Acupuncturist License Requirements
The state of Texas requires that any individual providing acupuncture is required to obtain a license. In order to obtain a license, the person must have completed 1800 hours of training from an accredited program or school and graduated from the school before working as an acupuncturist. Additionally, there are certain examinations that must be taken in order to practice, the Clean Needle Technique Course and Practical Examination is a requirement before beginning work.
The Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners (TSBAE) licenses acupuncturists to allow them to practice acupuncture. The practice of acupuncture is defined as the insertion of an acupuncture needle and the application of herbs to specific areas of the body to work as a form of therapy. Acupuncture can be used to treat and mitigate conditions such as severe headaches.
In Texas, acupuncture can be practiced by medical doctors, osteopaths, and dentists without any special training. Additionally, chiropractors are permitted to practice acupuncture if they have completed at least one hundred (100) hours of undergraduate or post-graduate coursework in the use and administration of acupuncture from a reputable chiropractic school or an acupuncture school approved by the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners.
If an applicant is dissatisfied with a refusal or a license granted with limits, they can request a reconsideration or file an appeal. These are complex proceedings that are handled by administrative committees that follow strict rules and procedures. If deciding to argue against the committee’s decision, it may be best to seek legal representation before responding.
Complaint Process for Acupuncturist Licenses
Acupuncturists in Texas are licensed and regulated by the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners (TSBAE or the Acupuncture Board), which is under the control of the Texas Medical Board (TMB). If filing a complaint against a licensed acupuncturist, they must be submitted to the Texas Medical Board.
Written complaints must be submitted. With the exception of complaints made by insurance and pharmaceutical firms, complainants’ identities are protected and kept anonymous by law. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted by the Board.
There are many complaints that can be alleged against an acupuncturist, the most common forms of complaints include:
- Allegations against ethical regulations, practices, or rules
- Criminal convictions
- Inappropriate behavior
- Not adhering to the proper needled protocol
- Not providing proper care
- Violation confidentiality laws
Acupuncturists may encounter complaints and allegations of unprofessional conduct from a variety of sources. They can come from competitors, coworkers, former employees, insurance companies, enforcement agencies, and patients. The processes for dealing with acupuncture complaints and enforcing the legislation are modeled after those used by the Texas Medical Board.
The disciplinary process usually begins with a letter to the licensee informing them that an allegation has been made and that there may have been a breach of the Acupuncture Practice Act or specific rules. The letter starts as an investigation letter, typically referred to as an inquiry letter, and it normally comes from the Medical Board’s Director of Enforcement, who also serves on the Acupuncture Board. This letter acknowledges the receipt of a complaint and requests a response by a specific timeframe, usually within 30 days.
The case may be dismissed, or an official inquiry may begin once the licensee responds to the preliminary investigation letter. If an inquiry is begun, the licensee will get a notice of investigation that includes the name and contact information of the designated field investigator. This letter will request a narrative explanation as well as the completion of a questionnaire.
The agency personnel can process the matter for dismissal if it is determined that no violation occurred. The licensee will be notified by mail if the case is dismissed, but if there appears to be a violation, the licensee will be advised in writing that an Informal Compliance Conference (ISC) will be held in Austin on a specific date.
The most typical type of disciplinary action is an Agreed Order/Settlement decision, which is a document that lays out the basic terms for deliberation, execution, return, and compliance. An experienced acupuncture license defense lawyer may frequently negotiate the appropriate phrasing, terms, and length for his or her client. The severity of the punishment can range from fines to complete license revocation.
If an acupuncturist is suspected of posing an ongoing risk to patients’ health and safety, they may be subjected to an expedited process that could result in their license being temporarily suspended or restricted. The procedure can vary, and if the issue is serious enough, the provisional action can be enforced without notice or hearing. Following that, the acupuncturist must fight the Acupuncture Board and SOAH to have the case resolved while suspended or limited, and maybe without or with a decreased income from practice.
With very few exceptions, most disciplinary decisions are deemed public record and are published on the Texas Medical Board’s website and in the Texas Medical Board newsletter. The action is frequently publicized through press releases to other medical licensing boards and media outlets, as well.
Experienced Acupuncture License Defense Attorneys
In the State of Texas, licensed acupuncturists are governed by the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners (TSBAE/Acupuncture Board). Part of this governance entails investigating complaints regarding misconduct on the part of licensed acupuncturists.
Some allegations and issues that could put your license in jeopardy include:
- Failure to follow clean needle protocols.
- Breaking a patient’s confidentiality.
- Being convicted of a criminal offense.
- Dishonest or unethical conduct.
- Violations of the Acupuncture Practice Act or an agency rule.
When the Acupuncture Board receives a complaint against a licensed acupuncturist, they will send a letter providing you with notice of allegation. The Board imposes strict deadlines to respond, and because the initial letter is generally vague, it can be difficult to respond prudently. That is one reason why it is so important to contact an experienced medical license defense attorney as soon as possible.