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      Texas Acupuncture News


      Meet our TAOA Attourney: Geoffrey S. Connor, J.D.

      TAOA is pleased to announce that Geoffrey S. Connor, J.D. will serve as counsel to the organization.  As a former Texas Secretary and Deputy Secretary of State under Governor Rick Perry, Mr. Connor has a wealth of experience in the political sector and affairs of this state.  As a self-proclaimed "Austin-based  lawyer, lobbyist, consultant, financial advisor, writer and world traveler", he is obviously a man of many hats and talents.  We look forward to working with him on many issues concerning acupuncture and oriental medicine.



      Changes to Texas Acupuncture Laws that Affect Licensed Acupuncturists


      The Sunset Bill, Senate Bill 419, was signed by the Governor on June 6, 2005 and became effective starting September 1, 2005. The enrolled (final) version of the bill may be found on

      Rulemaking Authority
      The Acupuncture Board continues to have rulemaking authority that is subject to the Medical Board's approval.

      The Acupuncture Board will develop guidelines for seeking input on proposed rules, from individuals and groups who have an interest, early in the rulemaking process. However, an adopted rule may not be challenged on the grounds that the Acupuncture Board did not comply with this section.

      The Acupuncture Board is required to develop "negotiated rulemaking procedures": The Board, after receiving input on a proposed rule from interested individuals and groups, will appoint a negotiated rulemaking committee. This committee will include individuals to represent the interests of people who are likely to be affected by the proposed rule. The facilitator may be an agency employee or a private individual. The committee will meet, and after discussing and negotiating the proposed rule, it will send a report to the Board identifying the text of the proposed rule and any issues that remain unresolved. Alternative dispute resolution procedures will be used to resolve internal and external disputes.

      Use of Technology
      The Acupuncture Board is required to use technology to improve its functioning. In particular, by January 1, 2006, the Board is required to ensure that the public is able to interact with them on the Internet.

      Licensing Process
      The Acupuncture Board may authorize medical board employees to issue licenses to those applicants who clearly meet all licensing requirements, without requiring formal acupuncture board or medical board approval. Those applicants who do not clearly meet all licensing requirements are subject to acupuncture board approval.

      Beginning September 1, 2006, new applicants will be required to pass a jurisprudence exam, to include laws, rules, and regulations on the professional practice of acupuncture in Texas.

      Acupuncture Schools
      Acupuncture schools must now be subject to the approval of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board unless they qualify for an exemption. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, in reviewing acupuncture schools, is required to seek input from the
      acupuncture board regarding the standards needed to prepare acupuncturists.

      Continuing Acupuncture Education Courses
      The Acupuncture Board will specify the qualifications for a preferred provider of continuing education and the course content requirements. Once guidelines have been established, the medical board employees will have the authority to approve course
      applications for courses that clearly meet the guidelines. Courses that are not clearly within the guidelines will be referred to the Acupuncture Board for review and approval.

      The Acupuncture Board's authority has been strengthened; certain enforcement procedures may be accomplished by the Acupuncture Board without the Medical Board's approval. The Acupuncture Board will develop guidelines to evaluate licensees' or applicants'
      mental and physical health, use of alcohol and drugs, and professional behavior problems.
      The Board will use the most appropriate medical specialist to evaluate the individual. However, such medical specialist's report may not remove the Acupuncture Board's power to make a licensing decision. 

      A new section on Informal Proceedings was added, authorizing the Acupuncture Board, rather than the Medical Board, to handle these proceedings. 

      When the Acupuncture Board receives a complaint, it may do a 30-day initial investigation to evaluate whether to officially proceed on the complaint. 

      If a rehabilitation order requires a license holder to participate in activities or programs of a local or statewide private acupuncture association, the acupuncture board will inform the association of the license holder's duties under the order. The association is required
      to comply with any requirements to assist in the acupuncturist's rehabilitation. 

      HMO and PPO Law
      House Bill 2371 was signed into law and took effect on September 1, 2005. It modifies the Texas Insurance Code.
      Subchapter I, Chapter 843, is amended by adding Section 843.3041. 

      "A health maintenance organization that includes acupuncture in the services covered by the organization's health care plan may not refuse to provide reimbursement for the performance of a covered acupuncture service solely because the service is
      performed by an acupuncturist"

      "This section does not require a health maintenance organization to offer acupuncture as a covered service."

      Subchapter B, Chapter 1301, Insurance Code, is amended by adding Section 1301.0515.
      "An insurer offering a preferred provider benefit plan that includes acupuncture in the services covered by the plan may not refuse to provide reimbursement for the performance of a covered acupuncture service solely because the service is provided by
      an acupuncturist. 

      "This section does not require an insurer to offer acupuncture as a covered service."

      This law applies to insurance policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2006.



      SB 419 & HB 2371 Text

      SB419 and HB 2371 have been approved the final texts are availiable online.



      SB 419 Voted Upon

      A recent vote was taken on SB 419 May 26th. The results of that vote are as yet unreleased.



      Sunset Laws Under Review

      The New Sunset Laws are under review. We have posted the wording of the new law and you can also find them at.