Webinar: Basics of Pharmacology: Know Your Patient’s Medications

Webinar: Basics of Pharmacology: Know Your Patient’s Medications

BIG THANKS to our webinar sponsor, TCM Review!

This webinar is scheduled for September 9, 2021 – 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT (2 hrs)

Click HERE for full details and registration

This class is an introduction to pharmacology for acupuncturists. We will examine basic pharmacological principles that are important for any acupuncturist to know, since many of our patients we treat are simultaneously taking medications.

Join us and…

  • Articulate the basic principles of pharmacology
  • Identify the pharmacologic effects and mechanisms of actions for various classes of medication.
  • Recognize each drug class’s nomenclature and basic use.

About the speaker: Dr. Shin received his degree in Pharmacy from MCPHS. Researched drug discovery for ALS at Drexel College of Medicine. Received MSTCM and DACM from ACTCM. Interned with UCSF Osher Center. Residency at Highland Hospital. Currently pioneering the first acupuncture program for the SFVA.

Rep. Chu Introduces Acupuncture for Seniors Act of 2021

Rep. Chu Introduces Acupuncture for Seniors Act of 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2021 – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced a bill to increase access to acupuncture in our healthcare system, the Acupuncture for Seniors Act. The Acupuncture for Seniors Act ensures that licensed acupuncturists can participate as providers in Medicare so that seniors have another effective treatment option available to them.

“Everyone deserves the ability to take control of their own healthcare, and that should include access to traditional Asian medicine, which has been proven successful at treating a range of health problems for thousands of years,” said Rep. Chu. “And as Americans deal with a chronic pain and opioid epidemic, support for acupuncture as a safe alternative has been increasing over the years. The Affordable Care Act helped to increase access by allowing states to cover acupuncture in plans on state health exchanges, but we must do more. It is my goal to make this treatment available to all Americans, which is why I introduced this bill to help seniors in our Medicare program access acupuncture. Medicare has already acknowledged the value of acupuncture by issuing a National Coverage Determination for chronic lower back pain, but licensed acupuncturists are still prohibited from being Medicare providers. For that, you need an act of Congress, which is exactly what my bill does. This bill will help connect more Americans to the care they need, and ensures we are giving our seniors access to all available treatment options for conditions like chronic pain.”

“This bill solves critical access problems for America’s seniors and Medicare recipients as they seek safe, non-pharmacologic options for pain and improved health,” said American Society of Acupuncturists Chair Olivia Hsu Friedman. “We thank Representative Judy Chu and all those who helped craft this visionary, yet common-sense legislation. It will improve healthcare in the United States, decrease health care costs, and is a meaningful step towards solving America’s opioid crisis.”

“Congresswoman Chu’s bill will play a pivotal role in increasing access to citizens suffering from a host of syndromes that can benefit from acupuncture as a cost-effective, non-addictive treatment option while also increasing the coverage of the largest, most well-trained practitioners of acupuncture in the US,” said Dr. Kallie Guimond, OM.D, MPH, Founder of AcuCongress.

“CSOMA, California’s oldest state acupuncture professional association, is excited to support Congresswoman Chu’s efforts with the Acupuncture for Seniors Act,” said Dr. Nell Smircina, CSOMA President. “Because CSOMA is uniquely focused on advancing acupuncture medicine into the national healthcare delivery system, this bill is in alignment with the vision, hopes and goals of our diverse membership of acupuncture practitioners, students, schools and allied corporations.”

“The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is pleased to support the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act, which would enable qualified acupuncturist to provide covered services to Medicare beneficiaries,” said Mina Larson, NCCAOM CEO. “The NCCAOM applauds U.S. Representative Judy Chu for her leadership on this effort and looks forward to seeing the profession continue to advance, expand, and thrive as measures such as the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act help increase access to qualified acupuncturists.”

“Acupuncture has been approved very effectively to treat many medical conditions,” said Dr. Haihe Tian, president of American TCM Association(ATCMA) and TCM American Alumni Association (TCMAAA). “We thank a lot to Rep. Judy Chu’s care for the senior citizens. She has been trying so hard to have this benefit to be available for them. I do believe they will be very excited to see it comes to true. We, as acupuncture professional organization, strongly support this bill and wish it can be passed as soon as possible , so the people can enjoy the benefits earlier. We also appreciate it what Rep. Chu and her team’s hard work and effort.”


