WEAMA representatives testified Friday, January 12, at the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission meeting. The Commission (NCQAC) had adopted an advisory opinion that ARNPs have “medical acupuncture” within their scope of practice and should take a 300-hour class. The Commission also recommended a 1500 hour EAMP course for ARNPs who wish to practice East Asian Medicine. It denied a request from the East Asian Medicine Advisory Committee to conduct rulemaking before adopting the opinion.
Four speakers addressed the Commission, and about a dozen EAMPs attended. Dr. Ying Wang testified first, about the extensive training EAMPs receive and how its depth and breadth constitute the foundation for diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Yang testified next, emphasizing how acupuncture is part of a system of medicine, how it is more than simply “inserting needles,” and how acupuncturists in China receive many years of training before practicing. Kathleen Beaufait, a speech pathologist visiting from California who added acupuncture to her practice, testified how she realized after her first 300 hours of training that she had nowhere near the knowledge needed to practice acupuncture. Curt Eschels testified about the process the Commission followed, which failed to define “medical acupuncture” and therefore would not allow proper regulation of ARNPs who needle. WEAMA also submitted over thirty letters signed by members of the Chinese medical community.
In addition the NCCAOM submitted a letter expressing serious concerns about allowing ARNPS to practice any form of acupuncture without the proper training and assessment. NCCAOM also observed that no state or national regulator has developed or adopted competency standards of “medical acupuncture.”
All the testifiers and letter writers requested that the NCQAC rescind its adoption of the opinion and begin rule-making. At the meeting the Commission took no action on the requests.
Stay tuned for further developments.