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WAEMA Legislative Alert: Comments due for Acupuncture Sunrise Review by October 16th, 2019 at 5 pm - POSTED 10/11/19

October 11, 2019 10:28 AM | Anonymous

Dear WAEMA Members;

During the 2019 legislative session WAEMA was the proponent of a bill that passed the state legislature, SHB 1865 Regulating the practice of acupuncture and Eastern medicine. The bill was amended in the House Health Care Committee by Representative Cody who sent a portion of the bill that dealt with scope expansion and clarification to a Sunrise Review at DOH. This is where a profession’s scope expansion is reviewed by the department for public safety and other criteria.

WAEMA has been working diligently over the summer on the Acupuncture Sunrise Review, submitting the initial Proposal to Increase Scope of Practice for Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine by the end of June. The public hearing for the Sunrise Review was on Friday, August 2, 2019 and we had the opportunity to provide additional follow-up until August 9th to address some of the issues that came up at the public hearing.

The draft Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine Scope of Practice Sunrise Review is now available for rebuttal comments. You can also access the report on the DOH Sunrise Review Web Page.

WAEMA believes that the report is positive for the Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine profession. It recommends that WAEMA work with stakeholders regarding their concerns and we have been successfully doing that since the public hearing to gain their support! Here are the department’s recommendations.

The department recommends expanding the scope of practice to add local anesthetics, oxygen, and epinephrine for use in point injection therapy. These are appropriate additions to the acupuncture scope of practice and the applicant group established a need for these substances to increase patient safety by preventing adverse reactions.

The department recommends WAEMA, Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians (WANP), Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), the Washington Orthopedic Association, and other appropriate organizations work together to propose alternate language to ensure the amended definition of acupuncture and Eastern medicine in the draft bill remains a clarification, rather than an increase in the scope or practice.

The department is not making recommendations regarding the remainder of the changes in the draft bill because they are outside the scope of a sunrise review. The purpose of the sunrise criteria is to establish guidelines for unregulated health professions or “those licensed or regulated health professions which seek to substantially increase their scope of practice.” The remainder of the changes in the bill are clarifications, not expansions of the scope of practice.

This is your opportunity to provide support for the draft recommendations before DOH finalizes the report for the legislature. Please send a comment supporting the draft report to DOH!

Comments are due October 16, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. You may email your comments to sunrise@doh.wa.gov, attention: Sherry Thomas, Policy Coordinator.

The final draft of the Acupuncture Sunrise Review report will be used as the basis for running a bill in the 2020 legislative session which begins January 14, 2020. A draft of the bill will be coming soon as we finalize stakeholder work on the final details of the bill language!

Thank you!

Leslie Emerick
WAEMA Lobbyist