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Acupuncture Licensure Act - Section 4955-4964

California Acupuncture Laws



The board may deny, suspend, or revoke, or impose probationary conditions upon, the license of any acupuncturist if he or she is guilty of unprofessional conduct.

Unprofessional conduct shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. Using or possessing any controlled substance as defined in Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code, or dangerous drug or alcoholic beverage to an extent or in a manner dangerous to himself or herself, or to any other person, or to the public, and to an extent that the use impairs his or her ability to engage in the practice of acupuncture with safety to the public.
  2. Conviction of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of an acupuncturist, the record of conviction being conclusive evidence thereof.
  3. False or misleading advertising.
  4. Aiding or abetting in, or violating or conspiring in, directly or indirectly, the violation of the terms of this chapter or any regulation adopted by the board pursuant to this chapter.
  5. Except for good cause, the knowing failure to protect patients by failing to follow infection control guidelines of the board, thereby risking transmission of blood-borne infectious diseases from licensee to patient, from patient to patient, and from patient to licensee. In administering this subdivision, the board shall consider referencing the standards, regulations, and guidelines of the State Department of Health Services developed pursuant to Section 1250.11 of the Health and Safety Code and the standards, regulations, and guidelines pursuant to the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 (Part 1 (commencing with Section 6300) of Division 5 of the Labor Code) for preventing the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B, and other blood-borne pathogens in health care settings. As necessary, the board shall consult with the Medical Board of California, the California Board of Podiatric Medicine, the Dental Board of California, the Board of Registered Nursing, and the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, to encourage appropriate consistency in the implementation of this subdivision.
    The board shall seek to ensure that licensees are informed of the responsibility of licensees and others to follow infection control guidelines, and of the most recent scientifically recognized safeguards for minimizing the risk of transmission of blood-borne infectious diseases.
  6. The use of threats or harassment against any patient or licensee for providing evidence in a disciplinary action, other legal action, or in an investigation contemplating a disciplinary action or other legal action.
  7. Discharging an employee primarily for attempting to comply with the terms of this chapter.
  8. Disciplinary action taken by any public agency for any act substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of an acupuncturist or any professional health care licensee.
  9. Any action or conduct that would have warranted the denial of the acupuncture license.
  10. The violation of any law or local ordinance on an acupuncturist's business premises by an acupuncturist's employee or a person who is working under the acupuncturist's professional license or business permit, that is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of an acupuncturist. These violations shall subject the acupuncturist who employed the individuals, or under whose acupuncturist license the employee is working, to disciplinary action.
  11. The abandonment of a patient by the licentiate without written notice to the patient that treatment is to be discontinued and before the patient has had a reasonable opportunity to secure the services of another practitioner.
  12. the failure to notify the board of the use of any false, assumed, or fictitious name other than the name under which he or she is licensed as an individual to practice acupuncture.


The board may deny, suspend, revoke, or impose probationary conditions upon the license of any acupuncturist if he or she is guilty of committing a fraudulent act including, but not be limited to, any of the following:

  1. Securing a license by fraud or deceit.
  2. Committing a fraudulent or dishonest act as an acupuncturist.
  3. Committing any act involving dishonesty or corruption with respect to the qualifications, functions, or duties of an acupuncturist.
  4. Altering or modifying the medical record of any person, with fraudulent intent, or creating any false medical record.
  5. Failing to maintain adequate and accurate records relating to the provision of services to their patients.


The board may deny, suspend, revoke, or impose probationary conditions upon the license of any acupuncturist if he or she is guilty of committing any one of the following:

  1. Gross negligence.
  2. Repeated negligent acts.
  3. Incompetence.


A plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere made to a charge which is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of an acupuncturist is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this chapter.

The board may order a license suspended or revoked, or may deny a license, or may impose probationary conditions upon a license, when the time for appeal has elapsed, or the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal, or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence irrespective of a subsequent order under the provisions of Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code allowing the person to withdraw his or her pleas of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, complaint, information, or indictment.


  1. The board may request the administrative law judge, under his or her proposed decision in resolution of a disciplinary proceeding before the board, to direct any licensee found guilty of unprofessional conduct to pay to the board a sum not to exceed actual and reasonable costs of the investigation and prosecution of the case.
  2. The costs to be assessed shall be fixed by the administrative law judge and shall not in any event be increased by the board. When the board does not adopt a proposed decision and remands the case to an administrative law judge, the administrative law judge shall not increase the amount of any costs assessed in the proposed decision.
  3. When the payment directed in the board's order for payment of costs is not made by the licensee, the board may enforce the order for payment in the superior court in the county where the administrative hearing was held. This right of enforcement shall be in addition to any other rights the board may have as to any licensee directed to pay costs.
  4. In any judicial action for the recovery of costs, proof of the board's decision shall be conclusive proof of the validity of the order of payment and the terms for payment.
  5. All costs recovered under this section shall be considered a reimbursement for costs incurred and shall be deposited in the Acupuncture Fund.


Disciplinary proceedings under this article shall be conducted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).


The board in all cases of revocation shall certify the fact of the revocation, under the seal of the board, to the business licensing entity of the cities or counties in which the license of the acupuncturist has been revoked. The record of the revocation made by the county or city clerk shall be sufficient evidence of the revocation, and of the regularity of all proceedings of the board in the matter of the revocation.


  1. A person whose license or registration has been revoked, suspended, or surrendered, or who has been placed on probation, may petition the board for reinstatement or modification of penalty, including modification or termination of probation, after a period of not less than the following minimum periods has elapsed from the effective date of the decision ordering that disciplinary action:
    1. At least three years for reinstatement of a license revoked or surrendered.
    2. At least two years for early termination of probation of three years or more.
    3. At least two years for modification of a condition of probation.
    4. At least one year for early termination of probation of less than three years.
  2. The board may require an examination for that reinstatement.
  3. Notwithstanding Section 489, a person whose application for a license or registration has been denied by the board, for violations of Division 1.5 (commencing with Section 475) of this chapter, may reapply to the board for a license or registration only after a period of three years has elapsed from the date of the denial.


  1. Every person who is now or hereafter licensed to practice acupuncture in this state shall register, on forms prescribed by the Acupuncture Board, his or her place of practice, or, if he or she has more than one place of practice, all of the places of practice. If the licensee has no place of practice, he or she shall notify the board of that fact. A person licensed by the board shall register within 30 days after the date of his or her licensure.
  2. An acupuncturist licensee shall post his or her license in a conspicuous location in his or her place of practice at all times. If an acupuncturist has more than one place of practice, he or she shall obtain from the board a duplicate license for each additional location and post the duplicate license at each location.
  3. Any licensee that changes the location of his or her place of practice shall register each change within 30 days of making that change. In the event a licensee fails to notify the board of any change in the address of a place of practice within the time prescribed by this section, the board may deny renewal of licensure. An applicant for renewal of licensure shall specify in his or her application whether or not there has been a change in the location of his or her place of practice and, if so, the date of that change. The board may accept that statement as evidence of the change of address.


Whenever any person has engaged in an act or practice which constitutes an offense against this chapter, a superior court of a county on application of the board may issue an injunction or other appropriate order restraining that conduct. Proceedings under this section shall be governed by Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 525) of Title 7 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The board may commence action in such superior court under the provisions of this section on its own motion and no undertaking shall be required in any action commenced by the board.


The provisions of this article insofar as they are substantially the same as provisions relating to the same subject matter of any previous acupuncture licensure law shall be construed as a restatement and continuation thereof, and not as a new enactment.



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