The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland – ACAMI
What do we stand for?
The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland is an umbrella organisation for professional associations of providers of alternative practitioner´s treatment in Iceland. The aim in founding the association was to standardise basic educational requirements of the professional member associations, to support and promote branches of alternative practitioner´s and to be their public spokesman. Member associations are professional associations that set educational and professional requirements for their members.
Who are members of the Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland was founded on 30 November 2000. The catalyst for the founding of the association, its first president was Á. Svava Magnúsdóttir. Six associations joined the FÍSG at its inaugural meeting. Subsequently its name was finalised as BÍG (ACAMI).
Information on the member associations can be found below:
CSFÍ – CranioSacral Association of Iceland: www.craniosacral.is
Cranio – Association of Cranio Sacral Therapists: www.craniofelag.is
FHL – Association of Icelandic Health- and Iridologysts: FHL
Organon – Professional Association of homeopaths: www.homopatar.is
SMFÍ – Icelandic Association of Reflexology: SMFÍ
SSOVÍ – Association of Icelandic Reflexologists www.svaedamedferd.is
Those who are fully accredited members of the above professional associations are also members of ACAMI. The common working title of members in ACAMI is „alternative practitioner“. Members who register in the alternative practitioner’ registration system bear the title „registered alternative practitioner“ and their professional title, according to legislation passed in the Icelandic Parliament in May 2005
What are the aims of the Act of alternative practitioner? The aims of the Act are to promote quality in health-related services provided by alternative practitioner´s and to promote safety for those who seek such services or use them. One of the ways to achieve these aims shall be by providing a free registration system for alternative practitioner. In the Act passed by Parliament, the word „alternative practitioner“ refers to those who provide health-related services outside the general health service. „Health-related services“ of alternative practitioner refers to the services that is particularly common outside the general health service and that is based rather on tradition and experience than on fully tested scientific conclusions. Such service provides treatment where the aim is to improve people’s health, to relieve suffering, limit discomfort and to support spiritual healing.
Doe´s the Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland have support from abroad? ACAMI is a party to the common Nordic umbrella association, NSK (Nordic joint committee on non-traditional treatment), formed by national associations of professional associations in the Nordic countries that are working towards standardisation of education and recognition of holistic treatment.
Alternative practitioner Act
No. 34/2005 passed by Althingi 2. May 2005
Aims and scope
The aim of this Act is to support quality of alternative practitioner´s in health-related services provided by alternative practitioners and the security of those that seek such service or use it. One of the ways to achieve these aims shall be by providing a free registration system for healers. The act covers registered healers and as appropriate other healers, though they may be unregistered.
The word alternative practitioner refers to those who provide health-related services outside the general health service. „Health-related services“ of alternative practitioner refers to the services that are particularly common outside the general health service and that are based rather on tradition and experience than on fully tested scientific conclusions. Such service provides treatment with the aim of improving people’s health, relieving suffering, limiting discomfort and supporting spiritual healing.
A free registration system shall be established for alternative practitioner. The registration system shall be supervised by The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland. The association is authorised to charge a registration fee which shall cover the costs of registration of each alternative practitioner and the operation and maintenance of the registration system. The Association decides the amount of the registration fee and it shall be confirmed by the Minister. The Association shall ensure that the public has easy access to information about wich alternative practitioner are registered at any given time and about their speciality. Registered alternative practitioners are obliged to display their registration certificate in a prominent place in their place of work such that it is clearly visible to those who seek services from the alternative practitioner in question. It is authorised to register alternative practitioner that are members of a professional association which is a party to the registration system. Should a alternative practitioner who is not a party to a professional organisation request registration, his registration is authorised on condition that he fulfils the educational requirements of the professional association that he would otherwise be a member of, that he fulfils other conditions for registration and he shall be subject to inspection by the IAC. Should a alternative practitionerr no longer fulfil conditions for registration then the IAC shall remove him from the register. The Minister shall decide, having received an opinion from the Medical Director of Health and from IAC whether a professional association may be a party to the free registration system for alternative practitioners. The Minister shall prescribe the requirements that professional associations need to fulfil in order to be a party to the registration system, with a regulation. There the organisation of the registration shall also be prescribed along with the information that needs to be provided about the speciality of alternative practitioner. Public access to the register of alternative practitioner shall also be prescribed, hosting of the registration system, surveillance of its maintenance and the requirements that alternative practitioner need to fulfil to be registered. Should a professional association no longer fulfil the requirements prescribed by the regulation the Minister can invalidate its membership of the registration system.
