I post a lot about this, but I cannot help but be excited over the validation of my profession in this state . . . especially since we, thankfully, are not the last one to pass a regulatory law!
Acupuncture now regulated health care in Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Thousands of years after the Chinese invented the procedure and three decades after states first began overseeing its practice, Kentucky is making acupuncture a regulated form of medical care.
Beginning next year acupuncturists in Kentucky who want to practice the art of sticking hairlike needles into various pressure points around the body to relieve pain will have to be certified.
The law - which Gov. Ernie Fletcher signed on April 26 - went into effect on Saturday.
The regulations will require acupuncturists who want to practice in Kentucky to pass a national certification program from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. They must also receive 1,800 hours of education from an accredited acupuncture training program.
Non-certified acupuncturists who are already working in the state have until July 1, 2007 to meet the requirements.
For Dr. Maureen Flannery, who runs an acupuncture practice in Berea, the new law validates her belief that the practice is a legitimate form of medicine.
"This was a long time coming," Flannery said. "I think it's important for consumers and practitioners to know who is trained when they're accessing care. Before this, there was no way for people to judge who was well trained."
Nancy Butler of Lexington began receiving acupuncture to recover from a rotator cuff injury and became such a fan that she's allowed her dog to go under the needles. She said the law will open the practice to people who previously may have been reluctant to try it.
"It's just really important for people to have access to something inexpensive that could help them terrifically," she said. "It's a form of healing that for thousands of years has worked."
The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure - which monitors the practices of medical doctors and physicians' assistants - will oversee the practice of acupuncturists. An eight-member advisory committee will meet with the board regularly to keep it updated.
There are 18 acupuncturists currently working in Kentucky according to the certification commission. However, the new guidelines could lure more practitioners to the state.
"It's becoming more mainstream," said Kathleen Fluhart, a nationally credited acupuncturist. "It makes us be more acknowledged and recognized."