Imagine that your acupuncture license meant you could easily practice in every state.
Imagine that licensure exams focused on the skills and knowledge needed to practice safely.
Imagine that acupuncture schools used the time spent teaching things “you won’t need in practice but they’ll be on the exam” to teach things that you really will need in practice, including all that business stuff.
Imagine that acupuncture boards, associations, and organizations worked to make it easier and less expensive for practitioners to obtain and maintain licenses and practice within their skill set.
I wish I could say “it’s easy if you try” – but for most of us it isn’t. (Unless you look to other professions.)
The Florida Acupuncture Board now requires all new practitioners to spend thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars on additional education and testing to become Board-certified in herbs. Even though there was no evidence of public harm under the previous rules, and even for those who won’t use herbs in practice.
The Nevada Board is trying to change the regulations to require a DOM or DAOM of all applicants (about 40K on top of an 80K MAOM). Not because there is evidence of public harm, but because that’s the way it is in China. And never mind that the entire state is served by fewer than 50 acupuncturists.
In July 2015 the White House released Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers. While acknowledging that licensing can provide health and safety protections to consumers and benefits to workers, it concludes,
“State legislators and policymakers should adopt institutional reforms that promote a more careful and individualized approach to occupational regulation that takes into account its costs and benefits, and harmonizes requirements across States. If they are successful, the collective effect of their efforts could be substantial: making it easier for qualified workers to find jobs and move where they choose, increasing access to essential goods and services, and lessening heavy burdens on certain populations….”
Acupuncturists are the policymakers in our profession. Wouldn’t it be great to determine what’s truly needed for public safety and to adjust educational and licensing requirements accordingly? Rather than blaming others for our difficulties, wouldn’t it be more productive to direct our energy to changing the things we can control? We can demand that the insurance companies pay us more because our education cost so much, or we can make our education less costly. We can sue the PT Boards to try and protect our turf, or we can make sure that anyone who wants acupuncture is able to access convenient and affordable services from an acupuncturist.
I’ll be sharing actions you can take to change our practice environment for the better. Like the Acupuncture Regulation US page on Facebook and stay tuned in here, at The Acupuncture Observer, for updates.