WAEMA is the acupuncture profession's primary voice in representing and promoting acupuncture and East Asian medicine in Washington state. WAEMA was created for practitioners, the general public, students and allied professionals and legislators.

important news

Watch our Public Policy Director Leslie Emerick and WAEMA member Sue Schultz at a hearing for companion bills SB 6038 and HB 2203.

Watch their testimony in the Senate (starts at 1:24:12)

Watch their testimony in the House (starts at 17:41)

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  • July 13, 2017 9:06 PM | Anonymous

    East Asian Medicine Practitioners will soon have an opportunity to apply for participation in a pilot project sponsored by the WA State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

    WEAMA is currently working with L&I to provide feedback and to help create guidelines, documentation toolkits, and orientation training webinars around the pilot project. 

    Only EAMPs who are successfully enrolled and accepted in the L&I Acupuncture Pilot project will be compensated for their acupuncture services under the terms of the pilot project. If you are not enrolled in the L&I pilot project, you are not eligible for compensation/reimbursement for workers’ compensation claims for acupuncture.

    To stay tuned on the progress, please join the L&I Acupuncture Pilot Project listserv http://lni.wa.gov/Main/Listservs/LNI-Acupuncture.asp. When L&I is ready to begin enrolling acupuncture providers into the pilot project, it will be announced on the L&I listserv (enrollment in the listserv does not constitute enrollment in the pilot). So if you want to learn more, be prepared to apply to be an acupuncture provider in the L&I pilot project, or follow this work, join the listserv and subscribe to the WEAMA bloghttps://weama.info.

  • July 07, 2017 5:23 AM | Anonymous

    Dear EAMPs,

    Rules for Point Injection Therapy were filed yesterday and became effective at the same time.  Please review our WAC and pay particular attention to the new section which outlines the education requirements to perform PIT.  Here is a link to what was filed:


    WEAMA’s Board of Directors would like to warmly thank everyone involved in this effort!  Thank you for your dedicated service to our profession!

  • April 13, 2017 8:05 AM | Anonymous

    Prepared by Leslie Emerick, Lobbyist

    Legislative Overview
    Today is the 92nd day of the 105-day legislative session. The last bill cut-off for fiscal committees was on April 4th. The next deadline is April 12th for a bill to pass out of the opposite house with a vote on the floor of the House or Senate. Some of the bills listed in the fiscal committees are still on the list because they may be considered necessary to implement the budget. The last day of the regular session is April 23, 2017, but I suspect that we will have at least one Special Session of the legislature to hammer out the budget proposals between the House and the Senate!

    The Senate’s $43 billion budget raises property taxes, with the most significant impact on the Puget Sound with high property values. Legislators from the west side of the state are not very happy with that proposal! The House has a $44.9 billion budget, include a B & O tax 20% surcharge on highest grossing businesses, exempts smaller businesses (under $250,000 a year) and a 7% capital gains tax from the sale of stocks, bonds and other assets. 

    WEAMA has been tracking 31 bills this session and about half of them died at the first policy committee bill cut-off. I have met with key members of the House and Senate Health Care Committee over the session to discuss issues of importance to East Asian Medicine Practitioners (EAMPs). Here is a copy of the Weekly Bill Report.  WEAMA was anticipating running legislation in 2017, but we were successful in getting Labor and Industries to accept our request to add EAMPs as practitioners so running legislation was unnecessary to accomplish our goals! Our top priorities this session were:

    Acupuncture as an Alternative to Opioids:
    WA State is facing an Opioid epidemic and acupuncture can be a low-cost alternative to manage pain without pharmaceuticals. EAMPs can also treat chemical addiction to help wean patients off opioids. The Essential Health Benefits under the OIC allow for unlimited chemical dependency treatments for acupuncture. L & I is proposing rulemaking to add acupuncture for low-back pain.

    Oppose Dry Needling/Acupuncture by practitioners who do not have adequate training for the therapeutic insertion of needles into the human body. Any practitioner who wishes to practice acupuncture needs national certification and adequate training to protect the public from harm.

    The Chair of the Senate Health Care committee, Senator Ann Rivers invited WEAMA to present in an Opioid Abuse work session early in the legislative session. Danial Cook did an excellent job presenting Acupuncture as an Alternative to the Senate Health Care Committee on the topic of Opioid Abuse. We were given a rare opportunity to present for a full 15- minutes before the committee. If you are interested in seeing his testimony, please go to this link on TVW: Senate Health Care Committee
    on January 17, 2017 10:00AM Work Session: Opioid abuse and treatment. Danial’s testimony starts at 1:07:00 on the slider at the bottom, left side of the screen. 

