Montana Board Considers Scope Expansion to Include Dry Needling

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Montana Board Considers Scope Expansion to Include Dry Needling

Medical Board Has Previously Opined on the Issue

There are a number of additions to the scope of chiropractic practice taking place in the United States and around the world. A mainstay of the argument for scope expansion is typically that the procedure or practice is taught as part of the regular curriculum in chiropractic programs.

Another argument typically made is lamenting that other providers are allowed to do certain procedures so why can't chiropractors?

On September 30, 2016 the Montana Board of Chiropractic will be discussing the issue of Dry Needling. According to the Agenda for the Board meeting:

Montana Board of Physical Therapy proposed rules regarding dry needling.
University of Western States core Chiropractic curriculum now includes dry
needling techniques-discussion.

The Physical Therapy Board met with opposition when it considered such proposed rules.

There was a discussion about Trigger Point Dry Needling by the Board of Medical Examiners and as a result of that discussion, a letter was sent on November 16, 2009 to the BOPTE with this statement:    
“The Board members had a good discussion on this subject and, after their review of current laws and rules, agreed that dry needling was the practice of acupuncture. It is the opinion of the Board that physical therapists cannot perform dry needling as part of their practice of physical therapy. Physical therapists interested in performing dry needling are encouraged to review the laws and regulations that set forth the requirements to become licensed as an acupuncturist”.  

At a later meeting of the Board of Medical Examiners on July 30, 2010 the BOME issued a Cease and Desist Order as Follows:

“The Board of of Medical Examiners recently reviewed materials sent to it regarding your engaging in the unlicensed practice of medicine in Montana at the Ritzz Salon in Billings, Montana by providing laser procedures and skin needling.  You are not licensed as a physician in Montana and, thus, cannot advertise procedures that fall within the definition of surgery.  ARM 24.156.501(11). The Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 24.156.501(11) define surgery to mean “any procedure in which human tissue is cut or altered by mechanical or energy forms, including electrical or laser energy or ionizing radiation.”  

The board may enjoin an individual for practicing without a license and refer the matter for criminal prosecution.   

It remains to be seen how the Montana Chiropractic Board will proceed on this issue.

CLICK HERE for the Agenda

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