Legislative Updates displays bills pending in the 2018 state legislative sessions. Some bills were carried over from 2017, while others were filed in 2018.  It is updated weekly.  To view bills from the 2013-2017 sessions and their results, see Legislative Archive.  

Bills are listed by state and subject, with a brief explanation of what's in the bill. Unless indicated otherwise, we believe the listed bills should not pass. Unfortunately, most CAM bills filed in the state legislatures are pro-CAM.  Bills added to the list this week, or with updated information, are marked NEW! 

To voice your opinion on these bills (and we hope you will) you need to find out where they are in the legislative process and how to contact state legislators in the states where they are pending. See FAQS for more information on how to do this. Each year there are many bills forcing public and private health insurance providers to cover CAM services (especially chiropractic). Because of the sheer volume of these bills we are unable to include them in our legislative updates at this time.

Naturopathy

For more information on naturopathy and why naturopaths should not be licensed see former ND Britt Hermes's blog, Naturopathic Diaries, and her posts on Science-Based Medicine (type "Hermes" in search box.)  She details the disturbing lack of education and training of naturopaths, as well as their appalling practices. For information on how naturopathic licensing efforts are funded by dietary supplement companies, see "Naturopaths, often derided as quacks, push to go mainstream -- with help from vitamin companies."

ALASKA: Senate Bill 120,  House Bill 326SB 120 to Senate Comms. on Labor & Commerce and Finance; HB 326 to House Comms. on Finance and Labor & Commerce. Major practice expansion. Alaska naturopaths currently have a fairly narrow scope of practice. This bill would allow naturopaths to diagnose or treat any patient of any age with any disease or condition via "support and stimulation of an individual's inherent self-healing processes," i.e, vitalism, a long-discredited prescientific notion that a supernatural force guides human bodily functioning. Nevertheless, naturopaths would be able to prescribe drugs (except controlled substances and chemotherapy), perform minor office surgery, perform and order diagnostic testing, which would permit them to employ the sort of quack tests typical of naturopathic practice and diagnose fake diseases like "adrenal fatigue" and "chronic candidiasis." Naturopathic education and training are insufficient to allow them to safely practice primary care, which is essentially what this bill allows, especially prescription privileges

ARIZONA: NEW!  Senate Bill 1085. Passed Senate; to House Comms. on Health and Rules.  Although SfSBM does not normally follow bills forcing insurers to cover CAM practices, SB 1085 is an exception, because it defines naturopathic "doctors" as primary care practitioners under the state's Medicaid system. This means that Medicaid funds will have to pay for inpatient and outpatients services, labs, X-rays, medical supplies and home health services ordered by an ND. Because theses services will be covered, at least some of the vulnerable Medicaid population will use NDs as their primary care practitioners, thereby subjecting them to substandard care from providers who are insufficiently educated and trained to safely practice primary care, especially complex medical conditions. Because Medicaid will not cover fake diagnoses, like "adrenal fatigue" and "chronic candidiasis," Medicaid patients will either have to pay for worthless treatments for fake diseases out of their own pockets, or suffer the anxiety of having a "disease" they think they cannot afford to treat. Naturopaths also push scams like "detoxes," another luxury for the worried well that Medicaid patients cannot afford. 

CALIFORNIA:  Senate Bill 746. To Senate Comms. on Education and Business, Professions & Economic Development. Practice expansion. Would allow chiropractors, naturopaths and nurse practitioners to perform school physicals required for interscholastic athletic play. 

COLORADO:  House Bill 1068. Passed House; to Senate, where bill was postponed indefinitely.  Colorado allows naturopaths to register, but does not license them. Last year, the Colorado General Assembly passed a law requiring naturopaths to use the term “Registered Naturopathic Doctor” (RND) to avoid public confusion. The naturopaths do not like this, so this year they got a bill introduced eliminating the requirement. 

CONNECTICUT:  House Bill 5294Failed legislative deadline for further consideration. Practice expansion to include prescriptive authority. In 2017, the CT Dept. of Public Health issued an unfavorable report (access here) on naturopaths being granted prescription privileges, including an extensive discussion of their lack of education and training in pharmacology. Nevertheless, a bill has been introduced granting prescription privileges, leaving it up to the Dept., in consultation with the State Board of Naturopathic Examiners, to establish additional requirements for prescription privileges and a formulary, with no input required from the medical or pharmacy professions. 

