Acupuncturists in Pennsylvania take note: SB990 is now officially Act 134. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, you’re probably not spending your free time nose-deep in legislation. But it does change an important law that affects you.
In layman terms, Act 134 means that the Acupuncture Licensure Act has been amended. According to HealthCMi, this new amendment makes two very important changes for the acupuncture industry in Pennsylvania, affecting both how patients can make visits and how acupuncturists need to be insured.
With this act, the amended law now states that…
- Acupuncturists can give preventative acupuncture care to patients without restriction.
- Patients seeking acupuncture treatment for symptoms for longer than 60 days need a physician, podiatrist, or dentist's diagnosis to continue receiving treatment.
In other words, if a patient comes into your acupuncture practice complaining of back pain, you are allowed to treat her up to 60 days after her first appointment with you. But if her condition persists, you are legally prohibited from continuing to give her treatment until the patient receives a medical diagnosis from a doctor. For this reason, it's important that you keep organized, detailed notes on each of your patients and stay knowledgeable about the status of their symptoms.
On the financial side of the things, the amended law now states that…
- Licensed acupuncturists need to carry Professional Liability Insurance (which in the industry is more commonly called Malpractice Insurance) with a minimum of $1 million per occurrence or claims made.
- Failure to have this coverage can result in a suspended license.
Previously, acupuncturists in PA weren't required to carry this coverage, so make sure you review your insurance policies and verify that you meet the legal requirements.
Keeping Up and Managing Professional Liability
As this new law goes to show, it's critical to keep up with developments in your field so you're not left in the dust. Just like adapting to technology can make or break a small business, so too can legislation change the playing field suddenly and dramatically if you're not paying attention. In this case, an uninformed Pennsylvanian acupuncturist with a gap in her malpractice coverage could have her license suspended, and she'd potentially lose weeks' worth of business.
Wide-scale changes across the healthcare world are making it increasingly important for healthcare and wellness professionals to be informed. As more of the health industry relies on patient data and digital files, data security regulations are sure to expand. On top of this, health care professionals are still working through the consequences of the Affordable Care Act and updating their own methods to adapt to the market.
Those in the health and wellness field need to devote at least a little bit of time to understand the laws that affect them. Malpractice suits can sometimes overshadow other concerns, but the average practitioner is going to have to be a lot more worried about penalties, fines, and possible loss of eligibility to practice if they don't stay informed on regulations.
Make sure to:
- Stay informed on changing legislation.
- Manage and maintain your Malpractice Insurance coverage.
- Keep up to date on data security regulations.
With this knowledge, not only will patients stay protected from negligence and data breaches, but healthcare professionals will stay protected from losing their licenses or being sued. It's a win-win. And that's language that everybody can understand.