    We are still pursing our options to best integrate acupuncture treatments into the Opioid crisis in our state on a number of fronts such as the Bree Collaborative and the Medical Directors group. There were a number of bills trying to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in WA State that did not make the bill cut-off, but with the failure of the Congressional efforts to overturn the ACA, it should not be an issue in the near future. I will attach our latest bill update to this report for your review. You can go to look at the bills by clicking on the hyperlink on the left side of the page. 

    East Asian Medicine Advisory Committee/ Point Injection Therapy Rules Update
    The next EAMAC meeting and public hearing for point injection is on April 28, 2017 at the Department of Health, Town Center 2, Room 158, 111 Israel Rd. S.E., Tumwater, WA. The committee meeting will begin at 9 a.m. These are public meetings and anyone can attend. It will be a business meeting first with a Rules Hearing on Point Injection Therapy starting promptly at 11:30 a.m. I have attached a copy of the filed CR-102 and the proposed rule language for your review. You can submit comments personally or send your comments to Curt Eschels (curtiseschels@gmail.com) at WEAMA to be incorporated into a comment document from WEAMA. 

    If you want to send them directly to Vicki Brown at DOH or leave them on the rules comment website here.
    Vicki Brown, Program Manager, East Asian Medicine Practitioner Programs
    P. O. Box 47852
    Olympia, WA  98504-7852
    Voice:  360-236-4865  Fax:  360-236-2901

    Fujio McPhearson, EAMP/ARNP, submitted a proposal to the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) for a 200-hour class that would allow Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) to practice acupuncture, similar to a Medical Acupuncture program. WEAMA is opposed to this proposal and sent a letter to NCQAC to express our opposition. You can download the letter here:
     WEAMA testimony to NCQAC 
    The NCQAC is in the process of developing an Advisory Opinion for this scope expansion with the advisement of WEAMA and Bastyr University. We are working with Bastyr to develop the appropriate number of hours required for a baseline dual licensure. WEAMA has set a meeting on April 14th to discuss their Advisory Opinion further. 

    Labor & Industries (L & I) Update
    L & I has agreed to move forward with rulemaking on acupuncture for low-back pain. Thanks to years of work on this issue and a fabulous literature review led by Lisa Taylor-Swanson and other dedicated WEAMA members! Here is a copy of the review We were finally successful in documenting an evidence based treatment for low back pain. It may take a while longer to gain permission to treat other work related injuries, but this is a huge step forward with the most common complaint.  Here is a copy of the review.  Acupuncture for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

    WEAMA recently participated in the Industrial Insurance Medical Advisory Committee (IIMAC) meeting on January 26, 2017. It appears that the meeting went well and we are moving forward with the blessing of the committee towards rulemaking. L & I is trying to resolve an issue with the current WAC that prohibits acupuncture from being performed. They need to remove that language before we can proceed with new language that will allow EAMPs to treat patients. No date has been set yet for the rulemaking to begin, but hopefully sometime soon.

    Background: The Industrial Insurance Medical Advisory Committee (IIMAC) was formed by the Washington State Legislature in 2007. Chapter 51.36 RCW (app.leg.wa.gov) authorizes the IIMAC to: "Advise the department on matters related to the provision of safe, effective, and cost-effective treatments for injured workers, including but not limited to the development of practice guidelines and coverage criteria, review of coverage decisions and technology assessments, review of medical programs, and review of rules pertaining to health care issues." Here is a link to the website: http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Providers/ProjResearchComm/PAC/default.asp

    Here is a link to the Proposed Rule Changes:Proposed Rule changes

    Acupuncture and Medicaid
    WEAMA has begun to research our options for becoming approved to serve the Medicaid population. We will need to develop a white paper outlining what we would like from the Health Care Authority and the legislature by June 2017. We are reviewing models and pilot projects from other states to possibly use as a model for Medicaid in WA. Meetings with the Governor’s office, the Health Care Authority, WSMA and a potential bill sponsor will happen over the summer interim. By this fall we should have a draft bill to share with stakeholders and legislators.

    Here are two additional meeting announcements of interest to our members;

    DOH Rules: Charge for searching and duplicating medical records. 
    WAC 246-08-400 sets the maximum amounts medical providers may charge for searching and duplicating medical records.  RCW 70.02.010(37) requires the Department of Health to adjust these amounts every two years according to the change in the Consumer Price Index.  A copy of the proposed rule change is attached. A public hearing will be held May 25, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at the Department of Health, Town Center 2, 111 Israel Road SE, Tumwater, Washington, 98501.

    If you would like to submit written comments, you may post them to the Department of Health Rules Comment Site at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/policyreview/.  You may also mail them to Sherry Thomas, Department of Health, PO Box 47850, Olympia, WA, 98504-7850.  Comments are due May 25, 2017.  If you have questions, please email Sherry Thomas at sherry.thomas@doh.wa.gov. 

