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Oversight Concerns: Recommendation

Little Hover Commission 2004

Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework

Recommendation 6: The Governor and the Legislature, through the Sunset Review Process or other mechanisms, should ensure that the California Acupuncture Board becomes a strong advocate for consumers.

Among the steps that should be taken:

  • The board needs to develop a patient safety strategy. This strategy should ensure that federal recommendations for improving patient safety - for instance, the exclusive use of single-use needles ­ are quickly adopted in policies, examinations and written materials such as the consumer brochure. The California regulator could be required to submit, as a regular part of their Sunset Review Process, or annual report, what their compliance is with federal recommendations along with new research findings from the NIH. The board should study malpractice trends and publish the results. California regulators also should bolster efforts to work with individual practitioners and clinics to ensure ongoing compliance with evolving consumer protection laws.
  • Develop consumer protections for herb products. California should empanel legal and scientific experts to explore herb-drug interactions, herb purity and potency, accurate labeling, and reporting of adverse effects. The panel should identify regulatory and other policy steps the State could take to protect consumers.
  • Restructure the regulator to benefit consumers. If policy-makers believe a board is desirable, the majority of the members should not have an economic interest in acupuncture. They should include consumers as well as experts in infection control and research methodology. And the regulator should develop standing advisory panels that are more representative of the various cultures throughout the world that are integrating traditional Oriental medicine into health care and regulatory schemes.



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