Michigan Medical Acupuncture Association

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  • Michigan Medical Acupuncture Association
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Important Update on the Michigan Acupuncture Law and the Registration of Acupuncturists

As you know the Michigan Acupuncture registration law was passed in 2006. Almost two years later there is still not a clear path to registration for acupuncturists. Suffice it to say, there have been problems and issues related to the Board as pertains to developing the administrative rules for registration. The insistence by TCM/TAM acupuncturists that they will be the only acupuncturists registered in Michigan continues to be a key stumbling block for this process. Other states have found ways to unify their diverse acupuncture practitioners under one regulatory process. Please keep in mind that this law was passed to protect the public, but that registration is completely voluntary. However, there is still no way to register at this time.

We do want to remind all of all members to practice legally. Yes, we know that a lot of acupuncturists in Michigan continue to practice illegally, but the Michigan Medical Acupuncture Association and our parent organization the American Manual Medicine Association does not want to see any of our members practicing acupuncture illegally in Michigan.

There can be no doubt about it, both the Michigan Attorney General's Office and the Michigan Department of Community Health have confirmed in writing and in the Board meetings that Michigan law requires that all acupuncturists must have a medical referral and licensed medical supervision. To practice without the referral and supervision of a licensed medical physician is a felony offense in Michigan. In addition, at the last Board meeting the Department also explained that any advertising by an acupuncturist and for the practice of acupuncture in Michigan must include the name and contact information for the referring and supervising licensed medical physician in the ad. In other words, it is also illegal to advertise your acupuncture practice without having a referring and supervising medical physician on record.

The third issue pertaining to Michigan law is that a lay acupuncturist (anyone practicing acupuncture who is not a licensed medical physician) may not provide diagnosis in any form, including an Eastern TCM or TAM based diagnosis.

All of this information was provided to MMMA members in our October 10, 2007 letter recapping the instructions that we received from the Michigan Attorney General's Office. These bullet points are taken from that letter:

  • You must practice under medical supervision as provided for in Michigan law.
  • You may not provide diagnosis of any kind, by use of any method or procedure, including those of Eastern diagnostic techniques.

We frequently hear from MMMA members and TCM/TAM acupuncturists who have been provided with false information that conflicts with the facts as stated in this update. However, to the very best of our ability and through consultation with our legal counsel, the Michigan AG's Office, and the Department, these are the facts.

What is the next step? That is difficult to predict at this point. There will be a public hearing on these matters and that meeting will be scheduled sometime in April, or after April. It is unlikely that anything of note will happen before April 2009.

We regret the delays, inconvenience, and the ongoing confusion surrounding this issue.

February 2009

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