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February 23rd, 2020
The California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA), would like to announce again its support of adopting the NCCAOM exam for CA Licensure to replace the California Licensing Exam, CALE. By adopting the NCCAOM exam, acupuncturists would align themselves with the “gold standard” of professional competency, as is seen in other medical practitioners. Per the NCCAOM “A national board certification […] is the hallmark of excellence in acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM). NCCAOM certification makes an important statement about professional competence that is recognized by regulatory bodies, third-party payers, the profession and the public.”
Now more than ever our patients need us in hospitals and programs such as the Veteran’s Association, Medicare and other national healthcare institutions. The need for our profession to be engaged in a variety of settings will continue to increase, and we need to be positioned as a profession to be available to fill the needs of patients at a large scale level. With the current pandemic the world is facing, there have been more conversations than ever in recent history about the strength of our medicine and the need for its widespread availability. January 21st, 2020 marked a historic time for the L.Ac. profession. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its decision to cover acupuncture for low back pain. This is a major step forward for our profession, not only for job development, but also in being recognized as an integral part of the medical provider community.
What continues to hold us back, however, is having multiple licensing requirements, different professional titles for acupuncturists and no set credentialing national body for our profession as a whole. This not only confuses our counterparts, but also sets us apart from our colleagues in the professional workplace. National Board Certification is the standard across many healthcare professions. CSOMA supports the NCCAOM Certification as this gold standard. The benefits far outweigh the limitations set by not creating a streamlined way to enter the standard of care. Our profession is integrating, and we must be positioned to grow so we are not left behind. We as a profession have the ability to open the doors for jobs with federal agencies, hospitals and clinics across the US.
In early January 2018, CSOMA’s Public Policy Advisory Committee first introduced their position statement on the NCCAOM Exam. CSOMA would like to reinstate this position to our members and the public. We hope to foster a collaborative effort with other acupuncture professional associations to support the advancement of adopting the NCCAOM Certification as a gold standard of criteria for the AOM profession. CSOMA will continue to advocate for and provide more information to Diplomats as the bill progresses.
View the Original Position Statement here
National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM®) Fact Sheet: Information for California Licensed Acupuncturists and Other Interested Stakeholders about the NCCAOM Testing and Certification Program – January 8, 2018
Review of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Examinations by the California Acupuncture Board – January 2016
Q & A on Follow-Up Questions Submitted to the NCCAOM Based on the Audit, and How the NCCAOM Can Provide Exam Development and Administrative Services to the CAB for Purposes of Licensure: A Presentation to the CAB – June 11, 2016
Center for Medicare Services: Decision Memo for Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain – January 2020 https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=295
November 5, 2018
The Chinese government recently lifted a 25-year ban on the trade of tiger bone and rhino horn from captive-bred animals for use in traditional medicine.
The decision has been condemned by wildlife conservation groups that warn that allowing such legal trade will have devastating consequences globally for the two critically endangered species. The California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) is unequivocally opposed to the use of all substances derived from any endangered species in the practice of traditional Chinese herbal medicine and condemns China’s reversal of the 1993 ban that significantly curbed the demand for tiger and rhino parts and has been instrumental in conserving these iconic species in the wild.
With tiger and rhino populations facing numerous threats in the wild, the reality is that with their already perilously dwindling numbers, this decision may very well seal the fate of these two species and propel them towards extinction. This result would be a tragedy to the global community as well as a black stain on the practice of traditional Chinese medicine worldwide.
We would like to underscore that these substances are in no way necessary to the effective practice of herbal medicine. We acknowledge that there is no scientific, medical or otherwise justifiable reason to use these products medicinally in any capacity. We make no distinction between captive-raised endangered animals and those born in the wild, as both equally deserve protection. Any compromise of the protections for these animals is unconscionable and misguided. CSOMA supports the prosecution of any practitioner in the U.S. found to be trafficking or dispensing any products derived from endangered species.
We call on the Chinese government to reverse this short-sighted decision and urge all members of the Chinese medical community to maintain the integrity of traditional Chinese medicine by using only ethically sourced and humanely treated, non-endangered animal products.
