To: David Lifferth,
Subject: Proposed "Physical Therapy Co-Pay Amendment"
Date: Sun Feb 02 01:36:42 MST 2014
Dear Mr. Lifferth:
I am contacting you in regards of the proposed “Physical Therapy Co-Pay Amendment” up for legislative review this session. This proposal contains a section on Dry Needling which I believe needs to be address as a separate issue. The concern that I have and all acupuncturists in the State of Utah is that for the patients and their well being. Physical Therapists have already caused serious problems doing such a procedure in other states and countries. Two serious pneumothorax cases in the states, another in Canada leading to near death, numerous nerve damage cases caused by dry needling have occurred just this year, all done by physical therapists. Lawsuits are pending in Washington, Oregon and Arizona against physical therapists with claims of damage done by dry needling with acupuncture needles. Trained and licensed Acupuncturist do not have these problems or lawsuits due to appropriate training and testing requirements before practicing acupuncture.
What is considered “appropriate training” for dry needling often consists of weekend crash courses. In an effort to circumvent the stringent requirements for obtaining an acupuncture license, physical therapists often claim dry needling is not acupuncture. The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine released a statement in the past that read, “The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Blue Ribbon Panel on Inter-professional Standards has determined that dry needling and any of its alternative designations, including intramuscular manual therapy, trigger point needling, functional dry needling, intramuscular stimulation or any other method by which a needle is inserted to effect therapeutic change, is, by definition, the practice of acupuncture.”
During a dry needling treatment, acupuncture needles are inserted into myofascial trigger points to remedy muscle pain and impaired movement. When performed by someone with limited training, the practice can be extremely dangerous and has been linked to occurrences of pneumothorax , or a collapsed lung. Dry needling refers to the use of syringes, NOT acupuncture needles, which are a class II medical device for acupuncture only. The current use of acupuncture needles is by this standard the practice of Acupuncture which should only be performed by a license acupuncturist; not a physical therapist. Because an individual is a fully qualified physical therapist, does not mean that they have any experience or knowledge to practice acupuncture.
Please keep patients in this great state safe from physical therapists with limited training practicing Acupuncture under the claim “it’s only Dry Needling”. I studied over 3,000 hours to learn how to needle correctly and to insure my patients are safe. I took the appropriate courses and national tests to prove to this State and nation that I am a professional providing a service to improve their health. It is difficult to watch a physical therapist with less than 100 hours training practice acupuncture, our patients deserve better.
Karena Luttmer, MSOM, L.Ac
Thrive Acupuncture of Utah