ASNY Scope of Practice Consensus

February 27, 2007 · Print This Article

ASNY Scope of Practice Consensus

To Our Fellow New York State Practitioners of Chinese Medicine:

First, we want to thank those of you who returned our recent poll. We studied every response, and gave particular consideration to the comments many of you added to the space provided for additional feedback. The raw data minus comments and names are available at The results from over a hundred responders make it clear that our profession has diverse opinions concerning the herbal scope of practice issue. However, from some of your comments, it is clear that there is a misunderstanding of the ASNY board’s position on this issue. We apologize for that and seek to change that now.
ASNY and the Coalition are in full agreement on the legislative objectives regarding the addition of herbs to our scope of practice as stated on the New York State Acupuncture Coalition (NYSAC) website ( As you may well know, currently the use of herbs is legally unregulated and unrecognized by the State of New York. Anyone at all can recommend herbs. What we all desire is to acquire legal protection for the use of herbs for our profession.
The ASNY board is keenly aware of the professional reality involving the differences between the practice of acupuncture and the practice of herbology. We are aware of the differences in training and the fact that acupuncturists have limited academic exposure to herbs within the formal educational environment. In no way is ASNY suggesting or encouraging untrained acupuncturists to use or recommend herbs to their patients. Yet we also recognize that some—perhaps many—have additional training in herbs, some through outside classes and distance learning coursework, some through apprenticing, and some through self-study. We are not suggesting acupuncturists use herbs outside their knowledge base, just that they should be in our legal scope of practice. For this reason we are in support of including “ready made” herbal formulations in the legal scope of practice for the acupuncturist. Any custom made herbal formulas or modifications to standard formulas demand a high level of training. ASNY supports the requirement of additional training and the completion of the NCCAOM Diplomate in Oriental Medicine.
ASNY has an important asset in the fight ahead, our talented lobbyist, Tim Sheridan. Mr. Sheridan was instrumental in getting ASNY’s initial licensure bill through the State Assembly in 1991. He is an expert in maneuvering through the political intricacies in Albany and has been on retainer with ASNY for over fifteen years. In his opinion we face two major challenges: we are two critical votes shy of being able to get ANY legislation out of the Education Committee and onto the floor of the legislature for a vote. Another hurdle will be the AMA (American Medical Association), which has a multi-million dollar war chest designed to defeat any increase in scope of practice of any CAM profession, anywhere in the U.S. We’ve been told that the AMA has earmarked at least $25,000 to New York State for such a battle.
As a tactic for success, we need to ask for more than we want. As our lobbyist states, “If you want five you must ask for ten. Every health profession will have their hands on the bill and each will want to cut out that which is important to them. The AMA, the chiropractors, the naturopaths, the dentists and the podiatrist and physical therapists will all comment and try to alter the bill. The more you include the more you have to bargain with.”
And, most importantly, to win against such strong adversaries requires your help, too. As such, we ask that each of you remain current in your membership, and if it has lapsed, renew immediately through Only through strength and unity can we succeed.
We welcome your continuing feedback on this important and complex issue. As your board, our role is to act as leaders and representatives of the profession. However we also try to represent the views of our constituent members. To effectively act as your voice, we must continue to communicate. Please feel free to reply with any comments.

We thank you for your continued support as we strive to do what is best for our profession.

The ASNY Board


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