View original press release here

Rep. Chu Introduces Acupuncture for Seniors Act of 2021

CSOMA Welcomes New Student Members from Southern California University of Health Sciences

SAN FRANCISCO, April 28, 2021 – CSOMA is pleased to welcome over fifty new student members from Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCUHS).

The new partnership bolsters CSOMA’s student membership numbers, which comprises the association’s second largest membership group, after licensed professional members. The alliance also strengthens ties between CSOMA and TCM schools like SCUHS through a shared vision of expanding employment opportunities for newly licensed practitioners.

“Southern California University of Health Sciences is a shining example of student advocacy in action,” remarked Dr. Nell Smircina, DAOM, LAc., CSOMA president. “By collectively joining the association at this time, SCUHS students are showing their support of CSOMA’s advocacy work and their commitment to being involved in a larger vision for this growing profession.” 

Earlier this year, CSOMA introduced AB 918, the first bill in California to ensure a nationally recognized standard for the delivery of acupuncture medicine throughout the state. A major tenet of the bill included the option for a prospective acupuncturist to take the national examination to qualify for national certification and California state licensure. AB 918 aims to secure enhanced portability of acupuncture credentials across the nation for greater employment opportunities.

Jenny Yu, Dean of SCUHS Eastern Medicine Department commented, “We are delighted to provide this student membership opportunity with CSOMA for our Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) program students.”

SCUHS offers a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) program in which students are awarded both the DACM and the Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (MACM) degree that is required to sit for State and National licensing and certification exams. DACM students learn from, with, and about other professions such as chiropractors and physician assistants to prepare for future careers in collaborative and team-based settings.

“Excellence in healthcare begins with excellence in education,” Yu continued. “The collaboration between SCUHS and CSOMA allows our DACM students an early glance into the professional field. Today’s student members will become tomorrow’s professional members, and we look forward to our continued collaboration to better prepare our students in serving their future profession and professional organization.”

About Southern California University of Health Sciences

Founded in 1911, Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCUHS) has been a leader in educating students to be competent, caring, and successful integrative healthcare practitioners and professionals in today’s healthcare delivery system. For more information about SCUHS, visit https://www.scuhs.edu.


CSOMA is a professional association of licensed acupuncturists and supporters of acupuncture, dedicated to the preservation, advancement and integration of the art, science, and practice of all branches of acupuncture medicine into the modern healthcare model, in a caring and ethical manner, thereby enhancing the health and well-being of the general public. 

For more information about CSOMA, please contact Ra Adcock, Executive Director, at ra@csomaonline.org.


Webinar: Introduction to Auricular Acupuncture

Webinar: Introduction to Auricular Acupuncture

This webinar is scheduled for August 12, 2021 – 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT (2 hrs)

CLICK HERE for full details and registration

This is a one hour lecture to introduce Auricular Medicine. The lecture will discuss Auricular Medicine History, Development, Description of Auricular Medicine Diagnosis, description of Auricular Medicine Treatment, Treatment Application and Efficacy and Cases.

Get a refresher & learn something new about auricular acupuncture. We’ll cover:

  • What is Auricular Medicine?
  • How is Auricular Medicine different from Ear Acupuncture or other ear therapies?
  • What are the Benefits of Auricular Medicine Diagnosis?
  • What are the Benefits of Auricular Medicine Treatment?

About the speaker: Dr. TruthSayer, DAOM, Dip.OM, LAc, LMFT, is a President Emeritus of the California State Oriental Medical Association, and a former faculty member of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. She is Founder and Chief Faculty of the Institute of Auricular and Transcendental Medicine and has lectured around the world on auricular topics.

Making Your Acupuncture Website Accessible

Making Your Acupuncture Website Accessible

Most healthcare providers and other business owners know that they must make their physical environment accessible for all members of the public, including those with disabilities, as required under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, some may not be aware that accessibility also extends to the virtual environment; websites must also comply with accessibility requirements under the ADA.

Recently, MIEC has fielded a number of calls from concerned members regarding how they can comply with accessibility requirements for their websites. Many of these calls have come from the acupuncture community, although this issue exists for all types of healthcare providers who maintain a public website.

Furthermore, MIEC has seen a recent trend in claims against acupuncturists involving “surf-by” lawsuits, in which an individual who is not a patient files a lawsuit alleging that the provider’s website failed to meet accessibility requirements under Title III of the ADA.

“Surf-by” claims often start with a single individual who visits a large number of websites specifically for the purpose of evaluating compliance with accessibility requirements for those with disabilities- like having text-based alternatives to content like photographs or graphics, allowing full functionality using just a keyboard, etc.  Businesses whose websites lack these features are named in lawsuits which, in California, can also permit the recovery of statutory damages under state law under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.  Additionally, these claims can be very difficult to defend, and they often involve limitations in or a complete lack of coverage under malpractice insurance policies.

