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Acupuncturist Registration in Michigan - The Registered Acupuncturist?  We Don't Recommend It!

R 338.13035 Delegation; supervision.

Rule 35. An acupuncturist shall practice under the delegation of an allopathic physician or osteopathic physician and surgeon in accordance with sections 16104, 16109, and 16215(3) of the code. History: 2011 MR 5, Eff. Mar. 10, 2011.

In previous communications with our membership we have clarified the following points:

  1. The Michigan Medical Acupuncture Association does not recommend state registration for its over 400 in state M.Ac., P.Ac., and D.Ac. members.
  2. Registration in Michigan is voluntary and is not required. Registration is only required for TCM/TAM acupuncturists using the protected titles and the word acupuncturist.
  3. The title acupuncturist frequently denotes a lay individual or person with a non-regionally accredited acupuncture degree.
  4. Acupuncture "ists" are individuals that practice shamanism, new age fringe, and pseudoscience.
  5. Acupuncturists largely graduate from non-regionally accredited schools that lack academic standards and criteria appropriate to a recognized health care profession.
  6. Acupuncturists while trained in eastern esoteric shamanism and traditional oriental medicine commonly lack the basic skill sets seen in the lowest levels of allied medical practice and cannot even perform basic health screening tasks in a medical office.
  7. Many currently practicing acupuncturists have not studied basic bio-medical sciences, but instead have studied chi, meridians, and "energy" anatomy.

The State of Michigan Acupuncture Registration Act clearly states, "The department, in consultation with the board, shall not promulgate rules under this section that diminish competition or exceed the minimum level of regulation necessary to protect the public." Both the Department and the Acupuncture Board have violated the law in regards to these requirements. This is probably the clearest way to understand what has occurred in Michigan and that has resulted in the State of Michigan promoting a trade monopoly, diminishing competition and exceeding the intention and boundaries of the law.

For reasons that only the State of Michigan and the Department understand they have adopted the training standards of out of state national acupuncture organizations that promote acupuncture pseudoscience and shamanism. Why the state would support promoters of irrational pseudoscience over medically trained professionals remains a mystery and why the state would take a position that is anti-jobs and anti-economic growth is yet another mystery. In addition, the purported purpose of the law was to provide for the protection of the public. In what way does only regulating the minority group of TCM/TAM acupuncturists in Michigan and not providing professional regulation for the majority of medical acupuncture professionals practicing in Michigan provide for the public welfare? However, The MMMA supports the registration of TCM/TAM acupuncturists because we believe that closer regulation of this group is warranted in order to protect the public welfare. The majority of our membership is comprised of graduates of regionally accredited medical and allied medical training programs including nursing and physical therapy whose education and training have prepared them for working in an allied medical environment.

The Michigan Public Health Code, including the Acupuncture Registration Section of the Code, emphatically requires that non-physicians must have physician delegation and supervision. Anyone that is registered and regulated under the Michigan Acupuncture Registration Act falls directly under the regulation of the Department and the Michigan Board of Acupuncture as regards their practice of acupuncture.

The MMMA fully supports and promotes physician delegation and supervision of all non-physician acupuncturists and acupuncture practitioners in Michigan. This position is part of the MMMA ethical code and a core criterion for membership in the MMMA.

We ask our members to read the Michigan Acupuncture Registration Act and the Administrative Rules Section and to abide by the requirements of this Act, specifically by avoiding any use of the term acupuncturist. We are suggesting that this title, acupuncturist, is loaded with negative connotations and associated with pseudoscience and health care fraud and so the use of the word acupuncturist is undesirable for our professional members.

To further clarify the issues involved, if you use the titles certified or registered include the exact source of your certification or registration to avoid confusion. An example would be, "Certified in Medical Acupuncture by the American Manual Medicine Association" or if you are state certified or registered (in another state) then list that state. You may also present yourself as a Medical, Practical or Diplomat Acupuncture Professional. When explaining your credentials to a patient or another medical professional explain that Michigan registration is for shamanistic acupuncturists who believe in metaphysics and pseudoscience, chi meridians and other nonsensical concepts, but that your training is based upon a western, rational, and evidence based approach.

If in the conduct or your professional practice you feel that you have been discriminated against by an acupuncturist, the Michigan Board of Acupuncture, or the Department please contact our office immediately. If you have knowledge of a registered acupuncturist in Michigan who is practicing acupuncture without medical delegation or supervision also please contact our office with this information.

The MMAA Board of Directors
August 2011

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