When I was practicing in Texas, we had a similar law that required a patient has been referred to an acupuncturist. One of the sneaky ways that I was told by the local board to get around this was to have a separate form where the patient gave the name and address of their PHP, verified they had seen an MD for the condition, and was referred by the physician to get acupuncture. Since most patients see acupuncturists after they exhaust all other possibilities, it was never a problem. Last time I checked, neither acupuncture, chiropractor, or naturopathy were extensively covered in med school, yet we had to be given "permission" while chiropractors and naturopaths were allowed to practice unencumbered. At least in Pennsylvania, the scales are beginning to balance.
PA Law Change Makes Alternative Medicine Easier to Obtain
Pennsylvania - Senate Bill 1235, eliminates the requirement for patients to obtain both a written referral and their last physical exam results to keep on file with their acupuncturist to take effect on January 28, 2007
January 24, 2007 - Backed by both Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate, "[S.B.1235] takes away a tremendous burden to our patients, who often waited weeks to procure a referral while their ailments were left untreated," Steven Mavros, Licensed Acupuncturist and representative of the Association for Professional Acupuncture stated.
Since a patient cannot be denied access to their own medical records [HIPAA], this means that the power to choose acupuncture as a complimentary therapy is now in the hands of the patient.
The original 1986 bill required acupuncturists to obtain physician referrals before providing treatment. Now, patients can come in for same day treatment with no paperwork in hand. Treatment may take place for up to 60 days without any diagnosis or referral.Governor Edward Rendell signed S.B.1235 into law on November 30, 2006.
Feel Good Acupuncture, located at 301 Montour Boulevard in Bloomsburg provides acupuncture and herbal services. "It will be a pleasure to be able to take patients for same-day visits. It's very frustrating to turn away a patient that is in pain, because they did not know that they needed to have a referral prior to treatment."