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A Message from Your President: Dry Needling Legislation Update

Posted By Matthew Nicholas, Chapter Relations & Marketing Coordinator, Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Message from Your President: Dry Needling Legislation Update

As many of you have probably heard by now, dry needling legislation (SB 898) has passed both the House and the Senate and is now on its way to the Governor.  

Acupuncturists seeking to expand their scope of practice turned out to be an opportunity to resolve the dry needling controversy once and for all in Illinois. Representative Theresa Mah (D), the sponsor of the expansion and renewal of the Acupuncture Act, also agreed to sponsor legislation adding dry needing to the scope of practice of physical therapy as part of a compromise reached between the acupuncturists, physical therapists and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Representative Mah worked diligently to facilitate discussion between lobbyists and attorneys representing physical therapists, physicians, osteopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors and insurance companies to create an agreed bill that could move forward through the House and Senate with no opposition. Weeks of meetings, calls and emails between the stakeholders brought us to just days before the end of session -- and both the acupuncture sunset and dry needling bills to get through final readings in the House and Senate. When the bill were presented for final votes, all of the parties were neutral which allowed them to move successfully and quickly through both chambers.

Special thanks go out to Representative Daniel Burke (D), Representative Theresa Mah (D), Representative Jay Hoffman (D), Senator James Clayborne (D), Senator Martin Sandoval (D), Senator Iris Martinez (D) and Senator Pamela Althoff (R), along with House staff and the IDFPR for their support.  I would also like to acknowledge our key members who responded rapidly to support our legislation, particularly Kirsten Transue, PT, who rearranged her patient schedule on short notice several times to be at meetings in Springfield to share her expertise in dry needling, and Babette Sanders, PT, DPT, MS, FAPTA who participated in discussions related to entry level education for physical therapists.  Thanks also to IPT-PAC Chair Jim Milder, PT, for spearheading our grassroots efforts, which resulted in hundreds of our members and key contacts responding to our calls to contact legislators and file witness slips on the bills.  IPTA Executive Director, Colleen Flannery, was invaluable during stakeholder discussions and navigating the IPTA through the legislative process. Our lobbyist, Kevin Riggs was our eyes and ears at the Capitol, making sure that we didn't have any last minute surprises that would throw our efforts off-course. 

While we had success with our dry needling efforts, our progress on the co-pay legislation and licensure compact legislation did not fare as well. Neither bill moved out of committee before the end of session,  nor did the athletic trainer’s bill, which was opposed by several health professions. A meeting with the athletic trainer’s association is scheduled toward the end of this month, and we believe that there is still opportunity to work this summer on addressing concerns with the physical therapy licensure compact and possibly move that bill during fall veto session.

Thanks to those of you who regularly contribute to our IPT-PAC. I know that many of you get tired of hearing me preach about the importance of advocacy and supporting our legislators. Our success this spring was a direct effort of the groundwork that has been laid by our IPT-PAC. Many of the legislators listed above have been supported by our members and association and are friends of our industry.  They have taken the time to meet and listen to us when we are at the Capitol and have come forward to either sponsor, co-sponsor or support our efforts.  I hope that you reach out to them to thank them for their support. 

Thanks to all of our members who recognize the important work the IPTA does on behalf of the physical therapy profession - and support that work by paying dues.  We do quite a bit, considering we only receive financial support through membership dues from only about one/third of the Illinois licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

I can only imagine what we could accomplish if we had the financial support of more licensees.  I hope that when you speak to a colleague who is not an IPTA member but practices dry needling, that you remind them that IPTA made it possible for them to continue their dry needling practice and they owe it the profession to be a member. 

- Mike Riley, PT
IPTA President (2016 - 2018)
Member since 1973


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