It is worth noting that a standalone website, if not associated with a physical place of business, may not be subject to ADA requirements. However, for physical businesses offering any website-based services (such as making an appointment online), courts have generally ruled that their websites must also meet public accommodation requirements under the ADA.

Unfortunately, there are few laws or specific regulatory standards that outline the requirements for website accessibility; the ADA was passed in 1990 and it did not address e-commerce, nor has it been updated to address website compliance.  Interpretation of the ADA has expanded gradually to address website accessibility, but there has been no official change in the law- a proposal by the U.S. Department of Justice to establish website compliance standards was withdrawn in 2017, and has not been reissued.

In the absence of government standards, healthcare providers and other business owners should follow the private guidelines established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  These standards have often been referenced by courts in determining ADA compliance and remediation, and they provide the best guidelines for those attempting to achieve compliance in website accessibility.

The current standard is WCAG 2.1, available here. There are 3 different levels of WCAG compliance; level AA has generally been the accepted standard for compliance.

In summary, the WCAG standards address the following areas:


  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.


  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures or physical reactions.
  • Help users navigate and find content.
  • Make it easier to use inputs other than keyboard.


  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.


  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

Some specific examples of WCAG compliance include:

Alternative Text for Images

  • Images should include equivalent alternative text (alt text) in the markup/code.
  • If alt text isn’t provided for images, the image information is inaccessible, for example, to people who cannot see and use a screen reader that reads aloud the information on a page, including the alt text for the visual image.
  • When equivalent alt text is provided, the information is available to people who are blind, as well as to people who turn off images (for example, in areas with expensive or low bandwidth). It’s also available to technologies that cannot see images, such as search engines.

Keyboard Input

  • Some people cannot use a mouse, including many older users with limited fine motor control. An accessible website does not rely on the mouse; it makes all functionality available from a keyboard. Then people with disabilities can use assistive technologies that mimic the keyboard, such as speech input.

Transcripts for Audio

  • Just as images aren’t available to people who can’t see, audio files aren’t available to people who can’t hear. Providing a text transcript makes the audio information accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as to search engines and other technologies that can’t hear.
  • It’s easy and relatively inexpensive for websites to provide transcripts. There are also transcription services that create text transcripts in HTML format.

Fortunately, healthcare providers have several options for determining whether their website meets the standards set by the WCAG. Auditing sites such as the one hosted by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility provide free compliance reports and links to resources.

Additionally, there are several options for achieving and maintaining compliance with current standards for website accessibility. Large practices with in-house IT support may choose to develop disability access features directly on their web platform; however, this would also necessitate constant monitoring, auditing and updating as standards change or new content is added.

For smaller practices and/or those with websites that are infrequently updated, there are several third-party vendors that offer software solutions. Please note that MIEC has not evaluated and cannot specifically recommend any vendor, but some of the available third-party solutions include:





WordPress Plugin

For healthcare providers selecting a third-party vendor, it would be advisable to choose a vendor that offers a defense and indemnification provision that requires the vendor to defend any claims that arise from website accessibility issues, and to pay any damages that result. If a vendor does not offer any legal protection, ask them to add it to their contract.

It is worth noting that, for some practices, it might be more cost-effective to redesign a WCAG-compliant website than to address individual changes to move an existing website into compliance.

For more information, please contact MIEC’s Patient Safety & Risk Management team at patientsafetyriskmgmt@miec.com or (800) 227-4527.

Webinar: Advocacy Training: Learn the Who, What, Why and How of Advocacy

Webinar: Advocacy Training: Learn the Who, What, Why and How of Advocacy

This webinar is scheduled for April 6, 2021 – 7pm PDT, 10pm EDT (1 hr)

Note this is a FREE, non-CEU event hosted by Lhasa OMS.

CLICK HERE for full details and registration


Join Lhasa OMS as they host Dr. Nell Smircina, Dr. Robyn (Ra) Adcock and David Quackenbush from the CSOMA Leadership team for their FREE webinar, Advocacy Training: Learn the Who, What, Why and How of Advocacy.

In this webinar, CSOMA leadership will share their insights on current legislation affecting acupuncture in California and Nationally through their own firsthand experiences with the California legislative process, as well as how you can get involved.

