Frequently Asked Questions
Can other health care practitioners practice acupuncture?
Licensed physicians, dentists and veterinarians may be registered/certified to practice acupuncture in Maryland. However, their requirements and application processes are different from those required for licensed acupuncturists.
Can I find out if there are any complaints against my acupuncturist?
The Board does not give out information about complaints, since not all complaints are valid and a licensee's reputation could be harmed. However, the Board reviews all complaints received to determine whether the Maryland Acupuncture Practice Act has been violated.
If the Board decides that no violation has occurred or that the violation is minor and warrants a letter of education, the complaint will not be made public. However, if the Board decides the violation is serious and takes formal action, the information will be made available to the public.
How do I make a complaint about a Maryland acupuncturist?
The Board has created a complaint form that you can fill out and mail to the Maryland Acupuncture Board, 4201 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215.
You may also call the Board at (410) 764-4766 or toll-free at (800) 530-2481 to request that a complaint form be mailed to your home or office.
Must the Acupuncture Board investigate every complaint it receives?
No, the Board is not required to investigate complaints that do not violate the Acupuncture Practice Act. Grounds for possible investigation and discipline include:
Fraudulently or deceptively obtains or attempts to obtain a license for the applicant or licensee or for another;
Fraudulently or deceptively
Uses a license; or
Solicits or advertises;
Is guilty of immoral or unprofessional conduct in the practice of acupuncture;
Is professionally, physically, or mentally incompetent;
Provides professional services while:
Under the influence of alcohol; or
Using any narcotic or controlled dangerous substance, as defined in § 5-101 of the Criminal Law Article, or other drug that is in excess of therapeutic amounts or without a valid medical indication;
Knowingly violates any provision of this title or any rule or regulation of the Board adopted under this title;
Is convicted of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or to a crime involving moral turpitude, whether or not any appeal or other proceeding is pending to have the conviction or plea set aside;
Practices acupuncture with an unauthorized person or assists an unauthorized person in the practice of acupuncture;
Is disciplined by the licensing or disciplinary authority of any other state or country or convicted or disciplined by a court of any state or country for an act that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this section;
Willfully makes or files a false report or record in the practice of acupuncture;
Willfully fails to file or record any report as required by law, willfully impedes or obstructs the filing or recording of the report, or induces another to fail to file or record the report;
Submits a false statement to collect a fee;
Refuses, withholds from, denies, or discriminates against an individual with regard to the provision of professional services for which the person is licensed and qualified to render because the individual is HIV positive;
Fails to display the notice required under § 1A-313; or
Fails to cooperate with a lawful investigation conducted by the Board.
What kinds of complaints are not handled by the Acupuncture Board?
The Acupuncture Board cannot:
help you sue an acupuncturist for money
handle a fee dispute between you and your acupuncturist
resolve disputes about insurance reimbursement or get money back that you feel is owed to you
discipline acupuncturists who are not licensed by the Acupuncture Board (for example, an acupuncturist licensed in another state, or a person licensed by another state agency, such as a physician or chiropractor)
The Acupuncture Board staff will try to answer any questions you may have about whether we can handle your complaint. If staff cannot handle your complaint, we may refer you to another agency.
Do I need an attorney to handle my complaint?
No. you do not need an attorney to file your complaint with the Acupuncture Board.
What is the complaint process?
When a complaint is received, your complaint is initially reviewed by the Board’s Disciplinary Committee to determine whether the Acupuncture Board has the legal authority to investigate your case and assign a case number.
Although all complaints are evaluated, many complaints do not result in disciplinary action. The Board reviews each complaint to determine if there is sufficient evidence to show that a violation of the Board’s statute has occurred. If it is determined that there is not a sufficient basis for proceeding with formal disciplinary action, you will receive a letter telling you that your complaint has been closed.
If the Board has jurisdiction, the case may be assigned to the Board’s investigators who may gather information from you, other patients, the licensee’s co-workers, other state Boards and the acupuncturist involved to discuss the complaint.
All information related to Board investigations is required by law to be kept confidential. If you choose to keep your name confidential, the Board will honor your request; however, withholding the complainant’s identity may make a thorough investigation more difficult or impossible in some instances.
If the evidence is sufficient, the Board may refer the case to the Attorney General’s Office where a Prosecutor will be assigned who will prepare the case for hearing and draft formal charges.
How do I find out about the status of my compliant?
Because the Acupuncture Board investigations are confidential, we are not able to notify complainants about the step-by-step progress of the actions being taken.
What type of disciplinary action may be taken by the Board?
The Acupuncture Board may dismiss the case if it feels that no violation has occurred or if evidence is insufficient to support a finding of a violation. However, if the Board decides that there has been a violation, it may choose one of the following formal disciplinary actions:
reprimand the licensee
suspend the acupuncturist’s license, or
put the licensee on probation under a variety of terms
permanently revoke the practitioner’s license
limit the practitioner’s license (e.g., limit the type of procedures the licensee may perform)
In emergencies, the Board holds the authority to temporarily suspend an acupuncturist’s license pending a hearing. This is called a "summary suspension."
