FAOMRA: Making a Difference in Today's Acupuncture Community
By John Myerson and Penny Heisler
This article is being written in response to several individuals who commented on AcupunctureToday.com's Acupuncture Poll question for January 2002. These individuals believed the establishment of national standards and/or the formation of a national organization that represents the professions concerns are the most important issues facing the acupuncture/Oriental medicine profession in 2002.
In 1997, several state boards banded together to establish the Federation of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Regulatory Agencies (FAOMRA). This was done to fill a void at the national level for representation of state regulatory issues by boards and agencies regulating the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession. FAOMRA has since expanded to include 14 member states and the Canadian province of Quebec as an affiliate. To broaden its utility, FAOMRA also communes with professional and certifying organizations such as the ACAOM, NCCAOM, CCAOM, AAOM and the AOMA.
The mission of FAOMRA is "to provide an organization through which member agencies may work together to better assure the protection of the public through good communication about licensure, practice, regulatory activity and professional disciplinary action and to promote the delivery of quality healthcare to the public."
To address the need for national standards, FAOMRA is working on identifying and developing levels of credentialing and competency standards for licensees of acupuncture and oriental medicine. The federation's goal is to provide a framework for a national modular plan to define acceptable levels of licensure standards that meet individual state needs and ensure public protection. FAOMRA will make certain these standards remain diverse to embrace all traditions of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
FAOMRA recently sent a letter in opposition to a bill in Washington, D.C., that proposes to include acupuncture under the scope of practice of naturopaths. The federation wrote, "FAOMRA has no desire or intention of limiting another profession's scope of practice. FAOMRA believes, however, that professionals who use the term acupuncture in their practice without attaining the accepted recognized national standard for acupuncture and oriental medicine training are misleading the public. It would be more appropriate for professionals that wish to use insertion of needles for therapeutic purposes, to identify their practices with different terminology."
The federation is constructing language to launch licensure by endorsement standards that will facilitate movement of licensees from state to state. There is also work on methods that will assist states in endorsing each other's credentialing of continuing education courses.
FAOMRA has started collecting data on disciplinary actions taken against licensees by state boards and other governmental authorities. This information will be posted on the federation's website to be shared by state boards in their effort to properly screen licensure applicants.
The federation hopes to make a substantial difference in today's acupuncture community. Through its dedicated leadership of member states, FAOMRA will continue to promote effective public policies that are uniform, but balanced. As the representative body of state boards, we intend to heed the needs of all states as well as respect and recognize the differences of all traditions.
We encourage all state boards to join our organization, and invite all interested parties to visit our website at www.faomra.org. The website offers links to state boards, their laws and contact personnel. Questions or concerns regarding our organization may be addressed to Penny Heisler, Treasurer and Public Relations Chair, at 410-764-4766 or Rosemarie Ortiz (New Mexico), Secretary, at 505-476-7081.