CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

South Carolina Passes New Acupuncture Legislation

The state of South Carolina amended its medical practice statutes by adding the "Acupuncture Act of South Carolina."

This Act:

1. Sets up an acupuncture committee under the medical board. This will keep licensure costs low, avoiding exorbitant fees that would otherwise be necessary to run a free-standing acupuncture board with only a small number of practitioners in South Carolina to cover the costs.

2. Sets the entry-level standard to the level of the NCCAOM Diplomate for any individual (including MDs and DOs) to practice acupuncture in South Carolina.

3. States that anyone practicing acupuncture without a license is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined.

4. Eliminates physician supervision and referral requirements. (http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/online/noiade.html)

5. Establishes stricter standards for auricular therapy and auricular detoxification therapy

Prior to the passing of this act, MDs, Dentists, and Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) could practice acupuncture in South Carolina with no additional training. All other acupuncture practitioners had to be NCCAOM certified, but there were no additional state eligibility requirements. Furthermore, licensed acupuncturists were required to practice under the supervision of any MD, DO or dentist who submitted proof of prior acupuncture training and knowledge. (http://www.acupuncture.com/StateLaws/StateLaws.htm#36)

The passing of Acupuncture Act of Couth Carolina is a significant step towards improved acupuncture regulation in the United States and increased credibility of complementary and alternative medicine in general. The establishment of stricter standards for an individual to practice acupuncture ensures that only well-trained and qualified practitioners will be allowed to practice.

Hopefully this will mean that patients have more positive experiences with acupuncture, which will only help to further promote its positive image. Also, these new requirements not only increase the credibility of an acupuncture degree from an accredited school, but also eliminate the assumption that medical practitioners in other fields (including MDs, DOs and dentists, whose fields are often thought of as being more "credible") are qualified to perform acupuncture simply because they hold a medical degree. Ultimately, the passing of this act should encourage increased appreciation for acupuncture as a credible medical practice and component of the growing complementary and alternative medical system in the US.

By: Laura Stevens
Mutton Fish Point Productions

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