Changes in acupuncture regulation in any state matter to each of us individually, and to the profession as a whole.
Here are 9 reasons why —
- We don’t know what the future holds. Unexpected moves happen.
- You may need to hire practitioners or sell your practice. Can interested parties easily move to your state?
- Your patients might move and want a practitioner just like you. Will one be available?
- Growth in the profession is not keeping up with demand. Regulatory uncertainty diminishes the appeal of the profession.
- High educational and credentialing costs interfere with business growth. If the requirements vary from state to state, the impact is multiplied. (See this report on Occupational Licensing.)
- Regulatory differences lead to divisions within the profession. With fewer than 25k acupuncturists in the US unity is critical.
- What happens in one state impacts every state. States look at what has happened elsewhere when considering regulatory changes.
- Changes in one state can lead to changes for everyone. When CA increased required educational hours every school and ACAOM soon changed as well.
- Different regulations, training requirements, and titles make it difficult to educate the public about our qualifications, draw contrasts with other professionals, or advocate for our profession as a whole.
Staying informed is not easy. Neither is getting involved. We are all busy, we don’t always know how to assess the pros and cons of a possible change, and things can get heated and unpleasant when there are differences of opinion.
And, the future of our profession and our businesses is greatly impacted by regulatory changes – even those happening across the country.
Please, stay involved.
Forgive two posts in quick succession, but regulatory changes are on the way. You’ll hear from me again soon.
(Note — I advocate for standardizing and simplifying the regulatory process for acupuncture licensure. I am not advocating for standardizing the medicine itself. Our diversity is powerful indeed.)
© 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.
I agree with Valerie. In Nevada where we supposedly have a “higher standard” of licensure we are left with 57 practitioners in our entire state. If the code hadn’t been relaxed and more progressive Board members appointed 2001-2012, we’d have 10 acupuncturists in the entire state. I’m not joking. TEN. Unfortunately the Board is moving into a more restrictive stance and I’m afraid again it will become ridiculously difficult for new practitioners to get licensed, ESPECIALLY experience practitioners who when to school when not as many didactic hours were required.
This Board is mostly interested in protecting their own practices and snuffing out competition.
It’s really maddening to see things like this. And even more maddening that our colleagues spend so much energy angry about what other professions are doing but don’t seem to pay much attention to the direct threat from within. Which is something they actually have a better chance of changing if they would just pay attention. But I know I am sounding like a broken record!
To me, the worst part the regulatory landscape is when boards “decide” that they know better and can push for a higher standard than a national standard. If standards are not high enough, the last place this should be changed is in state by state. It creates such an unfair and uneven landscape, and only serves to create protectionism for current practitioners, and limit the ability of some of our master practitioners to move from state to state. If they stay in the profession long enough, is very rare to see those who come into the profession under one set of standards who do everything right, have their status maintained and protected. And when boards change the entry criteria while it affects students already in the pipeline, I just don’t know why we do this to ourselves.
It also makes the field less appealing to potential LAcs who look around and see there is no straightforward educational path that would give them access to working anywhere. Increasingly students are being told they really should study herbs, even if that isn’t an interest, and that adds years and expense to the training. Refer back to the post I wrote on NCCAOM’s annual report and you see that we aren’t a growing profession. The interest in the medicine is growing, but unless we do something about the piecemeal licensure, I think we’re opening a great big door that other professions will walk right through.