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Little Hover Commission 2004

Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework

Two bills passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2002 requested that the Little Hoover Commission assess and make recommendations on six issues concerning the regulation of acupuncture in California. The measures grew in part out of the Legislature's sunset review of the Acupuncture Board, which identified but did not resolve some issues of concern to policy-makers. The legislation also reflected an ongoing effort by some professional associations to raise minimum educational requirements for incoming professionals.

To explore these issues, the Commission augmented its standard public, bipartisan and independent review of state policies with technical analysis conducted by experts in the regulation of health professionals and licensure examination.

The Commission held two public hearings to gather testimony from experts and allow stakeholders to explain their perspectives. A list of the witnesses is contained in Appendix A. A subcommittee of the Commission conducted three advisory committee meetings to give stakeholders additional opportunities to explore the issues with Commissioners. All members of the advisory committee also were sent questionnaires, providing the opportunity to submit written responses to the issues raised by the legislation and by Commissioners. A list of advisory committee members is contained in Appendix B.

To fully assess the technical aspects of the issues, the Commission contracted with the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco to systematically analyze the scope of practice, education requirements and accreditation processes for the acupuncture profession. The executive summaries of those reports are in Appendices C, D, and F and the full report is available on the Commission's Web site: www.lhc.ca.gov.

The Commission also contracted with psychometricians - experts in testing and measurement - from California State University, Sacramento and the RAND Corporation to analyze the California examination, as well as the exam used by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The executive summary of their report is contained in Appendix E, and the full report is available on the Commission's Web site.


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