Updates on Legislation Related to Dry Needling – The Unlicensed and Unregulated Practice of Acupuncture in Massachusetts
The ASM continues to help push two important bills through the house and senate. The bills are critical to the acupuncture profession, for both practitioners and patients. One is related to the issue of dry needling and the other is an acupuncture/insurance bill.
Legislative Sessions 2023-2024
What It is: An Act Relative to the Safer Treatment of Pain
H 2270 & S 1355 (has house and senate versions of the bill)
What It Does: This legislation would ensure that all providers providing pain treatment with acupuncture/filiform needles are properly trained, vetted, regulated and licensed and will require licensed health care providers to have adequate training, clinical hours, independent testing and continuing education to validate and maintain their skills.
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Legislative Sessions 2021-2022
Past Bills Related to Dry Needling
What It Is: An Act Relative to Safer Treatment for Pain S 1402 and An Act Relative to Dry Needling H 2273 (the same bills with different names).
What It Does: Ensures patients receive the best qualified care by codifying into law specific and clear didactic and clinical criteria for practice of dry needling for any provider who is not a licensed acupuncturist, MD or DO in the Commonwealth.
Please Participate: At various times we ask for your help to contact the specific Joint Committee heads that are reviewing and making recommendations on whether or not these bills are passed. We simply ask that you email or call the individuals that are reviewing these bills and we provide all the instructions. Instructions for Legislation Relative to Dry Needling (older PDF download)
S 1402 text. Latest Action: 3/24/22 – Bill S1402 was reported favorably out of Committee and has moved on to the Health Care Financing Committee.
H 2273 text Latest Action: Reporting date extended to Wednesday June 1, 2022, pending concurrence
Older Dry Needling News
Bills introduced in the 190th session Beginning 1/17/2017 and ending 12/18/2017
- H3247 An Act relative to the safe treatment of pain submitted by Presenter Representative John Lawn. Petitioners Solomon Goldstein-Rose, Peter V. Kocot, & John W. Scibak
- S1182 An Act relative to the safe treatment of pain submitted by Presenter Senator Julian Cyr. Petitioners Sarah K. Peake & John W. Scibak
Older Update From the ASM Dry Needling Task Force
Why the Bill “An Act Relative to the Safe Treatment of Pain” matters:
An act relative to Dry Needling will codify into law specific, legal standards for the practice of dry needling/Trigger Point Acupuncture for any provider who is not a licensed acupuncturist, MD or DO in the Commonwealth.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “dry needling” is neither in, nor out of, the scope of practice for allied health professionals. There are no rules preventing them from performing dry needling and also no rule giving them permission to do so. Due to the lack of clear rules, some physical therapists are practicing acupuncture under the pseudonym dry needling, bypassing the requirements licensed acupuncturists are required to meet.
This document from the American Society of Acupuncturists provides clear information about dry needling and why it is essential to support appropriate, rigorous education and licensing for anyone who wishes to practice acupuncture — including biomedical or integrative acupuncture currently referred to as “dry needling”.
The statement was approved by the representatives of the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA), which represents the profession on a national level.
The same sentiment is echoed by the American Medical Association (AMA) position statement on dry needling.
The ASM has submitted a petition to of the Board of Allied Health (BOAH) asking them to rule dry needling out of the scope of practice for physical therapists. We have received confirmation of receipt and are awaiting for a response through the lawyers.
This process accrues expenses and fees for lawyers and our lobbyist and more. Please donate what you can, any amount supports our efforts.
The BOAH has since chosen not to hear our petition. This is of concern as the charge of that Board is consumer protection and by not hearing our petition, it gives the appearance of not protecting consumer interests. It allows PTs to continue practicing acupuncture under the pseudonym dry needling in the Commonwealth.
The Committee on Acupuncture is updating scope of practice regulations regarding the definition of acupuncture and scope of practice. These changes will give acupuncturists and the ASM stronger footing to proceed with dry needling legislation. Many of you wrote comments to the COA. Licensed Acupuncturists Steve Cina, Amy Mager and Linda Robinson Hidas gave testimony at the Board of Registration in Medicine pursuant to this effort. We will update you as we hear after the next Committee on Acupuncture meeting.
We continue to address this issue in a multi-pronged way because people are using an invasive procedure, that is licensed in MA, without appropriate evaluation, examination and licensure to do so.
When you have patients willing to either 1. Tell their story of injury or harm from under trained practitioners practicing acupuncture under the pseudonym dry needling or 2. Are willing to have you share their story please email it to me at the email below.
If you have any questions or want to be involved in making sure everyone in MA who uses a metal/dry/filiform needle for therapeutic purpose is licensed, please contact: