Acupuncture in Louisiana

If a resolution is passed and no one is listening, does it still impact the profession?  Sadly, in this case, yes.

I wasn’t planning to write today, but then I came across Louisiana SCR 22 which has been moving through the legislature. It may have passed already (I’m trying to find out), though according to the information here it is still in a House Committee. (5/21, verified, this is not YET a done deal, there are still two opportunities for the resolution to be amended!) You may know that in Louisiana only MDs and DOs can be Acupuncturists.  An individual who has gone to acupuncture school or passed the NCCAOM exam can apply to be an “Acupuncture Assistant” and work under the supervision of an MD. This resolution would establish The Practice and Regulation of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Review Committee, and could have been a terrific opportunity to make the practice environment in LA more amenable to LAcs.  It gets off to a great start –.

WHEREAS, the practice of acupuncture and oriental medicine provides important health benefits to the residents of this state; and

WHEREAS, the practice of acupuncture and oriental medicine has become a well established, widely-used, viable modality across the United States; and

WHEREAS, when practiced as a whole medicine, by a fully trained practitioner, the practice of acupuncture and oriental medicine satisfies a missing niche that includes a prophylactic approach that allows the patient or a referring medical director a proactive avenue towards health when neither symptoms nor severity of disease warrants other forms of treatment; and

WHEREAS, oriental medicine often becomes a valuable way to identify those in need of a referral to a western medical provider.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby direct the Department of Health and Hospitals to create the Practice and Regulation of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Review Committee

But, look at the language for the committee membership  —

(1) The secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals or his designee.
(2) The Senate president or his designee.
(3) The speaker of the House of Representatives or his designee.
(4) The executive director of the National Certification Commission for
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or his designee.
(5) The executive director of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or his designee.
(6) The executive director of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners or his designee.
(7) The executive director of the Louisiana State Medical Society or his designee.
(8)A chiropractor designated by the Chiropractic Association of Louisiana who is certified as a diplomat of the American Board of Chiropractic Acupuncturists or has completed equivalent training in acupuncture.
(9) A physical therapist designated by the Louisiana Physical Therapy Association.


So, eight members, including a DC and a PT, but no fully-trained acupuncturist. The AAAOM doesn’t even have an Executive Director at this point, and probably doesn’t have the funds to hire one, and in any case represents only a tiny portion of the profession.  The NCCAOM should be on our side, but their input in Delaware, for example, wasn’t positive for the majority of LAcs.  Once upon a time we might have looked to the PTs as allies, but our speech and actions regarding dry needling destroyed that.

I did send this Letter to Senator Mills today (which you can borrow from), but if the resolution is engrossed it is too late. The best we can do then is advocate for acupuncture friendly designees, make sure to stay in touch with the eventual appointees, and hope we can show them that the public would be served by allowing those trained as acupuncturists to be acupuncturists.  I’m sorry that this one got by me (I’ve got a practice to maintain), and sad that we don’t have a national organization to track and act on such things. AAAOM, where were you? I have high hopes for the CSA, but, without a state organization, Louisiana probably wasn’t on their radar. This was a missed opportunity.


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© 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 “Acupuncture in Louisiana

  1. This resolution is said to be dormant. I went to the capitol last week as it was on the agenda for the House of Rep. Health & Welfare committee. When the meeting started the speaker said SCR 22 has been “deferred”
    We are in the process of starting a state association.

    • Thanks so much for the news. I suspected something like that might be happening when there was no action last week or scheduled action for this week. Glad to have it confirmed, and very glad to hear you are in the process of starting an association. From reading the initial resolution I get the sense that Senator Mills might be an excellent ally. The language about the DC and PT reps to the committee were amendments. I think a review committee such as the one proposed could be a great thing — as long as the acupuncture profession had good representation.

      Thanks again for the news and let me know if there is anything I can do to help you guys in Louisiana!

  2. Hey guys, it isn’t too late — see this from a legislative analyst at the Louisiana Legislature —

    “The House of Representatives will need to take action on SCR 22 in order for it to be fully adopted by the legislature. The necessity of going through both chambers distinguishes a concurrent resolution, such as this one, from a simple resolution – a Senate Resolution (SR) or House Resolution (HR) – which is considered exclusively in its chamber of origin. Thus, if Senator Mills chooses to advance his SCR 22, there would be a maximum of two opportunities for the resolution to be amended (House committee, House floor).

    As an example, if SCR 22 makes it all the way through the process, its history page will look something like that of SCR 13 (only with notations concerning amendments, which SCR 13 lacks):

    Our legislature uses the term “engrossed” to mean that amendments have been incorporated into the body of the instrument.”

  3. Well, ain’t that a fine kettle of rotten fish. Yes, let’s hope for some representation of L.Ac.’s on that committee. No doubt more information on this situation is forthcoming. Ohio’s numbers of L.Ac’s is growing, but slowly, since the word is out that Ohio insurance only covers M.D.’s, D.O.’s, and chiros who have little or no training in acupuncture. Not sure about PT’s, but they will not have a big problem with inclusion. Our state association is small and dispersed over the vast distances that separate Ohio’s major towns and cities. It’s hard for me to attend meetings. Columbus is the closest city for me and it’s a 1.5 hour drive through bad traffic. Thanks, Elaine, for keeping us apprised of what’s going on in the rest of the U.S.

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