Elimination of Acupuncture Board Under Consideration
The administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and some members of the Legislature are pushing to abolish the six-year-old California Acupuncture Board, the Los Angeles Times reports. Under state law, the board will dissolve in July 2006 unless the Legislature renews it.
The administration and lawmakers say the board, which regulates acupuncturists in the state, has primarily been concerned with promoting the profession rather than regulating acupuncturists and protecting consumers, according to the Times.
The 10-member board oversees 9,200 acupuncturists and 16 acupuncture schools in the state. If the board were abolished, regulation of acupuncturists in California would shift to the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) -- chair of the joint Senate Boards, Commissions and Consumer Protection Committee, which regulates professionals in the state -- is the "chief proponent of eliminating the board," according to the Times. Figueroa said, "This board just doesn't know how to obey the law."
Marilyn Nielsen, the board's executive director, said the effort to eliminate the board is "a smoke screen to get to the profession" and reduce acupuncturists' "status to diagnose and refer" patients in California.
Assembly member Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) said, "You will have bureaucrats overseeing professional issues of acupuncturists" if the board is dissolved into the consumer affairs department. She added, "They will not necessarily know very much about acupuncture."
In February, Schwarzenegger abandoned his proposal from the California Performance Review to eliminate 88 state boards -- including the acupuncture board -- and transfer the boards' duties to the Department of Consumer Affairs after the proposal drew criticism from Democratic legislators and some other groups (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 5/30).