    Unintentional Poisoning Workgroup/Prescription Monitoring Program Meeting 

    Location: WA State Department of Health, 310 Israel Road SE | Tumwater, WA 98501~
    Point Plaza East | Room 152/153
    Date and Time: 04/25/2017 | 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    FOCUS: Non-Opioid Alternatives for Chronic Pain Treatment

    Legislative Updates  
    Workgroup Progress Updates
    - Prevention (DBHR; LNI) 
    - Treatment (DBHR)
    - Naloxone (UW)
    - Data (DOH)
    Group Leads

    Julia Havens (DBHR) | Jaymie Mai (LNI)
    Thomas Fuchs (DBHR)
    Susan Kingston (UW)    
    Jennifer Sabel (DOH)

    Non-Opioid Pain Therapies
    Cognitive Behavioral
    Physical Therapy
    East Asian Medicine Practitioners (Acupuncture)
    Dr. Dawn Ehde (UW)
    Brett Neilson, DPT (PTWA)
    Fujio McPhearson (EAMP)
    Discussion (Q&A)

    Non-Opioid Treatment

    Dr. Lofy
    Analysis of Medicaid – Opioid OD risks Deborah Fulton-Kehoe (UW)

  • February 22, 2017 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    One of our colleagues reminded me the other day the Rooster is also portrayed as a Phoenix. I like the Phoenix’s slightly more dramatic representation of change, renewal, and hope. 

    We are staying busy on the WEAMA board and always looking for your help, no matter what you can contribute in time, talent, or treasure.

    Member Benefits Reminder--new Meridians issue is available 
    First, a reminder of one of your WEAMA member benefits, access to the scientific journal in our field, Meridians. As a WEAMA member access to the electronic version of this journal is free. After going to the weama.info website, log in, then go to the “Members” tab, and scroll down to Meridians Journal. The most recent issue is toward the bottom of the page, http://www.weama.info/memberbenefits/meridiansjournal

    The beautiful print edition of Meridians comes in my mailbox this year, and I just read the Winter 2017 issue. I enjoyed the discussions on the use of sham acupuncture as a “placebo”—no longer recommended and “how to prepare a scientific paper poster presentation” as well as an article about how Tai Chi decreases fear of falling in the elderly. To read my review, see the blogpost at https://hospitalhandbook.blogspot.com/

    Volunteers Needed
    We can’t have a professional organization without volunteers. So, please give of your time, whether it is 5 hours a year or 5 hours a week. If you don’t see something you want to do listed, no worries. I didn’t list every possibility and am always interested in new ideas. Please contact me at m.gale@weama.info

    Here are some areas we are currently recruiting volunteers:
    Under the Membership and Outreach Committee, we need help to fill the following subcommittees:

    • Regional Outreach—need at least one volunteer leader to represent their region of the state
      • Regional outreach and volunteer coordinator
    • Student and School Outreach
    • Disaster Relief
    • Events Committee
    • Volunteer Coordinator—coordinates and tracks all WEAMA volunteers and helps match needs to people and people to their interests

    Check out your “Member Benefits” tab this month and review all those features that have been updated. And, please consider volunteering. Volunteering is always more fun when your friends work with you, so join up and tell me where you want to help.

    Washington State Survey of Professional EAMP Practice
    The state just rolled out a survey a few months ago to collect workforce data on the practice of EAMPs in our state. This data helps to understand education and training level, where you work, type of practice (such as private practice), and any specialty area of practice you may have (vs. general practice). This is useful baseline data to have for our profession. Please fill out the survey—it takes about 10 minutes or less. The more EAMPs who can respond, the more representative the results will be. Please complete within the next 2 months. Sounds like they are due to publish results later this summer.

    Thank you for filling out the survey. Here is the link that describes the reasoning for the survey:

    You can take the survey from there or you can go to this link (below) and click on “East Asian Medicine Practitioner”:

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Megan Kingsley Gale, MSAOM
    WEAMA board member
    Membership and Outreach Committee Chair

  • February 17, 2017 7:16 PM | Anonymous

    Dear EAMPs,
    WEAMA recently added a few new forums so that our members can interact with each other easier.  We encourage you to subscribe to the following forums if you want to participate.  Members can subscribe to an entire forum or to any thread in a forum. If you don't subscribe, you won't be notified at all. 