The alternative practitioner is liable for the consequences of his work in accordance with general rules. Registered alternative practitioners are required to have valid indemnity insurance with an insurance company that has an operating licence in this country, for damage that can result from negligence in their work. A healer is however authorised to provide a guarantee in lieu of insurance, from a bank or savings bank, or another form of insurance that provides analogous protection in the view of the Minister. The Minister issues a regulation on minimum liability insurance and on the implementation of the insurance obligation. He shall consult with the Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland and the Medical Director of Health in deciding the amount of the insurance
Confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations
Alternative practitioners are obliged to respect full confidentiality on all private matters on which they receive information in their work, except where the law prescribes otherwise. The duty of confidentiality remains after termination of the alternative practitionaer’s employment and also where the recipient of the services is deceased. The provisions of The Physicians Act apply to the duty to give evidence.
Registration of information on health-related services of alternative practitioners
After consulting with the Medical Director of Health and with the Association of Icelandic (Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland) the Minister shall issue a regulation which prescribes conditions for registration and handling of information on health-related services of alternative practitioner that are provided outside the general health service. In other respects, treatment of information, including security of such information, is according to the Data Protection Act and the treatment of personal information and to regulations issued on the basis of this legislation.
Restrictions on alternative practitioner´s health-related services
Treatment for serious illnesses shall only be provided by legally licensed health workers. However, this does not apply should a patient request the services of a alternative practitioner after consultation with a doctor. The alternative practitioner shall under such circumstances ascertain that such consultation has taken place. Alternative practitioners are not authorised to perform operations or provide treatment that involves serious risks to a patient’s health. The same applies to treatment for diseases covered by the provisions of the Act on Health Security and Communicable Diseases and that represent a risk to the public. Alternative practitioners are unauthorised to advise people to cease medical treatment or other treatment that has been commenced with licensed health employees. Should an alternative practitioner observe that the client has a problem that is outside the scope of alternative practitioner’s work, or that his treatment has not provided the intended results, he is obliged to refer his client to a doctor. A health institution is authorised to acquiesce to the wishes of patients that wish to use health-related services of an alternative practitioner where this is in accordance with the policy of the institution and this shall be entered into the patient’s medical records. The Minister may, after consultation with the Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland and the Medical Director of Health, define in more detail in a regulation, the diseases, operations and treatment referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2.
Professional title and advertising
Only a person registered as an alternative practitioner according to Article 3 has the right to use the registered title relating to his speciality. The Minister is authorised to issue a regulation that limits promotion and advertising of the operations of those who provide health-related services, taking into account the provisions of legislation applying to health professionals.
Breaches of these laws or of rules according to these laws, made deliberately or through negligence, are punishable by fines or by a prison sentence of up to 3 months unless heavier penalties are prescribed according to other laws. Participation is according to Article 22 of the Penal Code. Infringements of this act shall be treated according to the Act on Criminal Procedure.
This Act shall be reviewed no later than five years after coming into force.
Coming into force
This act comes into force immediately. Passed by the Althingi 2 May 2005.
Regulation number 877 on free registration system for alternative practitioners
The registration system for alternative practitioners is intended to support the safety of those that seek or use health-related services provided by alternative practitioners and to assure the quality of the services to the extent possible. In addition, the registration system should support responsible services and business practices from alternative practitioners.
The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland implements and operates a registration system where alternative practitioners have the option of requesting registration. In order to be able to register himself, the alternative practitioner in question must be a member of a professional association that has been accepted as a party to the registration system according to Article 3, having fulfilled the conditions of Article 5.
Should a alternative practitioner who is not a party to a professional association request registration, then his registration is authorised, given that he fulfil the conditions for membership in the professional association to which he would belong, has accepted the agreement prescribed in items 1 to 7 of Article 3 and also fulfil the conditions of Article 5. Should no professional association be operated in his speciality, then the alternative practitioner shall be subject to the requirement´s that has the educational requirements that come closest to the education of the alternative practitioner in question. The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland shall in general ensure that the public has good access to accurate information of the alternative practitioner that are registered in the alternative practitioner registration system at any given time and on their specialities.
Conditions for professional association affiliation to the registration system
Having received an application and the opinions of the Medical Director of Health and of ACAMI, the Minister for Health and Insurance can authorise affiliation of professional associations to the free registration system according to Article 2, given that the association has confirmed:
1. Articles of association that make educational and professional requirements of the individual who applies for membership;
2. Articles of association that prescribe a code of ethics that member´s are obliged to observe in their work;
3. Articles of association where members undertake to conduct responsible operations; 4. Articles of association where members undertake to provide clients with all necessary information that relates to their operations;
5. Articles of association where members undertake full confidentiality for all information relating to the client and his health;
6. Professional associations have provisions in their articles of association on the registration of information on health-related services provided to individuals;
7. Articles of association where client appeals against professional actions by members are assured. Such appeals shall be heard by the professional association´s ethics committee or by a special appeals committee that has been appointed. 8. Articles of association that make it possible to expel members from the Association in accordance with established rules for operating procedure;
9. That the professional Association has been registered with an official identity number. The Ministry of Health and Social Security notifies the Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland and the Medical Director of Health about those professional associations that have become parties to the registration system in accordance with the provisions of this article.
