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Raising the Standards for All

Little Hover Commission 2004

Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework

Most health professions have tried to raise the standards for both new entrants, as well as seasoned professionals. The University of California identified several options:

  • Additional coursework. Recommending or requiring educational programs to develop and implement "catch up" programs to enable practitioners to gain required competencies.
  • Testing. Using test-out options to enable practitioners to demonstrate knowledge or skills in required competency areas for the purposes of acquiring updated training and credentials.
  • Grace periods. Establishing a feasible schedule upon which supplemental education or examinations can be completed considering the professional responsibilities and workload of practitioners.
  • Different titles. Defining and implementing differential levels of titling or categories of licensure (or add-on) certification that reflect the various formal educational or career experiences of all professionals within a specific jurisdiction (new and current licensees) and that indicate to the public the specific set of requirements that one or another practitioner has met.

The university also identified two options that do not require existing licensees to increase their knowledge or demonstrate adequate knowledge, skills and abilities. The first is to grandfather licensees, assuming that continuing education or experiences have provided the knowledge that was missing in the previous educational scheme.

A second option is patient notification. For example, practitioners could be required to inform patients of the training they have received, including continuing education, and how it compares to the evolution of standards. In addition to disclosure, this policy would allow patients to make judgments of their own, based on preference for experience versus formal training.



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