacy Group Promotes The Return of N.D.s
From the Southwest Orlando Bulletin
By Diane Wood

Kirti Kalidas, M.D., N.D.

Naturopath and internist Kirti Kalidas, M.D., N.D., of Windermere, Florida, believes it is time to license naturopaths again to allow them to practice independently, diagnosing and treating patients in Florida.*

Florida’s Silver Haired Legislature, a nonpartisan elder-advocacy group, wants the state to resume licensing of naturopathic physicians, who use diet, nutritional supplements, homeopathy and other natural therapies to treat disease. [Health Equals Happiness.]

“The benefit naturopathic medicine offers Florida’s senior population is keeping well rather than getting well,” said Dolores Kane, executive director of the Florida Silver Haired Legislature, in a written statement.

Naturopaths strive to keep patients well through proper nutrition and to treat patients based on the underlying cause of the disorder. Thirteen states have naturopathic licensing boards, which test and admit into practice graduates from four-year naturopathic education programs.

Oregon considers naturopaths to be primary-care physicians and allows them to administer intravenous therapies and injections, order X-rays and tests, and prescribe naturally derived medications, such as hormones.

Florida licensed naturopaths from 1927 to 1959, when the last naturopathic college closed.

A school now exists in Winter Park. It supports licensure. House bill No. 1375 would create a Board of Naturopathic Medicine with licensing power.

The Florida Medical Association opposes any legislation that expands the scope of practice of nonphysicians. One of its 2004 legislative priorities is to “defeat licensure of naturopaths.”

Naturopath and internist Kirti Kalidas, M.D., of Windermere believes it is time to license the specialists again and let naturopaths practice independently, diagnosing and treating patients in Florida.

“It’s empowering the patients to make health choices through a healthy lifestyle, as well as appropriate nutritional and other support,” Dr. Kalidas said.

Dr. Kalidas is one of about 15 naturopaths with medical-doctor licenses practicing in the country. After many years as an Orlando internist, he moved to Oregon in 1998 to study naturopathy.

“I saw the health-care industry was taking a change and got frustrated that everything was a prescription,” Dr. Kalidas said. “It was a life-changing experience for me. I learned new principles and new paradigms. Initially, I found it difficult to incorporate those principles into my practice." [Are Prescribed Drugs Making You Sick?]

Kalidas said he sees a role for both types of providers and does not look at them as competitive. He uses modalities from traditional and naturopathic medicine.

“It’s truly a different style of practice,” he said.

Dr. Kalidas typically spends an hour with new patients and 30 minutes for subsequent appointments. He teaches about healthy lifestyle choices and tests for food allergies and toxins to try to determine the root causes of illnesses. For instance, in evaluating a mute child, he found high levels of lead. With treatment, the child began speaking. He found food allergies in a woman who had suffered from a rash for 20 years, and by changing her diet, it began clearing. Some patients drive from out of state to see Dr. Kalidas.

“It’s a wellness program,” Dr. Kalidas said. “We need to get away from the disease paradigm. We need to look at things in terms of functional medicine.”

Consumers are becoming more interested in natural therapies and taking responsibility for their health. The Florida Naturopathic Physicians Association estimates that 40 percent of health-care consumers use progressive, alternative therapies.

Dr. Kalidas enjoys seeing people change their lifestyles and enhance their well-being. He continues to use traditional medications where appropriate but emphasizes self-care techniques.

“I wish I had known about naturopathy earlier,” Dr. Kalidas said. “It has helped me create a model of health."

*Florida’s licensing authority for naturopathic physicians was abolished in 1959 and licensees who were licensed at that time were allowed to continue practicing naturopathic medicine. Draft legislation proposed by the Florida Naturopathic Physician Association was introduced in 2004 to reestablish regulation of naturopathic medicine through licensure and to create the Board of Naturopathic Medicine within the Department of Health.

A 2004 Sunrise Report on Proposed Licensure of Naturopathic Physicians, by the Florida House of Representatives, Committee on Health Care, concluded that while there is evidence for support of licensure based on the existence of accredited training programs and licensure examinations, there is no documented evidence of substantial risk from not licensing naturopathic physicians. Moreover, there is potential risk [Risk to whom, M.D.s and Big Pharma?] from licensing naturopathic physicians and allowing them to provide a broad range of primary care services. -- Source.

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  *Consultation with a health care professional should occur before applying adjustments or treatments to the body, consuming medications or nutritional supplements and before dieting, fasting or exercising. None of these activities are herein presented as substitutes for competent medical treatment. See Disclaimer.