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Acupuncturists Seek to Expand Scope of Practice

Tuesday, March 14, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: IPTA
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Last week in a meeting to discuss HB 2630/SB 1350 and SB898/HB3860, it was determined that the acupuncturists still needed to address significant issues raised by stakeholders.  The draft amendment that was created since filing the original bill was not enough. 


Included in those issues was the need for Section 20 to be amended to address the overlap in scopes of practice among licensed health care professions.  While the Acts for Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Naprapaths, Optometrists, Respiratory Care, Speech-Language, Surgical Assistants and Surgical Technologists contain uniform language that states, “This Act does not prohibit any person licensed under any other Act in this State from engaging in the practice for which or she is licensed,” the Acupuncture Act limits that disclaimer to only dentists and physicians.  With acupuncturists seeking to expand their scope to include exercise and manual therapy, this is of significant concern for the physical therapy profession, as the acupuncturists have a history of staking claim to certain modalities and techniques -- dry needling as an example – and trying to prevent professions other than physicians and dentists from using them.


Other questions raised relate to whether some techniques and modalities are actually part of acupuncture, or part of the larger scope of Oriental Medicine.


The NCCAOM is the only national organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine through professional certification, and is the exam that is required in Illinois, as cited in the Rules for the Administration of the Acupuncture Act (Section 1140.30(a)2).  According to the NCCAOM, acupuncture and Oriental Medicine each have different definitions and scopes of practice.


Oriental medicine, according to the NCAAOM, includes the practice of acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian bodywork therapy (ABT).  It is considered a “comprehensive health care system encompassing a variety of traditional healthcare therapies that have been used for more than 3,000 years to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being.”


Acupuncture, according to the NCAAOM, is just one component of Oriental medicine and the definition is very specific and limiting in nature:


“Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body, by insertion of very fine, sterile, stainless steel needles to elicit a predictable physiological response.  The stimulus may also be administered to the points using mild electrical stimulation (with or without needles), pressure techniques with the hands (acupressure) or the application of heat by various methods.”


While the IDFPR echoed our concerns relating to education, expansion of scope of practice and how acupuncture relates to other professions, the chiropractors raised concerns over whether any/all acupuncturists are qualified to establish a differential diagnosis or prescribe dietary supplements.


While the focus of everyone’s efforts have been on HB2630/SB 1350, the regulatory sunset bill for acupuncture (SB 898), drafted by the IDFPR, is moving forward.  It is anticipated that if agreement is reached on HB 2630, both bills will be merged.


As of today, the acupuncturists are working to address these concerns and are expected to report back on their progress.  You can check all of the bills’ status here:


HB 2630:


SB 1350:


HB 898:


HB 3860:

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