As a Virginia citizen, acupuncture consumer and the Deputy Director of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), I would like to express my support for maintaining 18 VAC85-110-150, which requires licensed acupuncturists to maintain active NCCAOM certification in order to continue to practice in Virginia. The mission of the NCCAOM is to establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public. It is with this mission that the NCCAOM sets national standards for maintaining continued competency in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. States that require active NCCAOM certification, can be reassured that every practitioner has meet NCCAOM’s robust professional development activity (PDA) program requirements which includes completing safety/ethics courses as well as documenting of CPR course certificate. States who require NCCAOM active certification place the burden and cost of recertification verification and professional development activity program development to the NCCAOM. Therefore, this requirement does not cause burden to the state or the profession.
Most importantly, the NCCAOM also oversees the practice of the acupuncture and Oriental profession as stated in our mission through its Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Review process. NCCAOM partners with states that require active certification to ensure that practitioners who have violated the NCCAOM Code of Ethics and have been disciplined are prevented from obtaining a license in those states. States such as Virginia that require active certification have the reassurance that disciplined practitioners will not go undetected through the requirement of active certification. A recent example took place this year when a practitioner in California whose certification was revoked moved to the state of Virginia and the state was immediately informed by the NCCAOM that his certification was revoked due to fraud. This person was prevented from practicing acupuncture in Virginia and causing harm to consumers.
The trend in healthcare throughout the nation is to raise standards for licensure, not to lower or eliminate them. States are increasing their requirements for certification maintenance as these changes are based on the premise of improving the quality of healthcare for the citizens of these states. The NCCAOM is proud of its reputation and recognizes the value of our nationally recognized status. The unprecedented growth and acceptance of acupuncture is due in no small part to the existence of a legitimate certification and professional development activity program based upon national standards.
As a citizen of this great state, I strongly believe that the requirement for the maintenance of NCCAOM certification for licensed acupuncturists provides protection to the consumers of this state. It would be a step backwards as well as potential harm to the public to change this requirement.