A legislative subcommittee is recommending the elimination of the state Board of Homeopathic Medicine, which faces a debt of $145,000. The panel also suggests that a number of other boards and commissions review their licensing fees that are higher than other states.
The Sunset Subcommittee of the Legislative Commission reviewed 23 professional and occupational licensing boards but decided Wednesday to abolish only the homeopathic board.
Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, chair of the subcommittee, said, “Some of the boards have gone off the path of serving Nevadans. This is to bring them back into alignment.”
The homeopathic board has fallen into debt by not paying the legal representation given by the Attorney General’s office. Subcommittee members said this is partly the fault of the staff of former Attorney General and now U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto who declined to collect fees from losing lawyers in contested cases.
The recommendation of the subcommittee to the 2019 Legislature is to turn over licensing and enforcement to the state Division of Public and Behavioral and Health and, at the suggestion of Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, ask the Legislature to solve the $145,000 debt problem.
Bruce Fong, newly installed president of the homeopathic board, told the subcommittee he would fight this in the Legislature. He said changes have been made and an option is to repay the debt over time. There are about 40 persons licensed by the board
Homeopathy uses natural substances such as plants and minerals to cure ailments, according to the Internet. The patient is treated as a whole rather than for the specific ailment. Fong said this was a separate part of the healing art. It results in $9.7 million in out-of-state income, according to the board.
Adams, D-Las Vegas, said the board has been “dysfunctional.” She said she has received patients who praise the treatment but encounter problems in dealing with the board.
The subcommittee recommended several of the boards review the licensing fees and report back to the group after the next Legislature. Adams said these boards must be held accountable to the public.
One example cited was the Private Investigator’s Licensing Board. Settelmeyer called its fees “out of line” compared to other states. He said after the meeting it may cost an applicant $1,000 to renew a license.
The subcommittee has recommended that these boards accept electronic filing or checks in paying license fees. They should not accept cash because that sometimes leads to embezzlement and fraud.