The Acupuncture Licensure Act in Pennsylvania has been amended. The governor signed SB990 into law and it is now officially Act 134. This makes two impactful changes to the state law. The first change affects wellness visits for patients and the second affects liability insurance for licensed acupuncturists.
Prior to this amendment to the Acupuncture Licensure Act, licensed acupuncturists were unable to treat patients past 60 days from the date of the first acupuncture visit without a physician, dentist or podiatrist making a patient diagnosis. The new law allows acupuncturists to treat patients for longer than 60 days without a physician, dentist or podiatrist’s diagnosis if patients are free of symptoms. As a result, patients may be able to seek long-term preventative care visits from acupuncturists without first making a trip to a doctor’s office to get a diagnosis.
Even with the 60 day extension provision, the amended law is highly restrictive. The amendment reads that acupuncturists may now treat a patient longer than 60 days if they do “not present any symptoms of a condition.” The prior existing law states that “an acupuncturist may treat a person's condition without the condition being diagnosed by a licensed physician, dentist or podiatrist for 60 calendar days from the date of the first treatment.”
Prior law also states, “An acupuncturist may treat a person's condition beyond 60 calendar days from the date of the first treatment if the person obtained a diagnosis of the treated condition from a licensed physician, dentist or podiatrist.” The new law creates a subsection that the 60 day restriction “shall not apply if a person does not present any symptoms of a condition.”
Acupuncture Liability Insurance
The new provisions in the law require that acupuncturists must maintain professional liability insurance coverage. The minimum coverage must be no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence or claims made. Failure to comply is subject to “disciplinary proceedings.” Any lapse in coverage must be reported to the State Board of Medicine. A lapse causes an acupuncturist’s license to be immediately suspended. The license is restored once the professional liability insurance coverage is resumed and reported.