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Dry Needling Legislation Update

Tuesday, June 13, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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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.


- Mike Riley, PT
IPTA President
Member since 1973

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.  


In a Nutshell, Educational Requirements Included in SB 898 are: 

  • Prerequisite of 50 hours of general education that are traditionally part of entry level education for physical therapists
  • Completion of 30 hours of self study related to dry needling (acceptable self-study includes pre-course reading requirements such as textbooks and literature)
  • Completion of 54 hours of face to face dry needling education that can be divided into modules; however all 54 hours must be completed within 12 months
  • Completion of 200 patient treatment session under supervision that can be in coordination with face to face education modules

More details will be provided as the IDFPR works to enact rules to help administrate the new educational requirements.  IPTA President Mike Riley noted that, “While these requirements are extensive, they are significantly less than the 500 practicum hours originally proposed by other stakeholders, including acupuncturists and physicians.”  Looking to the future, there is a carve out for those whose entry level DPT degree includes dry needling training, meaning that no further education is required.  While programs in Illinois may not have fully implemented a dry needling curriculum yet, schools elsewhere in the U.S. have, either as part of the core curriculum or as an elective. 

Questions? Interested in Learning More?

For those interested in learning more about the dry needling legislation, IPTA’s Executive Director, Colleen Flannery will host a conference call Thursday, June 15th ay 8:00 AM.

To participate: Dial (712) 432 – 1212, and enter Meeting ID 393-838-382#



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