Licensing and Regulations
In Washington, DC, the DC Board of Medicine regulates the practice of acupuncture. The application goes to the Board through the advisory committee. The Board then evaluates applicants’ qualifications, administers exams, and recommends standards and procedures. Below is detailed information and links on applying for licensing, the history of the licensing and regulations in DC, and some things to note about the process.
DC Acupuncture Licensing
DC license application
The DC Board of Medicine regulates the practice of acupuncture in the District of Columbia. To apply for an acupuncture license click on the link above.
DC license renewal
DC Acupuncture License renewals.
Acupuncture techniques covered by licensing
List of techniques covered by a DC Acupuncture License.
License application: Physician collaboration
The D.C. acupuncture license application currently asks for verification of physician collaboration (see Line G on the application form) . The requirement for physician collaboration was rescinded by law in 2004. Until the form and corresponding instructions are revised, we suggest that when you apply you attach a note explaining that by law you are not required to provide physician collaboration. Attach a copy of pages one and 10 of the Health Occupations Revision Act of 2009. The pertinent language is in the last line of paragraph (1) under the definition of acupuncture on page 10. We have put this line in boldface, below. The definition reads as follows:
§ 3-1201.02. Definitions of health occupations For the purposes of this chapter, the term: (1) “Practice of acupuncture” means the insertion of needles, with or without accompanying electrical or thermal stimulation, at a certain point or points on or near the surface of the human body to relieve pain, normalize physiological functions, and treat ailments or conditions of the body. A licensed acupuncturist does not need to enter into a collaboration agreement with a licensed physician or osteopath to practice acupuncture.”
Historical References for DC Acupuncture Licensing and Regulations
Effective July 2004, legislation of acupuncture in the District of Columbia was modified via a bill that was introduced in 2003 to establish legislation for the practice of naturopathic medicine in DC. This was the vehicle through which the earlier requirement for physician collaboration was eliminated.
Original acupuncture regulations: District of Columbia Municipal Regulations for Acupuncture 6/24/004 (PDF)
Introduction: the original bill as introduced to the DC Council
Committee Report: Lists notes of the hearing and all who testified
Engrossment: A modification of the bill
Enrollment: The new legislation
It was the amendment of this bill that eliminated the physician collaboration requirement under the previous legislation. The text of this Act specifically states, “A licensed acupuncturist does not need to enter into a collaboration agreement with a licensed physician or osteopath to practice acupuncture.”
This same act also protected and upheld the high standards that we have come to expect in the traditional Chinese medical profession. In the “Practice of Naturopathic Medicine Licensing Amendment Act of 2004”, D.C. City Council Committee on Health amended the Scope of Practice in the act to read “The term “practice of naturopathic medicine” does not include the practices of physical therapy, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, or chiropractic.”.
DC license renewal: Continuing education requirements of DC acupuncturists
The DC Board of Medicine opened license renewals for 2015-2016 as of October 1, 2014. You will see three new questions on the form: #15, #16, and # 17. These questions are survey questions. They do not reflect any changes in regulations:
15. I have maintained valid certification and/or current Continuing Education credits for my profession.
16. I have current NCCAOM diplomate status.
17. I am a diplomate of Oriental Medicine (Chinese herbololgy).
We want to clarify the meaning of #15, which states: “I have maintained valid certification and/or current Continuing Education credits for my profession.”
By statute all health professionals in D.C. are required to complete CEUs (continuing education credits or units). That said, the number of CEUs required for acupuncturists has never been delineated. In the absence of a specific number requested for our profession, we suggest you try to accumulate at least 30 CEUs going back over the past 2 years. This is the norm for our profession per NCCAOM certification.
We suggest you try to accumulate at least 30 CEUs going back over the past 2 years. Why only 30? Because this is the norm for our profession per NCCAOM certification. In the unlikely event that you are ever audited for CEUs, please let us know. Also, be sure to retain all your certificates in the event of audit.