    • Member forum:  Please use this forum to communicate with other WEAMA members on topics relating to the practice of East Asian Medicine.  
    • Classifieds Employment:  Post and view employment opportunities 1
    • Classifieds Continuing Ed:  Post and view upcoming classes 2
    • Classifieds For Sale:  Post and view items for sale  
    • Click SUBSCRIBE in a forum.
    • Click SUBSCRIBE TO TOPIC in a single topic to follow only one thread.  
    • UNSUBSCRIBE:  Unsubscribe yourself at any time by clicking the UNSUBSCRIBE button.  
    • Notifications:  Once subscribed, members will receive email notifications of updates to any of the topics in the forum/thread with links to new or updated topics.
    • Forums may be infrequently monitored by WEAMA board members, they are only provided as a service to our members.  
    • The MEMBER FORUM has to be a safe place where members can share ideas with each other freely. If a member uses the MEMBER FORUM, the member agrees to abide by the following rules:
    1. Only members have permission to access the forum.   If I use the MEMBER FORUM, I will not allow a non-member to access content from the MEMBER FORUM in any way.
    2. I will NOT share any other member’s posts in any form without expressed written permission.

     You can access the forums in our MEMBER section.  Log in with your email address in the MEMBER LOGIN box at http://weama.infoUse the password reset if needed. After you log in, navigate to our MEMBER section.
    Please remove your posts when..
    1 The job is filled.
    2 Your events are complete.
    3 You sell the item.

  • December 21, 2016 5:43 PM | Ash Goddard

    As you all know, we are in the midst of an opioid crisis nationwide, and Washington state is working hard to find solutions. WEAMA has recently been represented (by myself, Leslie and others) at several meetings in which acupuncture was discussed as part of the solution--both as a "front end" solution (i.e. "acupuncture before opioids") and also at the level of addiction.

    WEAMA is grateful to be at the table of these discussions and we need the manpower to see us through the steps ahead. Leslie, our lobbyist, has done an excellent job getting our foot in the door and we are eager to see our profession included as these task forces move forward. 

    WEAMA is calling on its members who have experience on this issue, most urgently as related to the addiction side of the problem. This is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference. Please reach out to us on the matter so we can put your skills to use in working with WEAMA and partner organizations. I'll post this to Facebook as well, so you can tag members in a comment there, too.

    ~Ash Goddard, WEAMA President

  • December 15, 2016 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    Dear WEAMA Member,
    As you are aware, the Department of Health (DOH) released thePhysical Therapist Dry Needling Sunrise Review Final Report. We support the DOH’s recommendation “that the applicant’s proposal as submitted to add dry needling to the physical therapy scope of practice does not meet the sunrise criteria for increasing a profession’s scope of practice.”

    What WEAMA is concerned about is that there was a significant change between the draft report released to the public and final Sunrise Review report. The Sunrise Review Committee removed many clauses and facts, the exclusion of which we believe will give erroneous and misleading information and recommendations to the legislature for future legislation. At this time, we have been informed by key legislators that the Physical Therapy Association of WA will not be running dry needling legislation in 2017. That said, this report does pave the way for future legislation on dry needling. 

    We ask that you send your local legislator the message below with your name and the attachments included with this message which are: WEAMA Letter to Senator Becker, Chair of the Senate Health Care committee with a cc: to House Health Care leadership, the Governor’s Office and Department of Health. The other is an article entitled “Evidence That Dry Needling Is the Intent to Bypass Regulation to Practice Acupuncture in the United States”. 

    To find out who and how to contact your local legislators, please go toFind Your District and enter your home address (not your business) and your legislator’s information will pop up. Click on the link to their name and it will take you to their contact information. This may be a new issue for some legislators who are not on the health care committees so we provide additional background information in the letter below. Just a reminder to always be respectful and courteous when working with legislators and their assistants! 

    Finally, please download the following files mentioned in the letter below at the and include as attachments to your letter:
    1. Letter from WEAMA 
    regarding specific concerns regarding the final Physical Therapist Dry Needling Sunrise Review:  http://bit.ly/2h5IRlW

    2. Evidence that Dry Needling is the Attempt to Bypass Regulation: http://bit.ly/2gP0p9S


    Dear Senator/Representative, (Insert correct name and title)

    My name is ________________and I live in your district and am a licensed and practicing East Asian Medicine Practitioner (Acupuncturist). I am writing to make you aware of an issue of great concern for acupuncturists in Washington State. Efforts to rename acupuncture as “dry needling” so other professions can bypass the extensive training and clinical hours required to insert filiform acupuncture needles into their patients is a significant public safety concern for our profession and the public. Acupuncturists are required to take around 1,500 hours of training and clinical supervision and pass a national exam to become licensed to practice in our state. These requirements have protected the public quite well as there is a very low complaint/injury rate for acupuncturists regulated by DOH. This is a highly skilled procedure and adverse events for inadequately trained practitioners are a serious health risk.