What Attendees Will Learn:

  • What the major issues facing our profession are and how does California fit into the big picture of a National advocacy agenda
  • Pieces of the legislative process and at what point can you truly affect change as an individual or organization
  • Specific and actionable things you can do to be a part of advocacy for our profession

Who Should Attend:

  • Practitioners and Students interested in advocacy work
  • Practitioners and Students with questions about current initiatives in CA and Nationally
Webinar: Calsavers: California Mandated Company Sponsored Retirement Plan

Webinar: Calsavers: California Mandated Company Sponsored Retirement Plan

This webinar is scheduled for May 13, 2021 – 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT (2 hrs)

CLICK HERE for full details and registration

In California, legislation was passed in 2016 to require all small businesses with 5 or more employees to offer a retirement plan by June 30th 2022. The mandate is rolled out over a 3 year period starting with employers of 100+ employees to offer a plan as of September 30th, 2020. The state provided plan is called “Calsavers”. While this state plan costs the employer nothing, the funds within the plan bear a cost and the administration of the state plan comes with significant administrative effort. This seminar will review the Calsavers deadlines and how employee count is calculated, a description of the plan, pro’s and con’s, then a comparison of the state plan to a traditional 401k plan with associated costs.

Join us and…

  • Learn about Calsavers Requirement
  • Understand need for company sponsored retirement plans in USA and pros/cons of California Mandated plan in comparison to a traditional 401k
  • Learn about using a 401k as a tax shelter, even as an officer-only LLC or S-corp

About the speaker: Dan Enriquez has a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Bucknell University. He has 7 Years combined experience in payroll and employer administrative experience. Recent Experience includes 3 years in Company-Sponsored Retirement Benefit Industry, 401(k)’s.

Webinar: Trademark 101 for Acupuncturists and Health Care Providers

Webinar: Trademark 101 for Acupuncturists and Health Care Providers

BIG THANKS to our webinar sponsor, Treasure of the East!

This webinar is scheduled for June 10, 2021 – 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT (2 hrs)

CLICK HERE for full details and registration

The trademark process is made up of three stages: clearance, prosecution, and enforcement. While a qualified and experienced trademark attorney is the best bet to deal with these three stages, there are things that every business owner can and should do to protect their trademark. This class will identify tips and tricks for each stage of the trademark process.

Join us and…

  • Get an overview of trademarks and their timelines
  • Understand trademark clearance
  • Learn about trademark prosecution
  • Learn about trademark enforcement
  • Learn about trademark maintenance

About the speaker: Ben is a partner at IPLA LLP, the country’s largest trademark specialty law firm. He focuses his practice on building, managing, and protecting domestic and foreign trademark portfolios and prides himself in providing practical and cost-effective advice.

Webinar: HIPAA Best Practices for Your Online Presence

Webinar: HIPAA Best Practices for Your Online Presence

This webinar is scheduled for July 8, 2021 – 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT (2 hrs)

CLICK HERE for full details and registration

As acupuncture gains mainstream traction, practitioners are subject to increasing scrutiny regarding HIPAA. Achieving compliance in the online space is no easy feat, as information technology is developing continuously and very little of it even existed when HIPAA came into effect. The scope of this course is to make federal patient privacy laws, as applied to websites, email, scheduling, telehealth, social media and digital marketing, as simple and as accessible as possible. This course will outline the necessary steps for evaluating online platforms and tools for potential use in a practice. Additionally, attendees will learn their role as practitioners in HIPAA-compliant use of various online technologies.

Participants will be able to…

  • Describe HIPAA requirements as they relate to practice websites, email, scheduling, telehealth, social media and digital marketing.
  • Evaluate whether an online technology is suitable for use in their practice, with regard to HIPAA.
  • List the necessary steps to take before using any online technology in their practice, with regard to HIPAA.
  • Describe appropriate use of online technologies in conjunction with their practice, according to HIPAA.

About the speaker: Marla Moss is the Owner and Founder of Raging River Media, specializing in HIPAA-compliant digital marketing for acupuncturists. She helps practitioners build thriving, sustainable practices with custom automation technology that protects patient privacy while liberating busy healers from the grind.

Webinar: New Virtual Strategies to Bring in a Consistent Flow of Patients

Webinar: New Virtual Strategies to Bring in a Consistent Flow of Patients

This webinar is scheduled for April 8, 2021 – 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT (2 hrs)

CLICK HERE for full details and registration

One reason why more new patients aren’t coming in is because they don’t know about you and how you can help. If you’d like to educate and teach people, online talks are a great way to attract new patients (or telehealth ones) quickly, even if you get nervous or don’t know what to say.

