Structure of Acupuncture Profession in Virginia 

The Secretary of Health and Human Resources oversees 12 state agencies including the Department of Health Professions.

 The mission of the Department of Health Professions (DHP) is to “ensure safe and competent patient care by licensing health professionals, enforcing standards of practice, and providing information to health care practitioners and the public.” The DHP oversees 13 health regulatory boards who accomplish the DHP's mission through the licensure, regulation, and discipline of 350,000 healthcare practitioners across 80 professions. These boards include: Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, Counseling, Dentistry, Funeral Directors and Embalmers, Medicine, Nursing, Long-Term Care Administrators, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Psychology, SocialWork, and Veterinary Medicine.

The Board of Medicine enforces state laws and regulations specific to its licensees. The Board of Medicine oversee 13 medical professions including Acupuncturists. Each profession regulated by the Board of Medicine has their own Advisory Board which assists the BOM in carrying out the laws and regulations specific to that profession.

The Advisory Board on Acupuncture assists the Board of Medicine with the “qualifications, examination, licensure, and regulation of acupuncturists.” The Advisory Board on Acupuncture is made up of five members appointed by the Governor who serve four-year terms. 

Regulation by the Board of Medicine: Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantage: Low Licensure Costs ‐ The operating costs of each of the DHP's 13 health regulatory boards are funded by licensure fees. Since the Board of Medicine oversees 13 medical professions, licensure costs for acupuncturists remain low as we are not solely responsible for funding the Board of Medicine.

Advantage: Collaboration of Allied Health Professions ‐ The Board of Medicine consists of medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, physician assistants, acupuncturists, radiological technologists, radiological technologists‐limited, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, midwives, and polysomnographic technologists. This variety in medical professions encourages us to stay in touch and work with our allied health care colleagues.

Advantage: Competencies and Strong Infrastructure ‐ The Board of Medicine is the largest of health regulatory boards under the Department of Health Professions. As a result, it has a strong, stable infrastructure and a large competent staff with which to support its licensees.

Disadvantage: Lack of Autonomy ‐ It is necessary for us to seek support and approval from the Board of Medicine before making changes to our practice statutes, regulations, and standards.


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Virginia Beach, VA 23462

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