    If you are not familiar with the issue I would like to provide a little background information. For a number of years’ physical therapists in Washington state have been unlawfully performing acupuncture under the nomenclature “dry needling” with a weekend class for training. A lawsuit was filed in King County Superior Court where it was determined that dry needling is not in the physical therapist (PT) scope of practice and was further confirmed in an Attorney General Opinion requested by Representative Eileen Cody, Health Care Committee Chair.http://www.atg.wa.gov/ago-opinions/scope-practice-physical-therapyA bill to allow PT dry needling was introduced in the 2016 legislative session died in the Senate Health Care committee. SB 6374 

    The chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, Senator Randi Becker requested a Sunrise Review from the Department of Health (DOH) to review the SB 6374. Here is a link to the : DOH Sunrise Review if you are unfamiliar with the process. Here is a link to thePhysical Therapist Dry Needling Sunrise Review Final Report. 

    The final draft of the Physical Therapist Dry Needling Sunrise Review was submitted to the legislature on December 1st, 2016. I agree with the DOH findings of the review that the proposal does not meet the Sunrise Review Criteria for increasing a professions scope of practice and appreciate all the hard work that went into the creation of this document which is over 700 pages long due to the extensive comments from the public. 

    I am very concerned that there was a significant change between the draft report released to the public and final Sunrise Review report. The Sunrise Review Committee removed many clauses and facts, the exclusion of which I believe will give erroneous and misleading information and recommendations to the legislature. I am attaching a letter from my state professional association, the WA East Asian Medicine Association (WEAMA) regarding specific concerns regarding the final Physical Therapist Dry Needling Sunrise Review and an article on “Evidence That Dry Needling Is the Intent to Bypass Regulation to Practice Acupuncture in the United States” for your review.

    If this proposal should move forward legislatively at some point, I would appreciate your consideration of my concerns regarding this issue. I would be happy to discuss further. 

    Thank you.


  • December 04, 2016 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    The final Physical Therapy Dry Needling Sunrise Review has been submitted to the legislature.  This final report concludes the sunrise process.  The full report with appendices is available on the DOH website at this link:   http://bit.ly/2gVQmMZ

    Although we agree with the DOH determination that the Physical Therapists proposal to add dry needing to the PT Scope of Practice does not meet the Sunrise Criteria for increasing a professions scope of practice, we have concerns about their recommendations to the legislature in the Executive Summary of the document.                     

    We are currently strategizing how to best address this issue. We will be in contact soon with talking points. 

    Thank you.
    WEAMA Board of Directors

  • November 15, 2016 4:01 PM | Ash Goddard

    Dear WEAMA Members,

    Good news!  L & I is beginning the process to add East Asian Medicine Practitioners as approved providers to serve injured workers in WA State!! WEAMA has been working with the Labor and Industries (L & I) on a literature review to provide evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture for five years. We narrowed the scope of the literature review to Low Back Pain as that is one of the highest incidents of worker injuries.

    We received confirmation from Leah Hole-Marshall, L&I -Medical Administrator, that they are going to proceed with policy options for adding acupuncture for low back pain as a covered L&I service. This will initiate the agency rulemaking process. They will submit a CR 101 soon to start the official regulatory process. The process may take up to a year to complete.

    They are still reviewing evidence and will have a more formal briefing ready within a week or so, but the upshot is that due to the evidence WEAMA provided a high-quality literature review, along with the AHRQ review, that shows low and moderate quality evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic back pain.  No significant adverse events are known, so safety was not a high concern.  

    They are also reviewing a high-quality purchasing strategy (Healthy Washington 20/20) to identify how acupuncture can fit in to both value based and best practice purchasing that ensures injured workers do not fall through the cracks. They will need to present their findings and recommendations to IIMAC and ACHIEV for their feedback which will be in January 2017.

    Many thanks to Lisa Taylor-Swanson and Megan Kingsley-Gale, Jen Stone, Mercy Yule, Jacob Godwin and our whole cadre of reviewers/data extractors. We would NOT have crossed this threshold without each and every person!

    The WEAMA Board

  • November 06, 2016 1:58 PM | Anonymous

    WEAMA is working hard for you!
    Join for less than $16/month or donate to WEAMA or WEAMA PAC today!

    Legislative Overview
    As I am sure you have all noticed, 2016 is an election year. The General Election is on November 8th and I have no idea which way the political winds will blow for the political parties in the state legislature this year because it is such a wild and crazy presidential election on the national level. Why should East Asian Medicine Practitioners care about the Political Landscape? Because politics impact legislation and bills that we support can live or die because of legislative battles over issues that have nothing to do with us!

