New Changes for Acupuncture License Renewal
There are a few new changes to acupuncture continuing education requirements both nationally and within individual states. Nationally, the NCCAOM has added a new requirement to distance online learning courses. This is the inclusion of a worksheet that must be submitted prior to taking a quiz. This does not apply to live webinars and in-person conferences. The worksheet applies acupuncture continuing education online courses that involve reading PDFs, watching videos, listening to audio files and working through computerized learning instruments. For these distance learning courses, the worksheet is essentially a pre-quiz to ensure that the learner is grasping and retaining the material presented. It is an added step in the educational pedagogy intended to enhance the overall learning experience.
At HealthCMi this will usually take the form of about 4 to 7 questions that resemble a quiz format. However, these questions are not graded. Rather, they are there to support the learning material. Submission of the pre-quiz worksheet is now an NCCAOM requirement prior to gaining access to the quiz. As always, a survey is also required by many regulatory bodies following the quiz. The NCCAOM is tightening the reigns on acupuncture continuing education courses in an effort to raise the bar on educational standards. A worksheet review, called a pre-quiz at HealthCMi, does make sense and simulates a small quiz that may precede a final exam in a classroom setting. Expect to see the worksheet pre-quiz phased-in on all acupuncture continuing education websites featuring online distance learning over the next few months.
The goal of all courses at HealthCMi is to directly improve patient care and to provide a straightforward learning experience and the new NCCAOM requirements are consistent with these values. Expect this process to evolve and to see increased regulatory expectations over the years from the NCCAOM. They were early adopters of the safety and ethics requirements along with the Florida Board of Acupuncture. In Florida, this is termed the medical errors requirement. An interesting note, the Florida Board of Acupuncture has cancelled the laboratory tests and imaging findings requirements and has replaced them with the biomedical sciences requirement.
The California Acupuncture Board will be instituting new ethics requirements next year for licensed acupuncturists. This pertains to re-licensure with acupuncture CEUs. As this situation develops, we will post findings at HealthCMi. I spoke with the board and there will not be a safety requirement, only an ethics requirement. This is a little different from NCCAOM standards wherein the safety and ethics requirement is actually a 4 hour safety and/or ethics requirement. The topics are interchangeable for fulfillment of the 4 hour requirement. Just a few years back, the NCCAOM split the CPR requirement from the safety and ethics requirement. They are distinct and separate.
A little clarification goes a long way for the CPR requirement. At HealthCMi, we field a lot of phone calls and emails on the subject. Naturally, the best source of information is the NCCAOM website or by calling the NCCAOM directly. That said, let’s clear this one up a bit. The NCCAOM CPR requirement is not a CPR certification requirement. It is a CPR educational requirement only. A licensed acupuncturist does not need official AHA (American Heart Association) or American Red Cross certification. Nonetheless, these associations have valuable courses in both the in-person and online formats.
I am very impressed with the AHA online learning system and I believe their educational standards are superb. An acupuncturist may complete an online section of an AHA CPR course. Here is an important point. The course timing may be 3, 4 or even more hours. The NCCAOM counts whatever the timing is as completion of the 4 hour CPR requirement. None of the CPR hours count towards the 4 hour safety and ethics requirements. To recap, regardless of the length of the CPR educational experience, it fulfills the 4 hour CPR requirement. After taking an advanced course in basic lifesaving through the AHA website, I can say that I learned more than in my in-person Red Cross course. Nicely done!
Regulatory requirements abound, it is important to mention the Massachusetts Committee on Acupuncture herbal medicine and acupuncture category requirements. There is no official pre-approval process for the specific categories. At HealthCMi, our courses meet the Massachusetts Committee on Acupuncture requirements because all courses are NCCAOM approved. However, there is not a special process to certify an individual course as an herbal course or an acupuncture course. The NCCAOM does have the category of core curriculum but this is not specific enough to fully clarify the Massachusetts issue. So, what did we do? We contacted the Massachusetts Committee on Acupuncture and cleared the whole thing up. The committee notes that all an acupuncturist needs to do is to apply hours from acupuncture continuing education courses towards each of the categories. When renewing an acupuncture license, simply select courses including herbal medicine as a topic and apply those towards the herbal medicine requirement. The same is true for acupuncture courses. Acupuncture courses may also involve Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and diagnostics as part of the acupuncture requirement. For example, if a HealthCMi course covering herbal medicine is 15 PDAs (1 CEU = 1 PDA), simply apply 10 of those hours towards the herbal medicine requirement. Straightforward and simple, it is a process intended to encourage higher educational standards and to keep the focus on core medicine.
There are numerous other regulatory bodies that continue to make updates and changes to the acupuncture continuing education system. All HealthCMi courses meet USA state and national requirement and also CTCMA and CAAA Canadian requirements. We even have courses that meet Australian acupuncturist requirements for continuing education. The regulatory requirements are always on the move. We will continue to keep you up to date on the latest news. Today’s blog is a review of some of the bigger topics that have caused quite a few phone calls to come our way.