HAWAII:  House Bill 1949, Senate Bill 2299HB 1949 passed in Judiciary and Health & Human Services Comms. with request that naturopaths address concerns about use of testosterone in "anti-aging" and side effects before Interstate Commerce Comm., which voted HB 1949 favorably out of Comm.; HB 1949 to House Comms. on Judiciary and Consumer Protection & Commerce. Senate passed SB 2299 as amended by Senate Judiciary Comm. making effective date July 1, 2035 "to encourage further discussion;" SB 2299 to House.  Once again, naturopaths are seeking the authority to prescribe testosterone. Both bills describe naturopaths as experts in “bio-identical hormones.” “Bio-identical hormones” is a marketing, not a medical, term, and their prescription is not recommended by experts.  Naturopaths do not have the education and training to prescribe, a fact that even the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners has admitted. Their knowledge of endocrinology is insufficient as well.  Amendments to both bills clarify that naturopaths are not allowed to prescribe narcotics. 

ILLINOIS:  Senate Bill 708; House Bill 2530SB 708 postponed Senate Comms. on Assignments and Licensed Activities & Pensions, rereferred to Assignments Comm. HB 2530 referred House Comm. on Health Care Licenses, rereferred to House Comm. on Rules. Licensing bill. Similar to failed bills introduced in past legislative sessions, SB 708 and HB 2530 do not define the scope of practice for naturopathic "doctors," who must have graduated from a naturopathic "medical" school and passed the NPLEX. Would be regulated by state board of medicine, to which one naturopathic member would be added. Would be allowed to call themselves naturopathic "physicians." 

INDIANA:  House Bill 1427. Failed; Legislature adjourned. Indiana does not currently license the practice of naturopathy. This licensing bill would allow a broad scope of practice, similar to that of a primary care physician, in that naturopathic “doctors” could diagnose and treat any patient of any age with any disease or condition. They would be limited only in the diagnostic methods and treatments they could employ. Treatments include manipulation, colon hydrotherapy (which is quackery), botanicals, homeopathy (also quackery), dietary supplements (which are poorly regulated and have insufficient evidence of safety and efficacy), “nutraceuticals” and nonprescription drugs, using routes of administration that include vaginal, rectal and intramuscular. Would be allowed to prescribe drugs, including controlled substances, approved by a Board of Naturopathic Medicine, consisting of 5 naturopaths and two public members, and could administer these prescription drugs via intradermal, subcutaneous or intravenous routes of administration. Could order and perform diagnostic testing, including phlebotomy, lab tests (naturopaths often use bogus lab tests to diagnose fictional diseases and conditions), and electrocardiograms, and order and interpret the reports of diagnostic imaging studies. Licensees could practice after graduating from naturopathic school without having done any internship or residency and passing NPLEX exam. For the reasons why naturopathic “doctors” should not be licensed see Key legislative points pertaining to the licensing and regulation of practitioners of naturopathic medicine in North America; for a look at naturopathic diagnostic methods and treatments see Naturopathic Diaries; for a review of the insufficiency of their education and training to prescribe drugs, see A Report based on the Committee on the Practice of Naturopathy (Connecticut; accessible here) and Naturopathic scope of practice expansion killed in North Dakota; for a discussion of the ethical issues regarding in-office sales of dietary supplements and other remedies, see In-office sales is an ethical problem for naturopathic medicine. 

INDIANA:  Failed; Legislature adjourned. Senate Resolution 45. Resolution urges the legislative council to assign a study committee to study issues related to the creation of a license to practice naturopathic medicine. Resolution makes many unsupported claims about naturopathic doctors, such as that they are capable of practicing primary care and can help with shortage of primary care providers in rural areas. 

