Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas. Previously, untrained and inexperienced practitioners had equal footing to perform acupuncture as fully trained and nationally certified acupuncturists, creating unnecessary risk to Kansas patients seeking alternative treatments.
The bill requires Kansas acupuncturists to complete a nationally accredited certification program, pass national exams, and carry professional liability insurance. Prior to the bill, Kansas acupuncturists existed in a legal gray area outside the provisions of the KS Healing Arts Act and left Kansans in the dark about practitioners when exploring complementary treatment. Now Kansas residents will be able to look for the title "Licensed Acupuncturist" or "L.Ac." to indicate national and state professional standards have been met.
Acupuncture supporters hope licensing will help more Kansas residents have confidence to try this safe complementary treatment alongside traditional treatments. "Most people have heard of using acupuncture to treat pain," said Kansas Association of Oriental Medicine President Sandra Wilkes, "we need to bring acupuncture into the forefront of the minds of patients and their doctor's, so they consider acupuncture before they go to opioids."
The bill does not restrict other licensed medical professionals from performing acupuncture, does not carry an insurance mandate, and does not affect the Kansas budget. HB2615 goes into effect July 1, 2016.