The PT intramuscular or dry needling bill, 2SHB 1039 passed out of the House of Representatives with no requested amendments on Monday with yeas, 94; nays, 1; absent, 0; excused, 3. (View Roll Calls) Chaiya Sherman, WAEMA President, and I met with the bill sponsor for an hour and a half this past Sunday afternoon to discuss potential amendments to the bill, but to no avail.
The bill now heads to the Senate Health Care Committee for a public hearing sometime after March 8th. There is not a date available yet as to when the hearing will be scheduled. Chaiya and I are still working on amendments such as adding in specifics like “trigger point needling” in the definition and clarity over no needle retention or electrical stimulation.
There is some good news! The bill was amended in the House Appropriations Committee which increased the number of hours of training from 175 to 325 hours. WAEMA worked hard to get an increase in the number of training hours and, although it was not as high as we requested, it’s still the highest number of hours of training for PT dry needling anywhere in the United States where 43 states and the Veterans Administration currently allow it to be performed. The next highest is Utah with 300 hours of training.
There are many stages in the legislative process where a bill can be amended. For clarification, the bill was amended in the Health Care Committee and Appropriations. It did not get amended on the Floor of the House with our additional requested amendments after our meeting with the bill sponsor, Rep Macri. Please see this link to the legislative process. OverviewoftheLegislativeProces
In the amended bill, Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine Practitioners were also added to the list of qualified providers for a successful clinical review of a minimum of 150 hours of at least 150 individual intramuscular needling treatment sessions.
Sadly, we believe it is unlikely that the bill will die this session with this kind of support from legislators. There are over 10,000 PTs and around 1,500 AEMPs and their voice is coming through loud and clear this session to support the bill.
WAEMA is still working hard to amend the bill and we need your support! Please reach out to your Senator and email them now. Go to Find Your District and enter your home address and your state Senator will pop up. Here is a sample message to use with your Senator:
Please oppose 2SHB 1039 Concerning physical therapists performing intramuscular needling as it is written. I am an Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine Practitioner who lives in your district. I am very concerned about the broad scope of this legislation.
SSHB 1039 in its current state does not adequately limit the type of needling that will be allowed and permits the practice of acupuncture by not addressing needle retention or electrical stimulation of the needles. The PT Dry Needling Sunrise Review (2016) specifically identifies “trigger point needling” in the definition and this phrase needs to be included in the current bill. We request an amendment that will address these issues and provide additional public safety requirements.
Please work with the acupuncture community towards a compromise bill that will address the concerns of our profession to provide a safe and effective treatment for patients in Washington state.
Thank you for your consideration.
Your name and credentials…
Thanks for your support and assistance in getting this bill amended in a way that protects the public and acupuncturists in Washington State!