Obligations of professional associations that have become parties to the registration system
A professional association that has become the party to the registration system in accordance with Article 3 is obliged to send a notification immediately to the Icelandic Association of Natural Medicine should a registered member no longer fulfil conditions for being on the registry.
Conditions for registering alternative practitioner
The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland registers alternative practitioner that provide health-related services if:
1. The alternative practitioner in question has completed education equivalent to a minimum of six credits in anatomy and physiology, five credits in pathology and two credits in ethics and legislation for health professionals. This refers to credits at further education level. The party in question must also have completed vocational education under the supervision of a recognised instructor in accordance with the requirements of the professional association responsible for his speciality.
2 a) it is documented that the alternative practitioner is a full member of a professional association that has been endorsed according to Article 3 and that the association recommends his registration.
Or b) that there is a documented confirmation that he has endorsed the articles of association prescribed in items 1 to 7 of Article 3, the Directorate of Health and the Icelandic Association of Natural Medicine recommend his registration and the party in question has signed a declaration to the effect that he will be subject to monitoring by The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland.
3. The alternative practitioner in question has provided confirmation that he has valid professional indemnity insurance according to the regulation on professional indemnity insurance for alternative practitioner no. 876/2006, for the financial liability that may be incurred against clients as a result of his work as a alternative practitioner.
4. The alternative practitioner has provided his identity number, name, legal abode and place or places of work as appropriate.
5. The alternative practitioner has informed about the speciality in which he wishes to be registered, or specialities as appropriate. It will be possible to appeal to the Ministry of Health and Social Security where an alternative practitioner is denied registration.
Obligations of registered alternative practitioner
A registered alternative practitioner is obliged:
1. to send annual confirmation to The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland that he has valid indemnity insurance according to item 3 in Article 5;
2. to send immediately to the Icelandic Association of Natural Medicine a notification if the conditions for registration, as prescribed in Article 5, are no longer fulfilled or if the party in question no longer wishes to be registered.
On registering, alternative practitioner shall pay The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland a special registration fee to meet the costs of operating the registration system. The Association decides the amount of the registration fee and it shall be confirmed by the Minister.
Revocation of the registration
If a alternative practitioner no longer fulfils the conditions for registration, according to this regulation, The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland shall remove him from the registry. Deregistration can be appealed to the Minister for Health and Social Security In special circumstances the Minister for Health and Social Security, after having received a request from the direction of health or from The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland, can decide whether alternative practitioner shall be removed from the registry even where conditions for registration are fulfilled. This could be in a case where an alternative practitioner infringes the law on alternative practitioner or behaves in a manner in his work that breaches good work practices. The registered alternative practitioner shall be given the opportunity to express his opinion on deregistration according to Paragraphs 1 and 2 before the decision is made. Alternative practitioner who has been removed from the registry shall according to Paragraph 1, maybe registered again should he show that he fulfils again the conditions for registration. He then pays the registration fee again according to Article 7. A alternative practitioner who has been removed from the registry can, according to Paragraph 2, be registered again after having received an opinion from the Medical Director of Health and from The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland if he can show that the conditions for deregistration no longer apply.
Registration system information and the provision of information
The registration system for alternative practitioner shall contain information about:
1. The name, address and ID number of the registered alternative practitioner, see Article 5;
2. Dates that show when the alternative practitioner completed his education and was first registered in the registration system;
3. Registration number and name of recognised professional associations that have registered members in the registration system see Article 3;
4. The speciality or specialities of the registered party and his place or places of work as appropriate. Everyone has the right to see who are registered alternative practitioner and the public shall have access to the information specified in items 1- 4, with the exception of information on the address and identity number of the alternative practitioner in question.
The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland is authorised to register alternative practitioners in a registration system that fulfils the provisions of this regulation, with the exception of the educational requirements specified in item 1 of Article 5. The conditions for this authority are that the applicant has completed education in the speciality in which the requests to be registered, two years prior to the coming into force of this regulation. The authority of The Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Iceland according to the provisions of this article becomes invalid one year after the coming into force of this regulation.
Coming into force
This regulation which is set on the basis of Paragraph 3 Article 3 of Act number 34/2005 on alternative practitioner, comes into force immediately.
Ministry of Health and Social Security, 9 October 2006. Siv Friðleifsdóttir. Sólveig Guðmundsdóttir.