Practicing Acupuncture in Virginia
Virginia has a good practice environment. Licensing fees are low and the licensing process is efficient. You must have an active NCCAOM Diplomate in order to practice. That is the case for initial licensure and to maintain licensure. The acupuncture scope of practice is very loosely defined, which gives practitioners a fair bit of freedom. There are many areas of the state with limited access to acupuncture that would benefit from additional practitioners.
Structure of Acupuncture in Virginia
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, acupuncturists are regulated by the Board of Medicine under the Department of Health Professions. Acupuncturists do not have their own licensing board. 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.
Licensure and Renewal in Virginia
The fee to apply for licensure in Virginia is $130.00 Licenses are renewed biennially during your birth month in each odd-numbered year. The fee for renewal is $135.00.
Please note: The regulations require passage of the "NCCAOM Comprehensive Written Examination."
Recommendation for Examination by Physician
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, prior to performing acupuncture, a licensed acupuncturist must obtain written documentation that the patient has received a diagnostic examination within the past six months by a licensed doctor of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, or podiatry acting within the scope of his practice or shall provide to the patient a written recommendation for such a diagnostic examination on a form specified by the board and signed by the patient. The original of the signed form shall be maintained in the patient's chart and a copy provide to the patient.
You can download a copy of the written recommendation for a diagnostic examination here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The above written documentation is required by both the legislation and regulation governing the practice of acupuncture in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Failure to maintain this documentation will result in disciplinary action by the Board of Medicine. Please include this written recommendation in your new patient paperwork.
Limitation to Titles
According to Virginia Regulations Pertaining to the Licensure of Acupuncturists, a person practicing as a licensed acupuncturist is restricted to the use of the titles "Lic.Ac." or "L.Ac." and shall not use the term "physician" or "doctor" in his name or practice unless he simultaneously uses a clarifying title, initials, abbreviation or designation or language.
Herbs are an allowed part of practice for all licensees under the Board of Medicine. Here’s the regulation regarding herbs.
18VAC85-110-180. Vitamins, minerals and food supplements.
A. The recommendation or direction for the use of vitamins, minerals or food supplements and the rationale for that recommendation shall be documented by the practitioner. The recommendation or direction shall be based upon a reasonable expectation that such use will result in a favorable patient outcome, including preventive practices, and that a greater benefit will be achieved than that which can be expected without such use.
B. Vitamins, minerals, or food supplements, or a combination of the three, shall not be sold, dispensed, recommended, prescribed, or suggested in doses that would be contraindicated based on the individual patient’s overall medical condition and medications.
C. The practitioner shall conform to the standards of his particular branch of the healing arts in the therapeutic application of vitamins, minerals or food supplement therapy.