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Use of Unlicensed Healthcare Personnel in Acupuncture

In providing safe, effective, and efficient care, an Oregon-licensed acupuncturist may be assisted by unlicensed healthcare personnel. Acupuncturists must use caution when employing unlicensed personnel, including ensuring adequate training and appropriate supervision and avoiding delegation of the practice of acupuncture. 

An acupuncturist may not allow unlicensed healthcare personnel to practice acupuncture as defined in ORS 677.757. Unlicensed healthcare personnel may not diagnose, provide point location or needle insertion, perform manipulation, render advice to patients, or perform other procedures requiring a similar degree of judgment or skill.

Unlicensed healthcare personnel may perform administrative, clerical, and supportive services under adequate supervision by a licensed acupuncturist. Supportive services may include, but are not limited to, the operation of an e-stim machine after the acupuncturist has placed needles, attached leads, and set frequency. Operation in this context includes turning on the machine, adjusting intensity for patient comfort, turning off the machine, and unclipping the machine from needles so long as the unlicensed healthcare personnel is trained to do so. Unlicensed healthcare personnel may also remove needles after receiving appropriate training and supervision from a licensed acupuncturist.

Unlicensed healthcare personnel should clearly identify themselves to patients. This should include clear identification on badges as well as direct communication with patients.

In order to fulfill its mission to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of Oregonians, the Oregon Medical Board asks Oregon-licensed acupuncturists to follow these guidelines and to be mindful of patient safety when using the assistance of unlicensed healthcare personnel.

- Adopted July 1, 2021

The Oregon Medical Board holds licensees to recognized standards of ethics of the medical profession, including the Oregon Association of Acupuncturists' Code of Ethics: Rule 2.3 Staff, and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine's 2016 Code of Ethics.

See ORS 677.190(1)(a) and ORS 677.188(4)(a)