Acupuncture, as a distinct health care profession in New Hampshire, is authorized and defined by the state statute known as RSA 328-G.
RSA 328-G defines the standards for the licensing and regulation of NH Licensed Acupuncturists in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare. It ensures that the people of NH will have access to and be able to identify qualified acupuncturists.
RSA 328-G establishes a licensing board and defines the rulemaking authority, powers, and duties of the board. The statute spells out the qualifications to obtain an acupuncture license in NH and the parameters of licensure renewal, continuing education, scope of practice, hearings, disciplinary actions and penalties.
Additionally, the statute specifies in RSA 328-G:9 which other licensed healthcare professionals may legally practice acupuncture in NH, namely, those licensed as Physicians and Surgeons under RSA 329 and those specially qualified Naturopathic Doctors certified under RSA 328-E:12.
Administrative rules are the vehicle by which details of all areas authorized by statute are clarified and spelled out. This is done so that all applicants and licensees will be treated equally, uniformly and fairly under the law.
The NH Administrative Rules which regulate the practice of acupuncture in New Hampshire are known as Chapter Acp 100 through Chapter Acp 600.
Chapter Acp 100 defines the organization and responsibilities of the acupuncture licensing board within the Department of Health and Human Services. It gives pertinent definitions used throughout the statute and rules, a method for contacting the board, and information regarding public access to board meetings and records.
Chapter Acp 200 establishes the process by which the NH board of Acupuncture Licensing is empowered to conduct proceedings in order to obtain sufficient information and make reasonable decisions on matters within its jurisdiction. These matters include decisions on applications and complaints filed against licensees. This Chapter includes step-by-step instructions on how proceedings should be conducted so as to secure a just, efficient and accurate resolution. This Chapter includes possible disciplinary sanctions that will be imposed if the board determines that misconduct has occurred. To lodge a complaint, contact the New Hampshire Board of Acupuncture Licensing in writing informing the board of your concern with detailed information so that we may respond.
Chapter Acp 200 also describes how rule changes occur and how a request for a board clarification can be made.
Chapter Acp 300 deals with licenses, licensing requirements, applications and fees. Acp 301.01 through Acp 302.05 describes the actual application procedure for regular licensing including what qualifications are required of applicants and possible waivers of certain education requirements. New Hampshire does require certification from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
In addition, this Chapter includes information regarding board approval of acupuncture schools, requirements related to visiting acupuncture teachers, acupuncture interns, student observers, office assistants, and chiropractors. In NH chiropractors may not legally practice acupuncture unless they are exempted by the Board of Acupuncture Licensing under the rules of Acp Chapter 300.
Chapter Acp 400 spells out the procedures for renewal of acupuncture licenses. New Hampshire does require that licensees maintain NCCAOM certification.
Thirty (30) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Professional Development Activities (PDAs) must be completed for every two year licensing period. Chapter Acp 400 further defines what constitutes acceptable CEUs and PDAs. Proof of participation or activity must accompany renewal applications.
Chapter Acp 500 deals with the responsibilities of licensees and the ethical and professional standards to which all licensees are bound.
The responsibilities cover, among other things, such subjects as display of licenses, notification of changes of address, mandatory use of sterile, disposable needles, maintenance of patient records, and compliance with state and federal regulations regarding safe practice and disposal of medical waste.
All licensees, under this chapter, must adhere to the Code of Ethics of the NCCAOM [link] to which all NH licensees have agreed in order to become NCCAOM certified. NCCAOM certification is required to obtain and to renew acupuncture licensure in NH.
In addition, Chapter Acp 500 specifically requires licensees to: provide honest and accurate information in medical reports; report evidence of professional misconduct by another licensee if such misconduct threatens life, health, or safety; maintain proper sexual boundaries with patients; and be truthful in advertising or representation of the practitioner to the public, avoiding false, deceptive, misleading statements, exaggerated claims or guarantees of success, and unsubstantiated claims of training, expertise, or certification in any specific areas of the scope of practice.
Chapter Acp 600 describes the scope of practice for licensed acupuncturists in New Hampshire. It largely contains a listing of descriptions and definitions of what is allowable, but also specifically requires that the licensee shall practice only within the scope of his or her training, expertise, and capability.
The scope of practice for licensed acupuncturists in New Hampshire is quite broad. It includes, but is not limited to, conventional needling, therapeutic bleeding and use of ion pumping cords; surface stimulation with various devices; moxibustion and other modalities using heat, cold, light, color, sound, & electromagnetism; electroacupuncture; body work; diagnostic and physical examination procedures; therapeutic exercise, martial arts, and breathing techniques; dietary counseling; prescription of herbs, oriental patent medicines and homeopathic substances; stress reduction through such methods as meditation and relaxation techniques; and lifestyle counseling. NH licensed acupuncturists may also use low-level (non-surgical) lasers, providing that the practitioner conforms with all relevant FDA regulations.