Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Lawsuit
Written by Editor   
Monday, February 10, 2014 12:00 AM

On their website the TBCE reports "on February 10, 2014, the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (TBCE) was sued by the Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Any specific response to this lawsuit will be contained in the TBCE’s Answer to the suit and other pleadings, motions and/or court filings as necessary. The TBCE respects the legal process and it is fitting that it be allowed to run its due course. The TBCE has requested representation from the Office of the Attorney General, and any further comment concerning this pending litigation would be premature at this time."

The TAAOM has sued the TBCE in district court because Plaintiff Acupuncture Association is the largest professional organization of licensed acupuncturists and practitioners of Oriental Medicine in Texas."

Reiterating the arguments of the Texas Medical Association in their various previous lawsuits, the filing notes

"Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 201 governs the practice of chiropractic ... and Chapter 205 governs the practice of acupuncture. ... A chiropractor may only perform procedures that are within the scope of the practice of chiropractic. ... All incisive and surgical procedures are expressly identified as outside the scope of chiropractic practice. ... [with] only one exception: 'the use of a needle for the purpose of drawing blood for diagnostic testing.'" 

"The Chiropractic Chapter further limits the practice of chiropractic to analyzing, examining, or evaluating the biomechanical condition of the spine and musculoskeletal system, and performing nonsurgical, nonincisive procedures, including adjustment and manipulation, to improve the subluxation complex of the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. ... Since the early 1990s, the Chiropractic Board has controversially asserted that acupuncture and other procedures involving needles, such as needle electromyography, are within the scope of the practice of chiropractic. ... the attorney general issued an opinion declaring that acupuncture is outside the scope of the practice of chiropractic.  In 1997 ... the legislature amended the Acupuncture chapter to limit acupuncture to the 'nonincisive, nonsurgical' insertion of acupuncture needles.' ... the attorney general reversed course on its previous conclusion ... reasoning that ... acupuncture is within the scope of the practice of chiropractic." 

"In response to the decision [of the TMAs recent lawsuit] the Chiropractic Board repealed the rules related to needle electromyography that were declared invalid by the district court.  But several rules remain that impermissibly allow chiropractors to use needles for other procedures, including acupuncture. ... In other words, the Chiropractic Board has defined incision in a way that allows chiropractors to use needles in procedures besides diagnostic blood draws, in direct contravention of the Chiropractic Chapter."

Copying from the TMA, the TAAOM asserts that "though these rules were ostensibly promulgated in response to legislative amendments, they actually authorize a practice that is well beyond the statutory scope of chiropractic.  The Chiropractic Chapter expressly limits chiropractic to matters affecting the spine and musculoskeletal system and specifically prohibits the use of needles..."

The acupuncture complainants assert their educational requirements of "1,800 instructional hours from a reputable acupuncture school and satisfy at least two terms of a resident course of instruction in order to become licenses" is superior to the requirements of a licensed chiropractic doctor.  States the TAAOM "in comparison, the Chiropractic Board only requires chiropractors to complete 100 hours of training in acupuncture in order to practice the procedure." 

Unbelievably the complainants assert "thus, the Chiropractic Board's unlawful rules create a significant threat to public safety and health because chiropractors lack the education and training to safely perform the procedure of acupuncture."  "The Chiropractic Board is allowing chiropractors to practice acupuncture without completing the significant hours of training needed for a person to competently and safely perform the procedure."

It seems to this editor that, like their medical cousins, the acupuncturists are of the belief that a state license is a government issued monopoly for a specified procedure rather than a permit to allow the licensee to practice as the government has defined.  This is quite evident because the complainants STATE that this is their belief.  Their motivation for this lawsuit are state to be "the privilege of practicing acupuncture is diminished in quality and standards.  As a result, acupuncturist's legal rights and privileges are interfered with and impaired. ... Further, acupuncturists are economically injured by the disparate training requirements between chiropractors and acupuncturists.  As compared to chiropractors, acupuncturists are required to complete significantly more hours–at a much greater cost–in order to practice acupuncture."

These issues are solely questions of law, and the relief sought is a declaratory ruling that would be applied uniformly to acupuncturists and chiropractors."

Here we go again.

See the original document here.