It’s not paranoia if they are really out to get you.
Our siege mentality is understandable. Doc Hay was charged with practicing medicine without a license in the early 1900’s, as was Miriam Lee in 1974. In some places we’re still seeking legal recognition of our right to practice. It’s not unusual to read that acupuncture is quackery.
So it’s not terribly surprising when multiple participants in an official government meeting announce that your practice is a danger to the public and that the NCCAOM Acupuncture credential is insufficient. It’s not the first time we’ve heard that it would be better for the public if we were excluded.
But it’s different when the people saying these things are Acupuncturists.
It’s shocking. And upsetting. And bad for the profession.
We complain about PT’s, Medical Acupuncturists, insurance companies and even the perceived disrespect of some of our clients. But those groups aren’t building coalitions to restrict our ability to practice, or to put hurdles in the path of new practitioners. I can imagine the outrage and the calls to action if they did.
Instead, it’s Acupuncturists who are on the record (warning audio autoplay) slandering colleagues and attempting to slow growth of the profession.
Our safety record and our well-established and generally respected educational and credentialing systems don’t seem to matter. Nor are these Acupuncturists concerned about our small numbers or student debt.
Why is this happening? One school that is concerned about student debt, accessibility, and the growth of the profession, asked ACAOM and NCCAOM to reconsider the hourly requirements for acupuncture education and sitting the credentialing exams. There was no move to lower standards (read more here) or change competencies, only to use the same hourly requirements that served our teachers and most experienced practitioners so well.
ACAOM hasn’t responded to the proposal, and NCCAOM did not respond favorably (NCCAOM Response Ltr to POCA Board 11-9-17 Final with signatures.doc). But members of Utah’s Acupuncture Advisory Board and the Utah Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine were so upset by POCA Tech’s request that they launched a preemptive strike, moving to require the NCCAOM herb credential of all practitioners, whether or not they want to use herbs.
Listen, and ask yourself – how does this help our future?
By the way –
The participants’ claim that this is a clarification of existing law is “alternative fact.” The evidence shows that the Utah action is in direct response to the POCA Tech proposal, and the representative of the Department of Professional Licensing makes clear that existing law would not support this action.
In a prior meeting a board member insisted that there is no need to require specific education or curriculum for practitioners who use injection therapy, since acupuncturists know their limits. The same board member argues here that all practitioners need to obtain the herb credential. (The board member performs injection therapy.)
The exemption of those already licensed works to undermine opposition to changes like this. Don’t be fooled – increasing debt for the next generation of practitioners isn’t good for our future, even if it doesn’t impact your ability to practice.
The Advisory Board and the Utah Association, with the help of the NCCAOM, promoted the Board’s proposed changes. The letter (UtahNCCAOMletter) they distributed is inaccurate. For example, a growing number of states are not requiring the herbal exam of all practitioners, and acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have not always been inextricably linked.
A letter written by a professional association, signed by the Chair of the Advisory Board, and distributed and supported by the NCCAOM (which would benefit financially from the change) raises significant ethical and good governance concerns.
The NCCAOM’s message in the February meeting – that they defer to the will of the profession – is a questionable position for a credentialing agency. It also differs from their position in cases where the will of the profession was for changes not in NCCAOM’s interests, such as a state removing the requirement to maintain active Diplomate status.
There’s good news – the Utah Advisory Board can’t add a requirement for the herbal credential via regulation.
There’s bad news – the parties involved seem eager to pursue legislation to make this change.
There’s terrible news – the enemy is us. It isn’t the PT’s, MD’s, or insurance companies undermining Acupuncturists. It’s Acupuncturists.