FAQ

WHO IS THE NEW YORK STATE ACUPUNCTURE COALITION (NYSAC)?

The coalition is comprised of practitioners, students, alumni associations, professional associations, schools, and patient supporters. This coalition is unique in that, for the first time, it will be proactively seeking to amend legislation in favor the long-term interest and protection of the practice.

As of today, a number of New York schools, including Pacific College of Oriental Medicine,  New York Chiropractic College, New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tri-State College of Acupuncture and members of the faculty of the Swedish Institute Acupuncture Program, have stated their support of the coalition’s efforts. Additionally, The Acupuncture Society of New York, High Falls Garden, TCM World Foundation, American Traditional Chinese Medicine Society, and United Alliance of New York State Licensed Acupuncturists are in full support of the coalition’s efforts.

  1. DOES THE CURRENT LEGISLATION “GRANDFATHER” ACUPUNCTURISTS WHEN NEW STANDARDS ARE ESTABLISHED?

Yes. It is a common practice when affecting a new level of requirement within professional guidelines to consider the historical standard of practice in effect and attempt to honor, within reason, those providers in long term practice. This is contingent on public safety not being in jeopardy. It is of clear public record that Licensed Acupuncturists have minimal negative reports of harm in the practice of herbal medicine. “Grandfathering” does not relieve a practitioner from the ethical responsibility of demonstrating that they are practicing only that for which they have been trained if so challenged.

  1. WHAT IS THE PROGRESS ON THE CURRENT LEGISLATIVE ACTION?

NYSAC continues to be successful with our legislative goals.  In 2010 the Senate passed our bill.  We are still facing challenges in getting the bill out of committee in the Assembly. However, we are very pleased that Assembly Member Richard Gottfried has taken on sponsorship of this bill. We hope that his endorsement and seniority in the Assembly will help with the progress of this bill.  We are very grateful to Assembly Member Grace Meng, our earlier sponsor, for making this possible.

We have bills in both houses this session A8816 in the Assembly and S3511 in the Senate. Please click on these links to read either bill: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A8816-2011 or http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S3511-2011

Obtaining a bill number was the first step in achieving our current legislative goal of protecting public safety, improving access to acupuncture , and bringing the profession of acupuncture into a status equivalent to other licensed professionals in New York.

  1. IF I DON’T PRACTICE HERBS, HOW WILL I BE AFFECTED?

You will not be affected. Under the language of this bill, the study of herbalism will remain an optional course of study.  The demonstration of basic competency in East Asian herbal traditions will be required only for those choosing to recommend custom-made herbal formulations to their patients.

  1. WILL I HAVE TO BE NCCAOM CERTIFIED IN HERBOLOGY TO PRACTICE IN NEW YORK

No.  When the bill passes, the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions will choose and examination to be taken by licensed acupuncturists who want to recommend custom-made herbal formulations to their patients.  There is no requirement that the licensed acupuncturist be NCCAOM certified or meet the educational standards for certification.

6.WILL THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION AFFECT HERBAL PRACTITIONERS (CHINESE, JAPANESE, KOREAN, WESTERN) WHO DO NOT HOLD AN ACUPUNCTURE LICENSE?

NO, this legislation specifically addresses licensed acupuncturists only. There is no mention of, nor intent to impact or disrupt, herbalists that practice without an acupuncture license. Those individuals are free to continue their work based on the fact that in New York, herbology is an unregulated profession.

  1. WHY IS CONTINUING EDUCATION INCLUDED AS PART OF THE LEGISLATION?

If the profession does not take action to self regulate with CEU’s, there are indications that the state will come forward in the future to mandate them. Continuing education is a necessary component of professional standards, particularly in medicine where standards are always advancing (Western medicine has long required continuing education). Accordingly, any profession seeking to raise and/or maintain high standards of practice must commit itself to continuing education. Continuing education requirements will not only legitimize the proposed bill, it will also enhance the educational credibility, parity and status (thus employment opportunities) of New York practitioners in the eyes of hospital credentialing committees, other medical providers, and the public. (Note: Continuing education is already required for practitioners maintaining NCCAOM certification). The bill uses the standard applied to continuing education requirements for other health professionals in New York, requiring 12 credits each year (36 credits each three year registration period).

  1. WILL THE LEGISLATION INCREASE THE NUMBER OF LICENSED ACUPUNCTURE REPRESENTATIVES ON THE STATE BOARD?

Yes. The goal to increase the acupuncture representation on the board would bring the acupuncture board in line regarding representation consistent with other professional boards.

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