MICHIGAN:  Senate Bill 826Senate Comm. on Regulatory Reform recommends that bill pass; referred to Senate Comm. of the Whole.  Initial licensing bill with a very broad scope of practice and self-regulation. Once again, a bill licensing naturopathic "doctors" has been introduced. Naturopaths who have graduated from accredited naturopathic "medical" schools (unlike MDs and DOs, residency is not required) could become licensed to diagnose and treat any patient of any age with any disease or condition and call themselves "physicians." Would be regulated by a naturopathic board consisting of 4 NDs, 1 MD or DO, and 2 public members. In addition to bogus remedies like dietary supplements and homeopathy (which they could sell to patients) could prescribe drugs on a naturopathic formulary devised by a formulary committee consisting of 2 NDs, 2 pharmacists and only 1 MD or DO. Would be allowed to perform minor office surgery, including biopsies. Could order and perform lab tests (including bogus testing favored by naturopaths) and order diagnostic testing, and use almost all routes of administration, including IV, allowing them to inject patients with worthless and potentially dangerous vitamin, mineral and herbal "cocktails." Naturopathic board is given the unfettered authority to add "other naturopathic therapies" to scope of practice if board thinks naturopathic education and training is sufficient. (Hint: it almost certainly isn't.) To keep traditional naturopaths from opposing the bill, it doesn't prohibit practice of traditional naturopathy.  For the reasons why naturopathic “doctors” should not be licensed see Key legislative points pertaining to the licensing and regulation of practitioners of naturopathic medicine in North America; for a look at naturopathic diagnostic methods and treatments see Naturopathic Diaries; for a review of the insufficiency of their education and training to prescribe drugs, see A Report based on the Committee on the Practice of Naturopathy (Connecticut; accessible here) and Naturopathic scope of practice expansion killed in North Dakota; for a discussion of the ethical issues regarding in-office sales of dietary supplements and other remedies, see In-office sales is an ethical problem for naturopathic medicine. 

MINNESOTA:  Senate Bill 1514 House Bill 1138. SB 1514 referred to Health & Human Services Finance & Policy; HB 1138 referred to House Health & Human Services Reform Comm. Major practice expansion. Changes naturopathy from a registered to a licensed health care profession. Adds authority to prescribe drugs, do minor office surgery, perform biopsies, and do speculum & orificial exams and phlebotomy. Can use the term "naturopathic physician." 

MISSISSIPPI:  Senate Bill 2749. Failed; died in committee. Naturopathic licensing bill similar to one defeated last year. would give naturopathic "physicians" an extremely broad scope of practice. Naturopathy defined as "primary care for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment" of any disease or condition in any patient of any age via "stimulation of patient's inherent self-healing processes," i.e., vitalism. In addition, would permit "naturopathic childbirth attendance," prescribing drugs from a naturopathic formulary, and minor office surgery. Could also prescribe and sell to patients worthless and potentially dangerous dietary supplementsherbs, and homeopathic remedies using virtually all routes of administration, including IVs. They use colon hydrotherapy and order diagnostic imaging as well as, under the supervision of a medical doctor, order and perform other lab tests, giving them the ability to use unvalidated testing to diagnose fabricated diseases (also here). Would be regulated by the state medical board, assisted by a naturopathic advisory committee. For the reasons why naturopathic “doctors” should not be licensed see Key legislative points pertaining to the licensing and regulation of practitioners of naturopathic medicine in North America; for a look at naturopathic diagnostic methods and treatments see Naturopathic Diaries; for a review of the insufficiency of their education and training to prescribe drugs, see A Report based on the Committee on the Practice of Naturopathy (Connecticut; accessible here) and Naturopathic scope of practice expansion killed in North Dakota; for a discussion of the ethical issues regarding in-office sales of dietary supplements and other remedies, see In-office sales is an ethical problem for naturopathic medicine. 

NEW YORK:  Senate Bill 4297, Assembly Bill 5913SB 4297 referred to Senate Comm. on Higher Education; AB 5913 referred to Assembly Comm. on Higher Education. This will be the ninth consecutive legislative session a licensing bill has been introduced. Gives naturopaths a broad scope of practice "to address the shortage of primary care physicians." Is based on the fiction that naturopaths can stimulate the "inherent property in a living organism to heal itself," i.e., vitalism. Would allow naturopaths to diagnose and treat any patient of any age with any disease or condition. Allows the use of bogus "CLIA-waived" tests, including diagnostic tests that have never been validated, which they use to diagnose fake diseases. Naturopaths would be able to prescribe worthless homeopathic remedies, dietary supplements, herbs, thyroid hormones, estrogen, progesterone and DHEA, which they would be able to administer by all the usual routes (vaginal, rectal, oral) and, if registered with the state, by injection, including IV administration. This would permit them to concoct dubious remedies like Myers cocktails, high dose vitamin C and other substances and administer them intravenously. Could order diagnostic imaging, including MRIs and thermography, and perform cryotherapy, ligation, fulguration, other minor office procedures and colonics. Would be regulated by a naturopathic board consisting of six naturopaths, two public members and one MD or DO. If bill passes, after two years naturopaths would have to have completed a one-year "residency" to become licensed. 