    The balance of power in both the Senate and the House are up for grabs this year as they are only separated by a few members. Currently the Republicans control the Senate and the Democrats control the House. All 98 seats in the House of Representative are up for election. And 26 out of the 49 seats in the Senate are up for election. Many long-term Senators retired this year and some are running for other offices. The Democratic Governor’s is also up for re-election. The legislature will look quite different in 2017 with so many new members so there will be lots of opportunities to educate new legislators about East Asian Medicine! 

    2017 is the 105-day long session of the legislature where they develop the two-year operating budget for the state that funds human services and education. Bills introduced in 2017 live for two years. Despite increased tax revenues from an improving economy, the legislature is still facing the McCleary Supreme Court Decision. This will have a big impact on the legislature next session since they put it off for another year last session.

    The decision requires the state legislature to fully fund education under the state’s Constitution. So far the legislature has come up with about $5 billion more in funding, but that is still not to the satisfaction of the states Supreme Court. They are currently fining the state legislature $100,000 a day starting last fall, with over $37 million already set aside in an account that will be used for educational funding at some point. The courts want the state to come up with an additional $3-5 billion to fully fund education under the state’s constitution.  As you can imagine, this is quite controversial because there is no way to come up with this kind of money unless tax revenues are considered or loop-holes are closed. This is a highly partisan battle which could lead to a rocky legislative session in 2017 and possibly several special sessions. Maybe this time next year we will still be in Special Session!

    SHB 2448 East Asian Medicine Point Injection Therapy

    Point Injection Therapy Rulemaking

    SHB 2448 went into effect on June 9th, 2016. It required DOH, in consultation with East Asian Medicine Advisory Committee (EAMAC), to adopt rules to define and clarify Point Injection Therapy in WAC. DOH has been scheduling the East Asian Medicine Advisory committee meetings in conjunction with the PIT Rulemaking. DOH submitted their first draft of the PIT Rules on August 25th for review and to solicit comments. It appears that they based their draft on a combination models from other states who practice PIT such as Colorado and Florida and are suggesting 60 hours of training. WEAMA has some concerns about the draft and established a PIT Workgroup to review and submit comments to DOH. Comments were submitted back to DOH by the deadline on October 21st and are currently under review by DOH. We will know more about their response at the EAMAC Spokane meeting and rescheduled it for November 16th. Some of the issues under consideration are grandfathering for EAMPs who are already doing PIT and the number of hours of training that will be required.

    We have been having discussion about how EAMPs can purchase homeopathic medicines. At this point we believe that sending the new legislation to wholesale companies who require documentation that it is in your scope of practice may be the best option. Apparently, that is not working for some folks. I recommend that we request the EAM Advisory Committee either write a statement or get the Pharmacy Board to sign off on allowing EAMPs to purchase homeopathic medicine. I am working with DOH and the Executive Director of the Pharmacy Board on this issue. I will also bring this issue up at the EAMAC meeting in Spokane.

    Epinephrine Auto-injectors Rulemaking

    DOH is also implementing Rules on SSB 6421 Authorizing Health Care Providers to prescribe Epinephrine Auto-injectors in the name of authorized entities. PIT has the possibility of an allergic response and having an epi-pen available would be appropriate.

    State Agency Rulemaking

    How many of you understand what “rulemaking” means? It is the process that an agency follows to develop, adopt, repeal or amend a rule. Rules are developed by state agencies to further define an RCW/Statute or help provide clarity if the underlying statute is broad or unclear. A rule is a regulation adopted by a state agency and codified in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). The words “rule”, “standard”, “regulation”, and “WAC” are often used interchangeably. A requirement is not enforceable if not in statute or a rule. A statute is also defined as an RCW or law established by the state legislature.

    Basic Rulemaking Process

    CR 101 first stage of process which initiates the rulemaking. Agencies then go to the Stakeholder phase where they gather input from interested parties. Based on that input the begin drafting rules and analysis. Sometimes there are numerous stakeholder meetings depending upon how complex or contentious the proposed rules are. After there is a consensus or the department feels they have gathered enough information to move forward it goes to the CR 102 Public Hearing and Comments/Respond phase. The department may make minor changes based on testimony at this point, but typically move to the CR 103 Final Adoption phase. If there were major issues that came up during the CR 102, they may go back to public hearing and stakeholder work again to try to resolve the issue. Every state agency goes through this process which is required under the Administrative Procedures Act in Washington State.

    East Asian Medicine Advisory Committee (EAMAC)

    The EAMAC was established in legislation we passed last year, SHB 1045. This committee now reviews all issues related to EAMPs at DOH. They have also supported our efforts on Dry Needling with a letter opposing it during the PT Sunrise Review. Two meetings have been held so far. With the next on coming up in Spokane on November 16th. I would encourage all of our eastern WA practitioners to add if you can and participate in this opportunity to support your profession!

