Act Now – Help the Acupuncture Profession With Sensible Regulation

We have a little more than a week to influence regulations that will impact our profession. The regulatory and legislative process typically includes long periods of incremental movement suddenly replaced by small windows of major activity. One of those windows is open in the District of Columbia, but only until December 26th.

The proposed regulations are especially important because Washington DC is the seat of our Federal Government. If Acupuncturists hope to influence policy at that level we’ll need a strong community of practitioners, the more experienced the better, ready to serve in our governmental agencies.

The good news is that a small group of practitioners worked diligently to move the regulatory activity in a positive direction over the past three years. The bad news is that amidst the positive proposed changes are a few problematic sections. The additional bad news is that we are now late in the process. But maybe not too late. It would be good for the profession and for individual practitioners if we were able to correct those problematic sections. Let’s try.

You can see the text of the new regulations here. Comment by clicking on the blue “Make Comment” box at the bottom of the page (the tab at the top doesn’t seem to work). The comment form will only accept 500 characters, which meant a boatload of editing and three separate comments for me. Feel free to borrow my Three Issues DC2 language for your comments.

In addition, I’ve sent this Dear NCCAOM letter to Mina Larson, ( and Kory Ward-Cook ( asking for their assistance. Again, the more letters the better. Feel free to use my letter as a template.

Remember, a regulatory change anywhere sets a precedent for changes everywhere. If we want people to get their acupuncture from LAcs, we need to remove obstacles to licensure. Please submit comments and share this post with other’s who would like to weigh in. It doesn’t cost anything except a little bit of time. Imagine what we could do if we took the energy and funds used to battle other professions and focused more on improving our own situation.

I limited my comments to the issues I consider most problematic and easiest to correct.

As I discussed in this post, these regulations will impact us all. Some of our colleagues thought it best to keep these proposed changes from the greater community, and that’s a shame. We need to be in the loop. The more we know, the more we can do to bring about positive change.



Copyright —

© Elaine Wolf Komarow and The Acupuncture Observer, 2013-2033. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from Elaine Wolf Komarow is prohibited. Excerpts and links are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

4 thoughts on “Act Now – Help the Acupuncture Profession With Sensible Regulation

  1. Some clarifications as per emails from the President of ASDC (the more I understand these regulations the less I like them) —

    1) Note — the NCCAOM has established a mechanism to allow pre-2004 test-takers to take the biomedicine module. NCCAOM has stated that NCCAOM Diplomates can now take this module at their own expense.
    2) It was not clear in the blog post that currently licensed DC Acupuncturists are exempt from this requirement.
    3) It was not clear in the blog that applicants have to have current NCCAOM Diplomate status. Having successfully taken and passed the NCCAOM exams without current status will be insufficient for licensure in DC.
    4) That DC is satisfied with the NCCAOM being the specified accrediting agency and does not want to include language such as “ or exams/credentials substantially equivalent approved by the board” which could provide a route to those who have gone through the California process, and/or some other accrediting agency that might develop in the future.

  2. Three Issues:

    Section 4702 .2(b) (3) allows individuals who have obtained the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree in other countries to meet the educational requirements through an NCCAOM approved apprenticeship. Holders of degrees from US colleges are not given this option. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth amendment requires that this reasonable and safe path to licensure be available to all applicants. Graduates of US colleges and universities should not be placed at a disadvantage.

    Section 4703.2 requires applicants who passed the NCCAOM exam prior to 6/1/04 to submit proof of passage of the biomedicine module. These applicants have already been tested on this knowledge. The requirement is unnecessary and impossible to fulfill since previously credentialed practitioners are unable to sit modules of the current exams. 4703.2 is a business-limiting requirement that does not improve public safety and it should not be included in the final regulations.

    The routes to practice Herbology in Section 4707.2 should be available to all applicants. There is no public benefit to limiting those paths to current licensees and those who complete the requirements within 18 months of the effective date of the regulations. Allowing current licensees more flexibility in meeting the requirements than new licensees is a violation of the Equal Protection clause.

    • Hi, Warren. Did you post these in comments to help people see them? Just wanted to make sure you commented at the DC site as well (assuming you agree with the comments!)

  3. Unfortunately, the short turn-around time led me to mis-read the section on Herbology training. I have updated the Three Issues comments to reflect the actual wording (which is actually a bit more restrictive than I thought). Please verify that you are going to Three Issues DC2 for language. If you are a subscriber you might need to visit the site on your browser rather than from the email post! Apologies!

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