Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Project

OCAP Office is Closed Due To Unallotment

In 2009, the Office of Complementary and Alternative Practices was unallotted as a way to balance the budget.  OCAP is the enforcement arm of statute 146A which allows the practice of unlicensed therapies in Minnesota.  They are unlicensed because it has been determined that they are so safe that they donít need licensing.

This office employed one person and cost approximately $65,000 per year. It is funded by general funds as no fees are collected from unlicensed practitioners.  It was a part time job for one employee who investigated complaints and provided information for interested consumers. 

The Governor has now proposed that his unallotments become permanent.  In doing so, there was language to repeal the entire statute 146A, rather than just the OCAP office.  This is the way bureaucrats deal with things.  Take the easy way out rather than finding the sections in the 146A statute that refer to OCAP and repeal only those lines. 

At an informational hearing of the licensing Sub Committee on Thursday, March 4th, 2010, Diane Miller, JD, the original drafter of the Health Freedom Bill, offered amendments to preserve 146A and close OCAP, if necessary.  They were well received by the committee chair and house research also requested a copy to insert into an appropriate bill.  Return to this page frequently for updates. 

It is preferred that OCAP be refunded and funds be taken from an office that has duplication of efforts. In the event this cannot happen until 2011, there are some possible solutions:

The Attorney Generalís office could take complaints.  This was agreed to in 2005 when closing OCAP was considered to help balance the budget.  Perhaps this agreement could be reached again.
OCAP duties could be assumed by someone within the Department of Health.  In this time of fiscal constraint, employees in both the private and public sector will be expected to pick up the duties of a position that has been eliminated.

Natural health is not the practice of medicine. Moving the oversight to the medical board would not be appropriate.

Client Bill of Rights

Minnesota Statute 146A not only established the Office of Complementary and Alternative Practices, it also requires that unlicensed practitioners present their clients with a Bill of Rights. Even though the OCAP is closed, the health freedom language is still in effect and the Bill of Rights is still required by law.  A sample copy of this Bill of Rights is below.  It can be downloaded and modified to include information appropriate for individual practitioners.