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Dry Needling | Important Update

Friday, May 2, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Colleen Flannery
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Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at a meeting with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)  in Springfield, we were told that the department issued a new informal opinion on dry needling saying that it is the department's informal opinion that dry needling does not fall within the scope of physical therapy practice under Illinois law.  We realize that this leaves many physical therapists and patients in extremely bad situations.

At the meeting with IDPFR we very strongly stated that the opinion contained several misstatements based on their inadequate understanding of physical therapy:

  • physical therapists have been providing dry needling in Illinois for nearly 4 years without any complaints against licensees;
  • physical therapists have invested extensive time and financial resources in getting the appropriate training;
  • APTA does have professional standards, positions and guidelines that state the dry needling is within the scope of PT practice;
  • the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy has published resource documents that could have been used to inform this opinion;
  • and, other states have had Attorney General opinions supporting dry needling as within the Scope of PT practice.

    The IDFPR representatives at the meeting were not able to dispute any of these arguments. 

The statement was made that the opinion had already been issued and that it was based solely on comparing the IL PT Act and the IL Acupuncture Act and that entry level PT education did not include the same training that Acupuncturists include in their training.  There was no willingness on the part of IDFPR to try and avert the disaster that has been unleashed by this precipitous action. 

As you know, there was a meeting in December where this issue was discussed and the acupuncture representatives present at the meeting stated very plainly that they were going to do everything that they could to keep PTs from being able to do dry needling and that they had the support of the IL State Medical Society and the IL Chiropractic Society.

We were told at that meeting that the IDFPR would make a determination of whether the original informal opinion would be upheld or if the department would issue a new opinion and we have had frequent contact with the IDFPR representatives who were present at the meeting to inquire about where this opinion stood and if they required further information or resources.

It is important to note that the informal opinion was issued by IDFPR associate general counsel, who was not at the meeting in December.

We are consulting with the our attorneys and lobbyists about actions that we can take to correct this situation and we will be sharing any information that we can as it becomes available.  However, each PT in Illinois who is currently providing dry needling needs to asses their legal position and take appropriate action. The APTA website has information that you should access in order to be informed in your decision making -

It was our goal to be able to provide you with more complete information on how to respond to this situation before sending out an email to members but, because of what has been posted on the ILAAOM website, we did not think waiting longer was appropriate.

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