Join us and…

  • Learn specific ways to attract a consistent flow of patients virtually
  • Learn where to find places to speak online and have people show up
  • Understand the #1 key to choosing the right topic that’s interesting and translates into new patients
  • Explore other streams of income beyond treating patients

About the speaker: Chen Yen is a sought-after national speaker. She is an expert at helping acupuncturists grow fulfilling 6 and 7-figure practices faster, without having to do it the exhausting extroverted way.

AB918 Education Packet, FAQ & What You Can Do

AB918 Education Packet, FAQ & What You Can Do

Please review the information below and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT:

  1. Download, edit and print this letter.
  2. Sign and either scan to president@csomaonline.org or mail directly to CSOMA at 548 Market Street #62558 San Francisco, CA 94101.

Thank you for supporting this bill!

AB 918 Education Packet

The following materials are provided to legislators to explain the purpose of AB918.

Press Release: AB 918 (Quirk-Silva) Acupuncture Licensure (PDF)
AB918 (Quirk-Silva) Fact Sheet: Acupuncture (PDF)
AB918 Bill Language (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – last updated March 3, 2021
(CSOMA also mailed this 1-page FAQ in late February to all members.)

Does my licensure get grandfathered in to this new NCCAOM requirement?

Many current CA licensees are eligible to apply for NCCAOM certification through a pathway offered directly by the NCCAOM. It requires updating your Clean Needle Technique (CNT) with the CCAOM, submission of other key docs (CA acupuncture license, degree diploma), plus a certification fee.

Details are found here: https://www.nccaom.org/certification/california-route/

Does this new national affiliation now make it possible for me to practice in other states without having to take additional exams?

Acupuncture licensure is specific to each state. Some states require that you pass all of the actual NCCAOM exam modules, other states require only a few modules, and other states require only an NCCAOM certification with no mention of specific tests.

Licensure requirements in each state are found at: https://www.nccaom.org/advocacy-regulatory/state-relations/

I’m an acupuncturist from out of state, but residing in CA.  I have my NCCAOM certification. If this passes, would I then be able to practice in CA, without taking the CALE?  What is the timeframe?

If/when AB 918 passes into becoming law, there will remain many details to work out through the policies and procedures that guide law change. 

There will likely be an additional exam required for California-specific laws, rules and regulations in addition to passing all of the national exams. The date when national exams were taken could affect eligibility/portability. For example, I believe it was not until 2016 (around then) that an independent auditor found the NCCAOM examinations and the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam (CALE) to be comparable in demonstrating practitioner competency. https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/pubs_forms/nccaom_audit.pdf?fbclid=IwAR12ktuKayyceXnbNtETIzvkSoROzc7oiHNhSiCjhfKJN6qzfeXy-SxyU40

If you are already licensed in California will this automatically convert you to an NCCAOM diplomat?

No, AB 918 will not automatically convert currently licensed acupuncturists into NCCAOM diplomats. This bill focuses on allowing new license applicants to take the NCCAOM examination series (plus maybe an additional CA specific module about rules/regs) instead of the CALE.

For currently licensed CA acupuncturists, the NCCAOM is offering a “short” route to become NCCAOM diplomats without taking the NCCAOM exams. (Be mindful that each state has different criteria for licensure, and many require that you take the actual exams, and not just have a diplomat status.)  Please see https://www.nccaom.org/advocacy-regulatory/state-relations/  

This “short route” opportunity lasts until August 2021, so consider planning ahead to insure your paperwork is in order. Details can be found here. https://www.nccaom.org/certification/california-route/

If you have completed Route 8 for national licensing (as a California licensed acupuncturist), can you then just use your national license to practice acupuncture in California after this bill is passed?

Licensing is specific and unique to each state. Some states only require NCCAOM diplomat status, while others require specific exams. Moreover, each state has different education requirements (hours, topics covered, clinical practicum, etc). There is no “national license,” only national certification, which is only one aspect of gaining a state license.

How does the passing of this bill impact which continuing education requirements need to be fulfilled? Will this be based on which state you are practicing in, as each state has different CEU requirements?

AB 918 currently does not affect CEU requirements for either CA or NCCAOM licensure renewals.

How will the bill, if passed, affect when our renewal is due? The NCCAOM is every four years, California license is every two years.

AB 918 currently does not affect license renewal for either CA or NCCAOM status.

I have already been approved by the NCCAOM. If this bill passes, then will California LAcs still need CEU’s specific to California, or will NCCAOM CEU programs suffice?