NORTH CAROLINA:  Senate Bill 258; House Bill 692. SB 258 to Senate Comm. on Rules; HB 692 to House Comm. on Finance. This will be the 8th consecutive legislative session in which a naturopathic regulatory bill has been introduced. The latest attempt creates "certification" for naturopaths but otherwise gives them the scope of practice they generally want to start with before coming back to the state legislatures year after year to expand their scope, as the current and archived Legislative Updates demonstrate they regularly do. Naturopaths who've graduated from an accredited naturopathic school and passed the NPLEX would be allowed to diagnose and treat any patient of any age with any condition or disease, no matter how complex. They could order and dispense (read: sell) "natural" remedies, including food, "nutraceuticals," dietary supplements and homeopathic remedies. They could employ their quack diagnostic tests and order diagnostic imaging (fortunately, interpretation of imaging would be left to professionals). They would be able to use oral, nasal, rectal and vaginal routes of administration; injections and IVs are neither excluded or included. Would be regulated by a Naturopathic Doctors Certification Board, with a majority of the board being naturopaths. No malpractice insurance is required and no prohibition against substandard care (only "gross negligence") or false advertising is contained in the bill. 

NORTH CAROLINA: House Bill 277. Original bill dealt with prescription drug abuse committee and passed House as such; Senate Health Care Comm. substituted totally different language and passed; now before Comm. on Rules & Operations of the Senate. Would establish a "work group" to study "the appropriate oversight and regulation" of naturopathic practice in North Carolina, although the game seems rigged in favor of licensing by commanding the work group to "identify an approved study of naturopathic medicine" but which defines same so that only one outcome can be reached, that being the current system of self-regulated naturopathic schools which teach homeopathy, "detoxification," anti-vaccination ideology and other pseudoscience. The work group would consist of two naturopaths appointed by the North Carolina Association of Naturopathic "Physicians," two MDs (one of whom must have experience working with naturopathic doctors) and a designee of the state Secretary of Health. 

OKLAHOMA:  Senate Bill 1518. Licensing bill. Would allow naturopaths to call themselves “naturopathic physicians” and diagnose and treat any patient of any age with any disease or condition. Describes naturopathy as “primary health care.” Would be regulated by osteopathy board, advised by a Naturopathic Medicine Committee. Although the bill provides for the creation of a naturopathic formulary of prescription medicines, and defines “minor office procedures” and “approved substances” (which includes homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements), the bill does not specifically define naturopathic practice to include either of these or drugs on the formulary. Presumably the osteopathic board’s regulations will address these matters. For the reasons why naturopathic “doctors” should not be licensed see Key legislative points pertaining to the licensing and regulation of practitioners of naturopathic medicine in North America; for a look at naturopathic diagnostic methods and treatments see Naturopathic Diaries; for a review of the insufficiency of their education and training to prescribe drugs, see A Report based on the Committee on the Practice of Naturopathy (Connecticut; accessible here) and Naturopathic scope of practice expansion killed in North Dakota; for a discussion of the ethical issues regarding in-office sales of dietary supplements and other remedies, see In-office sales is an ethical problem for naturopathic medicine. 

PENNSYLVANIA: Senate Bill 834Referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensing Comm. Just last year, Pennsylvania passed a naturopathic registration act, allowing naturopathic "doctors" to register with the state, without defining a scope of practice and leaving the details up to the state medical board, under whose jurisdiction naturopaths would practice. As predicted, this was simply a "foot-in-the-door" strategy and naturopaths are already back before the General Assembly with a licensing bill that would allow them to diagnose and treat any patient with any disease or condition, although they would still operate under the jurisdiction of the medical board. As is typical, the licensing bill defines naturopathy as vitalism  ("to support and stimulate the individual's intrinsic self-healing processes," a long-discredited, pre-scientific notion of human bodily functioning. Naturopathic "doctors" with four-year degrees from naturopathic "medical schools" who pass the NPLEX could perform and order diagnostic testing, order diagnostic imaging studies, and prescribe dietary supplements, homeopathic remedies, herbs, and other nostrums of dubious efficacy and safety, like colonic irrigation. They would be required to have $1 million in malpractice insurance and must refer a patient "presenting a contradiction to naturopathic medicine" to a physician. They could not prescribe drugs or perform surgery and cannot call themselves "physicians." 

