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GERALD M. REISINGER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/10/79)

decided: April 10, 1979.

GERALD M. REISINGER, N.D., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION AND LICENSURE, COMMISSIONER OF PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure in case of In the Matter of the Application of Gerald M. Reisinger, N.D., for a License to Practice Naturopathy, dated September 14, 1977.

COUNSEL

Frank O. Walther, for petitioner.

William C. Kennedy, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 554]

Gerald M. Reisinger (petitioner) appeals here from an order of the State Board of Medical Education and

[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 555]

Licensure (Board) denying him a license to practice Naturopathy or Drugless Therapy.*fn1

The petitioner received a doctor's degree in chiropractic medicine from Palmer College of Chiropractic Medicine in 1974 and a doctor's degree in Naturopathy from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1975. In December 1974, he directed a written inquiry to the Board regarding licensure requirements for Naturopaths or Drugless Therapists and he was notified by the Board Secretary in February of 1975 that the Board had no jurisdiction under The Medical Practice Act of 1974*fn2 (Act) to license Drugless Therapists. In March 1976, he requested an opportunity to appear before the Board to demonstrate why he ought to be examined and licensed as a Drugless Therapist, and a formal hearing was begun before the Board on September 1, 1976. At that time the head administrator of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine testified as to the educational program of that institution, the petitioner was examined on his

[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 556]

    qualifications and expertise in dealing with specific medical problems, and the Board Secretary testified that no Drugless Therapists had been licensed since 1951. The hearing was then continued until October 21, 1976 when the Commonwealth presented Dr. Jack Ederken as a witness, a physician who had worked on a report for the Congress regarding Independent Practitioners Under Medicare. Dr. Ederken testified as to the conclusions reached in his report regarding the state of the art of Naturopathy today and the reasons for denying payment of Medicare benefits to Naturopaths. The petitioner presented another witness whose testimony related to the role of nutrition in medical care, and the record was then closed. After a review of the notes of testimony, the Board voted unanimously to deny licensure to the petitioner as a Drugless Therapist or Naturopath, and issued its order to this effect on September 14, 1977. This appeal followed.

Our scope of review is, of course, limited to a determination of whether or not constitutional rights were violated, and as to whether or not the adjudication was in accordance with law and supported by substantial evidence. 2 Pa. C.S. ยง 704.

The Board maintains that before the petitioner can practice Naturopathy in the Commonwealth, he must first obtain a license to practice medicine, for which this petitioner is not qualified to receive. Its position is based on a literal reading of the definition of medicine found in the Act and the conclusion that the practice of ...


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