    April 29, 2016 Tumwater, WA
    • PIT Overview
    • Demonstration and Discussion
    November 16, 2016 Spokane, WA
    • PIT rulemaking, review draft and comments
    • WEAMA Letter Opposing Advanced Registered Nurses (ARNPs) 300-hr Acupuncture training
    January 27, 2017 Tumwater, WA
    • Potential CR 102 or additional stakeholder meeting on PIT Rules
    April 28, 2017 TBD TBD

    SB 6374 Dry Needling for PTs

    SB 6374 Allowing physical therapists to perform dry needling with 54 hours of training died in the Senate Health Care. This bill was the basis of the Sunrise Review with DOH. Here is a link to the Sunrise Review Process if you are not familiar with it. This is how a profession is supposed to expand their scope of practice. As an example, WEAMA went through one to expand your scope of practice in 2009: Acupuncture Scope of Practice, 2009 (PDF)

    DOH Sunrise Review on Dry Needling

    Senator Randi Becker, the Chair of the Senate Health Care committee requested that DOH initiate a Sunrise Review on PT Dry Needling after the legislative session. Here is a link to the DOH Sunrise Review website if you have not had the opportunity to see the information on the PT Sunrise Review that is under consideration: http://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/ProgramsandServices/HealthSystemsQualityAssurance/SunriseReviews/PendingSunriseReviews

    Around 100 people attended the public hearing from both sides of the issue. DOH had an overwhelming response during the public comment period with 609 pages. The reaponse was unprecedented according the staff. DOH released the Review Draft on 9/26/16 with the following recommendations:

    DOH does not support the applicant’s proposal to add dry needling to the physical therapy scope of practice. The proposal as submitted does not meet the sunrise criteria for increasing a profession’s scope of practice. This is a major victory for EAMPs!

    DOH was accepting rebuttal comments on the draft sunrise report until 5 p.m. October 10, 2016.

    WEAMA submitted final comments that focused only on the content of the draft report. DOH will post the final report on the website above when it's been approved and submitted to the legislature, prior to the start of the 2017 legislative session.

    L & I Acupuncture Literature Review

    After 5 years of effort by WEAMA and many volunteer researchers within the organization, we presented a literature review entitled “Acupuncture for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials” Lisa Taylor-Swanson and Jennifer Stone (WEAMA Review Team) Megan Gale Kingsley

    Lisa Taylor-Swanson made the presentation to Gary Franklin, L & I Medical Director on October 3rd, 2016. Ash Goddard, WEAMA President, also made a presentation on Acupuncture as Alternative to Opioids. We invited Dr. Bowling, MD, a Medical Acupuncturist from Bellingham to speak to the requests of patients who should be receiving acupuncture.

    WEAMA Meeting with L & I

    HB 2383 (2016) Establish acupuncture as a treatment for injured workers

    Last session an EAMP worked with Rep Chris Reykdal in Olympia to initiate HB 2383. The bill did not reflect our goal for EAMPs as “Approved Providers” with L & I. This bill made EAMPs “Attending Providers”. This would require managing patients, initiating an L & I claim and patient care, typically provided by primary care providers. This would require lots of paperwork from our providers!! A revised version of this bill could be WEAMA legislation in 2017 depending on the outcome of our request for rulemaking with L & I.

    L & I Rulemaking or Legislation?

    L & I is currently reviewing the literature review and will decide about adding EAMPs to the list of approved providers by mid-November. Rulemaking to become “Approved Providers” would allow EAMPs to provide acupuncture treatments and remove the acupuncture prohibitions in WAC.

    We only need legislation if L & I refuse to do rulemaking to accept EAMPs as approved providers. A bill passing the legislature would require them to add acupuncture as an approved treatment with L & I. Rep Sells, Chair of House Labor Committee is interested in sponsoring bill if needed. We have a meeting set up with him during the fall legislative days in early December. We are waiting to hear back from L & I before Legislative Days which begin mid-November for the Senate and early December for the House.

    Governor Inslee “Call to Action”

    Ash Goddard and I attended the Governors Call to action Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in WA State on October 7th. We spoke to the panel about using Acupuncture as a first line therapy or in conjunction with Western Medicine. Many organizations starting to integrate acupuncture into practices. Harborview working with Bastyr, Seattle Children’s Hospital has an integrated program and the state Medicaid Program Medical Director spoke about a pilot project in Oregon for Low Back pain. I told her about our literature review.She would like to meet with us to discuss further!

    Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler supports East Asian Medicine!

    In 1985 The Olympian newspaper had picture showing Mike Kreidler getting an acupuncture treatment as your new law went into effect authorizing independent practice. Kreidler used to be Chair of the Health Care Committee and was an optometrist. He is up for re-election the year!