WASHINGTON:  Senate Bill 5369Failed; Legislature adjourned. Referred to Senate Comm. on Health Care. Practice expansion bill.  Would expand authority to prescribe controlled substances to include all Schedule III, IV, and V controlled substances with additional education requirements determined by the naturopathic board. Currently, the board permits limited controlled substances prescribing with only 4 hours of additional education. Board would also be given exclusive authority to determine what minor office surgery naturopaths could perform and what are cryptically described as "other nutrients, compounds, and natural substances" naturopaths could prescribe and sell to patients. Would allow naturopaths to sign "guardianships, powers of attorney, disability determinations, and similar legal documents." 

WYOMING: House Bill 151. Failed; did not consider for introduction vote. Typical broad-scope licensing bill introduced, describing naturopathy as a form of "primary care" and allowing naturopathic "doctors" to, among other things, inject patients with their bogus vitamin and mineral "cocktails," perform minor office surgery, prescribe (and sell to patients) homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements, and practice obstetrics

  

Chiropractic

ALABAMA:   House Bill 136; Senate Bill 234. SB 234 passed Senate and House, where it was substituted for HB 136; signed into law by Governor.  Would allow chiropractors to enter into direct payment agreements with patients, but does not, unlike a new Tennessee law or a  bill passed in Florida, permit chiropractors to call these “direct primary care agreements,” falsely implying that chiropractors can provide primary care as that term is commonly understood.

CALIFORNIA:  Senate Bill 746. To Senate Comms. on Education and Business, Professions & Economic Development. Practice expansion. Would allow chiropractors, naturopaths and nurse practitioners to perform school physicals required for interscholastic athletic play. 

FLORIDA:  Senate Bill 80; House Bill 37. HB 37 passed House; Senate substituted for SB 80 and passed; signed into law by Governor. Bills include chiropractors among those who can enter into direct primary care (DPC) agreements with patients. Under DPCs, patients pay a fixed amount for specified services. Passage of these bills will predictably result in (1) chiropractors signing patients up for regular “adjustments” of non-existent “subluxations” for “wellness” and (2) chiropractors (aided by the term “direct primary care agreement”) convincing patients that they should be the first stop for all their health care needs, in accordance with the chiropractic industry’s push to rebrand themselves as “primary care physicians.” For more information, see Science-Based Medicine’s series on the “DC as PCP" and "Direct Primary Care Agreements and Chiropractors: A bad deal for patients."

ILLINOIS:  House Bill 4925Re-referred to Rules Comm. By defining chiropractors as "physicians" for purposes of student athlete concussion statute, would allow chiropractors to evaluate student athletes for, and sign off on returning to play after, a concussion. Would allow allow chiropractors on school "concussion oversight teams," which develop student athlete concussion policies. Chiropractors are not properly educated and trained to diagnose and treat brain injuries. "Chiropractic neurology" is based on pseudoscience. Chiropractors treat concussions with "adjustments" to "subluxations," both of which are chiropractic fictions and do nothing to improve patient health, much less brain injuries.

INDIANA:  House Bill 1384, Senate Bill 160. HB 1384 passed House & Senate, with amendments; signed into law by Governor. Major practice expansion bills. Chiropractic is currently defined as diagnosis and treatment of “interference with normal nerve transmission,” i.e., traditional subluxation-based chiropractic. As originally drafted, bills would allow examination and treatment of all human ailments as long as no surgery or prescription drugs are used, and removed prohibitions on use of ionizing radiation, conducting invasive diagnostic testing and analysis of bodily fluids, and prohibitions on treatment of infectious diseases, endocrine disorders, or atypical or abnormal histology. Original bills allowed the use of any therapy to treat any “injury, condition or disorder” as long as the therapy is taught in a chiropractic college or in an approved postgraduate program. Fortunately, subsequent amendments trimmed some of these privileges and prohibitions on use of ionizing radiation, treatment of infectious diseases, endocrine disorders and abnormal histology were added, although chiropractors can apparently diagnose and treat any other injury, condition or disorder.  Provision allowing anything taught in a chiropractic college removed. Nevertheless, chiropractors will be able prescribe and sell dietary supplements to patients to treat illness under the guise of “nutritional counseling," use dry needling, and have expanded use of diagnostic testing to "prepare a proper chiropractic diagnosis," whatever that means. It remains to be seen how far chiropractors will push the envelope with these new privileges.   

