Important Advocacy Update
The Legislative Committee has been busy monitoring legislation pertaining to acupuncture, dry needling, and alternatives to opioids. Fifty bills were introduced at the state level. Since most state sessions have ended, the majority of these bills are hung up in committees or have failed outright. Here is a report on the bills that have passed.
MT SB121: This bill simply updates the definitions for acupuncture to reflect modern techniques and modalities.
IL SB1078: This bill sets criteria for athletic trainers, occupational therapists (OT), and OT assistants to do dry needling. The bill passed both houses at the end of May but has not been signed by the governor yet. Physical therapists (PTs) in Illinois are already permitted to do dry needling.
ME LD 1646: This bill, passed by both houses, adds dry needling to the list of physical modalities available to OTs. It does not specify training and certification requirements. PTs in Maine are already permitted to do dry needling.
TN HB1275 and SB1072: The governor signed this legislation which allows OTs to practice dry needling of the upper limb with “proper training and certification.”
NY S04640 and NY A00273: The state senate passed this bill which requires a practitioner to consider and prescribe non-opioid treatment alternatives, including acupuncture, for treatment of neuromusculoskeletal condition. It was turned over to the assembly on June 3rdand has stalled in the Health Committee.
SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER
CO HB1276: This bill promotes alternatives to opioids for treating chronic pain. It recommends safer drugs, OT, PT, and chiropractic and acupuncture services. It would require health benefit plans to cover six acupuncture treatments. The Legislative Committee wrote to the authors asking that physician acupuncturists be named as providers in addition to licensed acupuncturists. However the bill has not been amended as such and has passed both the senate and house.
The Legislative Committee will continue to watch for bills that affect AAMA members and respond to the authors and co-sponsors appropriately. We will also contact YOU when legislation in your state may affect your ability to practice acupuncture. In that event, we ask that you write your representatives and senators since they prefer to hear directly from their constituents.
Together we can advance medical acupuncture for our patients who depend on us!
Donna Pittman, MD, FAAMA
AAMA Board of Directors Vice President
Co-Chair, AAMA Legislative Committee