    Office of the Insurance Commissioner Prior Authorization Rulemaking

    This rulemaking is not a big help for EAMPs because prior authorization is not going away. OIC is trying to make it more streamlined. WEAMA has been represented at these stakeholder meetings and has commented on the drafts. Rules have been adopted which established timelines for insurer communication about approvals and requests for more information. Insurers must respond to urgent care requests within 48 hours and normal requests within 5 calendar days.

    The prior authorization rules just finished its second stakeholder review. Several small changes have been proposed that affect communication methods, data collection, and timelines to submit information. SB 6511 established a OneHealthPort workgroup to streamline prior authorizations. No provider groups could access this workgroup, but provider groups may comment on draft proposals at stakeholders' meetings.

    Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) Guidelines on ARNPs & Acupuncture

    NCQAC has proposed guidelines for ARNPs to practice Acupuncture with 300 hours training. Fuji McPherson, ARNP, EAMP is the proponent of the request to NCQAC. WEAMA Position: Opposed, we have submitted comments to NCQAC for review. RCW 18.06.020 says in part, “A person may not practice... acupuncture if the person is not licensed under this chapter.” No safety studies on the practice of acupuncture by nurses with the abbreviated 300-hour training.

    Legislation for RAP Back FBI Fingerprinting

    DOH held an “Associations” meeting on September 26th in Tumwater to discuss their legislative agenda for the next year. In 2016 the Nursing Commission ran legislation to try and establish the RAP Back FBI Fingerprinting system to assist with an Interstate Compact for Nursing.

    The Division of Health Systems Quality Assurance (HSQA) is now considering legislation to implement the RapBack program in Washington State for all health care practitioners.  National and State organizations such as the ACLU and other groups have expressed concerns about this program due to privacy concerns. 

    RapBack is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) program that would allow the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to maintain fingerprints on all health care practitioner licensees and to notify the department when a licensee has a change in their criminal history. They will also check past criminal records and unsolved crimes. Finger printing would be required at license renewal at an estimated cost of $32 for a one-time fee. 

    Legislative Advocacy

    Please respond to WEAMA Legislative Alerts. Your participation makes a big difference! Emails and phone calls to legislators were integral to our success this year in stopping dry needling by PTs and passing our PIT bill.

    Do you know who your legislators are? East Asian Medicine gaining in credibility as health care providers!! Here is a link to find out who your legislators are: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/ Enter your address and you two House of Representative and Senate legislators will appear!

    Meet w/Your local legislators!

    During the interim between legislative sessions is the best time to speak with your legislator before session starts. You get way more time to speak with them in your local communities. Don’t be intimidated. Call them for appointment to discuss issues impacting EAMPs. Their legislative assistants typically answer the phone and set up appointments or respond back to your phone messages. They will set up a meeting time in your local community to meet. You could even intive them to your office! We basically have two main talking points right now:

    Dry Needling is Acupuncture and practitioners need to be licensed EAMPs to practice it.

    L & I should cover Acupuncture treatments. It is a cost effective, non-pharmacological approach to pain treatment that can be an alternative to opioids.

    And please remember, be respectful. Treat a legislator like you would want to be treated. Never argue with a legislator…agree to disagree! We cannot afford to burn bridges as you never know when we will need their support on an important vote.


    WEAMA had over $6,000 WEAMA PAC Donations this year! WEAMA invests time and energy to educate legislators on EAMP issues. Campaigns are expensive and we need to keep legislators that support EAM in office. 2017 will have lots of new legislators so we constantly need to educate and re-educate legislators on our issues to be successful.

    WEAMA’s Success depends on your Support and Participation!
    The more WEAMA members, the louder your voice in the state legislature. The more $$ in your PAC, the more influence you will have electing legislators that support East Asian Medicine. Please get involved. You can make a difference!

    WEAMA is working hard for you!
    Join for less than $16/month or donate to WEAMA or WEAMA PAC today!

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PT dry needling Sunrise Review Draft Report

WA DOH:  "The department does not support the applicant’s proposal to add dry needling to the physical therapy scope of practice. The proposal as submitted does not meet the sunrise criteria for increasing a profession’s scope of practice."  Download DOH Draft Report

WA State Attorney General's Opinion

The WA State Attorney General has issued his opinion stating that dry needling is not within the PT's scope of practice. Read the full opinion

Point Injection Clarification
SHB 2448 Bill Signed

Governor Jay Inslee signed our bill, SHB 2448, which helped clarify over 30 years of ambiguity. Read the Senate Bill Report

Meridians Journal Issues Available

Members can access the latest issue of Meridians Journal.  Login to your account above first.Member Benefits section

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