MARYLAND:  Senate Bill 164; House Bill 623SB 164 failed in Senate Comm. on Education, Health & Environmental Affairs with only one dissenting vote. HB 623 failed in House Comm. on Ways & Means by unanimous vote and withdrawn by sponsor. This is chiropractic practice-building disguised as a public health initiative. Would require certain measures be taken to educate parents and students about the dangers of heavy backpacks. Requires inclusion of information from “trained medical personnel.” Permits county education boards to implement policy allowing chiropractors to perform scoliosis exams on students.  Chiropractors will presumably become the “trained medical personnel” who provide the required information, thereby allowing them to advertise their services to parents and promote chiropractic treatment of pediatric patients. Routine screening for scoliosis is controversial. The Scoliosis Research Society, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believe that “screening examinations for spine deformity should be part of the medical home preventative services visit for females at age 10 and 12 years, and males once at age 13 or 14 years” and do not endorse routine screenings of the type described in this bill.  Chiropractic treatment of scoliosis is not recommended by the Scoliosis Research Society and spinal manipulation for scoliosis is generally not covered by insurance. Even the General Assembly's own staff analysis noted that the AAP recommends against this type of routine screening. 

MISSOURI: Senate Bill 746, House Bill 1911HB 1911 passed favorably out of House Comm. on Agriculture Policy with minor amendment; to House Comm. on Rules. Permits the practice of animal chiropractic by veterinarians and chiropractors. Animal chiropractic is described in traditional subluxation-based terms, referring to the “vertebral subluxation complex.” Chiropractic subluxations have never been shown to exist in either humans or animals. Unsurprisingly, therefore, there is no reliable way to detect these subluxations, treat them, or any evidence that treatment has a positive effect on health.

NEW YORK:  Assembly Bill 8541, Senate Bill 7247. AB 8541 to Assembly Comm. on Higher Ed. Practice expansion bill. These poorly-worded bills substitute one pseudoscientific definition of chiropractic for another. Current law allows chiropractors to remove "nerve interference" via the detection and correction of "subluxations." These bills allows chiropractors to diagnose "the human body" for "any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition" by detecting and correcting "subluxations." Of course, the chiropractic "subluxation" does not exist and the entire premise of the bill is based on a fiction. Would permit chiropractors with vaguely described additional training to to engage in "wellness care methods" and give dietary and nutritional advice, including dispensing dietary supplements. Bills would also expand chiropractors right to use lab testing and electrodiagnostic testing, as well as perform manipulation under anesthesia. Would allow allow chiropractors to call themselves chiropractic "physicians." These provisions are typical of the American Chiropractic Association's campaign to rebrand chiropractors as "primary care physicians" and "chiropractic internists."  

NORTH CAROLINA:  House Bill 818. To House Comm. on Health. Allows chiropractors to perform school physicals for students participating in interscholastic athletics. Harriet Hall, MD, explains why chiropractors are not competent to perform school physicals on Science-Based Medicine. 

UTAH:  Senate Bill 229. Failed; Legislature adjourned. Practice expansion. Would allow chiropractors to order diagnostic evaluations, lab tests, and imaging studies and prescribe durable medical equipment. Would also allow chiropractors to prescribe and sell to patients dietary supplements, cellular components and homeopathic remedies. The combination of the authority to order lab tests and prescribe supplements and homeopathy will allow chiropractors to diagnose supposed nutritional deficiencies with unvalidated testing and sell prescribe supplements to patients, including the practice of so-called "functional medicine." 

WISCONSIN: Assembly Bill 260; Senate Bill 232.  AB 260 passed Assembly, to Senate; Senate amended, deleting right to perform physicals; passed Senate; Assembly concurred in Senate amendment; signed into law by Governor.  Practice expansion bill. As originally drafted, would allow chiropractors to perform physical exams for student athletes, including college athletes. Requires chiropractor to hold "certificate in health or physical examinations" but the education, training and any other requirements for these certificates would be solely up to the chiropractic board. Many groups opposed the bill, including the Wisconsin Medical Society, which rightly pointed out that chiropractors aren't qualified to examine students for cardiovascular problems, mental health, and substance abuse issues, among others. Also opposed by several medical specialty groups, the state nurses and athletic trainers associations, hospitals, insurance groups and "straight" chiropractors. Harriet Hall, MD, herself a retired family practice physician, explained why chiropractors aren't qualified to perform sports physicals on Science-Based Medicine. Bill would have allowed the practice of something called "chiropractic acupuncture," which is opposed by acupuncturists, but Assembly amendments stripped these provisions from AB 260. As finally passed, allows federally-qualified chiropractors to perform federal motor vehicle safety physicals and to employ nurses, but practice expansion provisions were stripped out by amendments. 