At any time after a complaint is filed, the licensee and the Board may negotiate a resolution, or "consent agreement." The full Board must ratify all consent agreements.
A licensee may also surrender licensure if the Board is willing to accept it. If disciplinary action has already started, the Board will usually not accept surrender unless the licensee agrees to a permanent revocation.
How can I find out if an acupuncturist has been disciplined?
Call the Board’s staff at (410) 764-4766 or toll-free at (800) 530-2481 to find out about disciplinary actions that have been taken or initiated. If you call and get an answering machine, please leave a message with your name and phone number so that your question can be answered the next working day.
How long must I keep my patient records?
In accordance with Maryland law, the Board recommends that licensees keep patient records, including those of deceased patients (adults and minors) for a minimum of 6 years after the patient's last contact with the acupuncturist.
2. How long will it take my application to be approved for licensure?
The Board meets on the second Tuesday of every other month: January, March, May, July, September, and December. If your application is complete and received by the Board by the Friday before the Board meeting, you will receive a license within 5 working days after the Board meeting.
During the months that the Board does not meet, interim license numbers may be issued to applicants that have met all of the licensure requirements. Interim license numbers are issued between Board meetings so that a licensee who meets all of the requirements may practice without delay. In order for an applicant to receive an interim license number, all pertinent application documentation must be received by the Board at least 14 days prior to the next meeting of the Board. Completed applications received within 14 days of a board meeting will be approved at the meeting.
Interim numbers are issued by letter to the address indicated on the application. Interim numbers are not provided over the phone. Your actual license will be mailed within 5 days after the next Board meeting.
Please realize that the approval process will be dependent upon a complete application and if the applicant complies with the Board’s licensure requirements.
- How can I get Maryland licensure verification mailed to another state and does it cost anything to process?
There is a $50 verification fee to process a licensure verification. Simply send your verification request or form directly to the Board with a $50 check made payable to the Maryland Acupuncture Board. You must provide your name, license number and the state to which you would like the verification mailed. Please ensure that you provide the State’s address and phone number.
- What can I do about insurance company questions?
The Board does not handle any questions pertaining to insurance issues or payments. Please contact the Maryland Insurance Commission or one of the Maryland Acupuncture Societies for more information.
- How do I notify the Board about a change in my address, name or phone number?
Simply fill out the change of address/name section on your blue license, detach it and mail it to the Board. If you have a change in name, you must also provide a copy of the court order or marriage certificate. If you have lost the form, you may write a letter to the Board providing your new address or name change information.
- How many CEU’s are required to renew my license?
A licensee applying for renewal shall complete 30 hours of relevant continuing education during the 2-year period preceding the expiration of the license which include the following:
At least 20 hours in formally organized programs which are relevant to the practice of acupuncture and are approved by the Board or sponsored by, but not limited to, the following organizations and their member organizations:
- The American Academy of Medical Acupuncturists;
- The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM);
- The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM);
- The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM);
- The National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM);
- The National Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NAAOM);
- The Society for Acupuncture Research;
- Center for Oriental Medical Research and Education (COMRE);
- The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association; or
- The National Acupuncture Teachers Association.
Not more than 10 hours of formally organized training programs in Western science and medical practices, medical ethics, medical research, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation which are relevant to the practice of acupuncture and are sponsored by, but not limited to, organizations listed in §F(1)
of this regulation and the following organizations:
- World Health Organization (WHO);
- National Institutes of Health (NIH);
- The National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine (NIHOAM);
- American Medical Association (AMA);
- American Nurses Association (ANA);
- American Psychiatric Association (APA);
- American Hospital Association (AHA);
- American Lung Association (ALA);
- Red Cross;
- Local colleges; or
- Local hospitals;
- Not more than 10 hours of training in accredited programs which will assist a licensee to carry out the licensee's professional responsibilities, including, but not limited to:
- Not more than 10 hours teaching acupuncture and related oriental medical therapies in an accredited school or in a program approved for acupuncture continuing education; or
(c) Not more than 10 hours teaching acupuncture and related Oriental medical therapies in an accredited school or in a program approved for acupuncture continuing education;
(d) Not more than 7 hours in published writing or articles in acupuncture and Oriental medicine that are:
(i) Peer-reviewed research or peer-reviewed clinically relevant articles in acupuncture and Oriental medicine; and
(ii) Limited to 4 hours per article.
(e) Not more than 7 hours of pro bono work
(a) Pro bono work shall earn 1 credit hour for each 3 hours of pro bono activity up to a maximum of 7 credit hours per renewal cycle.
(b) Pro bono work shall be for the provision of acupuncture services provided through an organization offering humanitarian services such as, but not limited to:
(i) Domestic or international victims in an emergency situation or disaster area;
(ii) Low income or underserved areas or populations;
(iii) Special needs populations; or
(iv) United States military personnel.
(c) Upon completion of the pro bono work, the licensee shall obtain from the facility written documentation of completion of pro bono hours including:
(i) The name of the facility;
(ii) The address where the pro bono work was provided;
(iii) The type of work that was done;
(iv) The number of hours of actual work provided for which the licensee desires credit hours; and
(v) A statement guaranteeing that the work provided no financial benefit to licensee.
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