September 12, 2018
This statement is presented by the two largest acupuncture professional associations in California. The American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (AACMA) is the largest Chinese-language association and California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) is the largest English-language association. They share a combined membership of more than 700 professionals and 30 years each in representing the profession.
The AACMA and CSOMA formally oppose the practice of “dry needling” by physical therapists in the state of California due to the following public safety and regulatory reasons:
- “Dry needling,” as defined by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)1, follows the same definition as “acupuncture” in the state of California.
- Current practice in states that allow “dry needling” by physical therapists do not meet the standards adopted by the AMA on Regulating Dry Needling.2
- Current practice in states that allow “dry needling” by physical therapists violate the FDA’s statement regarding the sale of acupuncture needles.3
- The State of California maintains that it is unlawful for any person other than a licensed acupuncturist, physician, surgeon, dentist, or podiatrist to practice acupuncture or use any acupuncture technique that involves the application of a needle to the human body.4
- “Dry needling” as it is currently practiced by physical therapists in other states, poses a hazard to public safety due to inherent risks of under-trained and unregulated practitioners.5
The AACMA and CSOMA oppose any health practice that threatens the safety of California consumers. Because the modality in question (acupuncture) falls within the unique scope of licensed acupuncturists, allowing the practice of “dry needling” by physical therapists may result in significant increases of pneumothorax and other health risks, as well as public confusion over the safety of acupuncture as it is currently defined and regulated by the State of California.6
While the AACMA and CSOMA oppose the practice of “dry needling” by physical therapists in the state of California, we are willing to advise interested parties regarding acupuncture training requirements in California to maintain the highest standards for public safety.
- “Dry needling” as defined by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is “an intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying points.” In California, this is the same definition as acupuncture. http://www.apta.org/StateIssues/DryNeedling/ClinicalPracticeResourcePaper/
- In the name of patient safety, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted the following policy on June 15, 2016, stating that dry needling must be regulated with the same standards as acupuncture. “Regulating Dry Needling: The AMA adopted a policy that said physical therapists and other non-physicians practicing dry needling should – at a minimum – have standards that are similar to the ones for training, certification and continuing education that exist for acupuncture. Lax regulation and nonexistent standards surround this invasive practice. For patients’ safety, practitioners should meet standards required for licensed acupuncturists and physicians,” AMA Board Member Russell W. H. Kridel, M.D. https://www.ama-assn.org/ama-adopts-new-policies-final-day-annual-meeting
- “Dry needling” uses the same FDA-regulated Class II medical device specifically defined as an “acupuncture needle.” The FDA has explicitly stated that the sale of acupuncture needles “must be clearly restricted to qualified practitioners of acupuncture as determined by the States.” https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1996-12-06/pdf/96-31047.pdf
- CA Business and Professions Code – Acupuncture License Act, Division 2, Healing Arts. Chapter 12. Acupuncture. § 4935. Unlawful practice of acupuncture (b) Notwithstanding any other law, any person, other than a physician and surgeon, a dentist, or a podiatrist, who is not licensed under this article but is licensed under Division 2 (commencing with Section 500), who practices acupuncture involving the application of a needle to the human body, performs any acupuncture technique or method involving the application of a needle to the human body, or directs, manages, or supervises another person in performing acupuncture involving the application of a needle to the human body is guilty of a misdemeanor. https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/pubs_forms/laws_regs/laws_and_regs.pdf
- Because “dry needling” is, in fact, acupuncture, it presents the same inherent risks as acupuncture (i.e. perforation of the lungs and other internal organs, nerve damage, and infection) and requires the same education, supervised clinical training and independent competency examinations as required for the practice of lawful, licensed acupuncture. https://www.acupuncturesafety.org/
- CA Business and Professions Code – Acupuncture License Act, Division 2, Healing Arts. Chapter 12. Acupuncture. § 4927. Definitions (d) “Acupuncture” means the stimulation of a certain point or points on or near the surface of the body by the insertion of needles to prevent or modify the perception of pain or to normalize physiological functions, including pain control, for the treatment of certain diseases or dysfunctions of the body and includes the techniques of electroacupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion.” https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/pubs_forms/laws_regs/laws_and_regs.pdf