AB 918 currently does not affect the structure of state nor national CEU credit requirements.

Does AB 918 get rid of the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) and their jurisdiction on public safety and oversight of CA Licensees? 

No, this bill only replaced the CALE with the NCCAOM exam. The CAB will be able to focus more so on public safety, issuing CA state licenses.

In summary, here’s what AB 918 doesn’t do:

  • AB 918 does not affect currently licensed practitioners.
  • AB 918 does not “open the doors” for people with less education or training to practice in CA.
  • AB 918 does not change any requirements for licensing (other than which exam is required).
  • AB 918 does not affect professional oversight by the California Acupuncture Board (CAB).
  • AB 918 does not change continuing education.
  • AB 918 does not change license renewal fees or CE provider fees.

Q: Will AB 918 help students have greater access to jobs in California and in other states?

Yes, AB 918 is designed to support new acupuncture graduates by updating CA’s license requirements to a new “gold standard” of credentials that includes CA’s high education standards, plus a licensing examination process that grants NCCAOM certification in the process. 

This change would allow a new CA licensee to be automatically credentialed for jobs at the VA, hospitals, etc. and make it easier to practice in other states (since most other states have lower education standards but require NCCAOM certification.)

AB 918 is for the next generation of CA acupuncturists. This change would set-up our new graduates with nationally-recognized credentials so they can practice in any job in CA (hospital, VA, Medicare) and also access licensing in other states with far greater ease. (Note: license requirements vary state-to-state.)

Q: Does AB 918 change education requirements in CA, or any other aspect of license eligibility?.

AB 918 does not affect the current education standards required for licensure in California. California requires 3,000 hours of education, in very specific areas of study (i.e. 950 clinical training hours, clean needle technique, etc). That does not change.

Anyone applying for a CA license still has to meet all the other requirements (fingerprinting, background check, etc.) None of that changes, either.

The California Acupuncture Board (CAB) would still oversee all aspects of licensing and consumer safety, just as it does now.

AB 918 simply allows the California Acupuncture Board to accept the NCCAOM exam instead of the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam (CALE) for the exam requirement of a new license application. 

It is possible that CA would still require a CA-specific exam module (in addition to the four NCCAOM modules) that would cover CA acupuncture rules, regulations, reporting laws and business codes.

Q: How does AB 918 help establish a “national standard” for the acupuncture profession? Why are national standards important?

Demand for acupuncture services is growing quickly – at hospitals, the VA, Medicare, in other integrative medicine centers, etc.

The organizations that create new national healthcare programs want to work with professions that are well-trained, well-organized, and that can prove they provide “consistency of care.” 

Our profession needs to make sure that when new legislation includes “acupuncture benefits” that it also includes something like “services provided by a licensed acupuncturist.” We need to prove why licensed acupuncturists are the safest and best choice to provide acupuncture medicine.

National standards for our practitioners are essential to being included in these discussions. NCCAOM is a respected national standard for our profession that has meaning to legislators and the people who build healthcare programs.

Will AB 918 make it possible for practitioners from other states to gain licensure in California without meeting the other requirements? 

AB 918 will make it easier for CA acupuncturists to go to other states after practicing here because they already will have passed all of the NCCAOM exams.

Practitioners from other states who have fewer didactic or clinical training hours, or who do not meet CA standards in any other aspect would not be eligible for licensure in CA simply because they have NCCAOM certification.

(Keep in mind, each state has its own unique requirements. For example, Nevada requires more education hours than CA, while other states require training on point injection therapy or other interventions specific to the scope of practice within that state.)  

Licensing exams are intended to prove competency for entry into a profession and are meant to be combined with other criteria to create standards. Not long ago, it was a widely perceived that the CALE was far more difficult that the NCCAOM. Fortunately, the NCCAOM worked hard to improve their exam. More specifically:

In 2016, the NCCAOM exam was found to have “parity” to the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam (CALE) through an independent audit conducted by the CA Department of Consumer Affairs. Even the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) made a recommendation at that point to adopt the NCCAOM exam modules (plus add a 5th module that is CA-focused) for people to get licensed in CA. Visit https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/pubs_forms/nccaom_audit.pdf?fbclid=IwAR12ktuKayyceXnbNtETIzvkSoROzc7oiHNhSiCjhfKJN6qzfeXy-SxyU40

CSOMA will continue updating this FAQ. Please direct any questions to ra@csomaonline.org.

Author: CSOMA Staff