 

 

Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Oriental Medicine

CALIFORNIA:  Assembly Bill 3142. Extends Acupuncture Board and its authority to regulate the practice of acupuncture to 2023.

LOUISIANA: NEW! House Bill 421. Passed House; reported favorably out of Senate Comm. on Health & Welfare; to Legislative Bureau. Eliminates requirement in current law that acupuncturists have a relationship with a physician, in accordance with rules established by the medical board, to provide for referrals and follow-up care. 

MASSACHUSETTS: House Bill 3247Heard 11/07/2017 before Joint Comm. on Public Health; in Joint Comm. on Health Care Financing; eligible for Executive Session. There is a turf war going on between acupuncturists and physical therapists over the practice of "dry needling." Acupuncturists claim dry needling is the practice of acupuncture and is not within the scope of practice of physical therapists. This bill defines the insertion of filiform needles as acupuncture, thereby settling the issue in favor of acupuncturists and effectively preventing physical therapists from performing dry needling unless it is added to the PT practice act. 

MICHIGAN: Senate Bill 683. Referred to Senate Comm. on Health Policy. Acupuncture licensing and scope of practice expansion bill. Michigan currently allows acupuncturists to register with the state and limits their practice to needle acupuncture. SB 683 would allow acupuncturists to become licensed and vastly expand their scope of practice to include laser acupuncture, electroacupuncture and dry needling as well as "dermal friction" (gua sha), cupping, prescribing herbal remedies, and homeopathy (which has nothing to do with Traditional Chinese Medicine). Acupuncturists will be able to diagnose and treat any disease or condition in patients of any age using "traditional and contemporary East Asian medical theory." Would also allow the practice of auricular acupuncture for substance abuse treatment by anyone with a certification from the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association practicing under the supervision of a acupuncturist or physician. (NADA auricular acupuncture has never been proven effective for substance abuse.) 

MINNESOTA: Senate Bill 1958; House Bill 2389. SB 1958 from Senate Comm. on Health & Human Services, voted "do pass;" read second time in Senate and re-referred to Health & Human Services. HB 2389 to House Comm. on Health & Human Services Reform. Appropriates $375,000 to do what is essentially a worthless study amounting to no more than a collection of anecdotes which will supposedly determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain and its potential to reduce opioid use. 

OKLAHOMA:  Senate Bills 1119, 1501, 1523. SB 1119, 1501 & 1523 to Senate Comm. on Health & Human Services; SB 1523 voted "do pass" (with amendment) out of Health & Human Services; to Senate Comm. on Appropriations. Oklahoma is one of the few states that does not license acupuncturists. Three  different licensing bills have been introduced in the state Senate. SB 1119 and 1501 contain similar provisions, permitting needle acupuncture for “promoting, maintaining and restoring health” even though acupuncture has not been proven to do any of these things, including alleviation of pain. Permits the practice of National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) “auricular acupuncture” for treating mental and emotional health, post and acute trauma, substance abuse, and chemical dependency. The proposed mechanism of action for “auricular acupuncture” is highly implausible and NADA’s promotion of it for substance abuse and other conditions is based on an unpublished and cherry-picked review of the evidence. Acupuncture Board would regulate acupuncturists. SB 1523 goes even further, describing acupuncture as “primary health care” and allowing acupuncturists to diagnose (using fanciful methods like tongue and pulse diagnosis) and treat for same purposes as other bills as well as “disease prevention.” Acupuncturists can, in addition to needle acupuncture, employ moxibustion, herbal therapies, and “other adjunctive properties.” Also permits the practice of “Oriental medicine.” Under SB 1523, regulation would be under the state osteopathic board in consultation with an acupuncture committee.

WEST VIRGINIA:  House Bill 4465. Failed; Legislature adjourned.  Authorizes state acupuncture board to issue certificates to "auricular acupuncture detoxification specialists" trained in the National Auricular Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NASA) protocol to perform "auricular acudetox" for the treatment of substance abuse, alcoholism, chemical dependency, detoxification, behavioral therapy and trauma recovery. The proposed mechanism of action for “auricular acupuncture” is highly implausible and NADA’s promotion of it for substance abuse and other conditions is based on an unpublished and cherry-picked review of the evidence.