Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Talks About Dry Needling In Kansas

The Kansas Board of Healing Arts scheduled a public meeting to discuss an amendment to the state’s physical therapy regulations. The Board is seeking public comment and testimony regarding the physical therapy treatment known as “dry needling.” The public hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2017. Dry needling is a relatively new and controversial treatment akin to acupuncture but is not identical to acupuncture. As of this writing, 25 states have permitted dry needling as a practice by physical therapists. States such as Tennessee, New York, Idaho, Hawaii, and South Dakota forbid the practice by physical therapists. Missouri has yet to rule on the issue. Performing functional dry needling (FDN) without express statutory or regulatory authority may be an ethics violation.  Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger has extensive experience representing physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals, facing disciplinary action.

FDN is a modality for myofascial release. The therapist uses a slender, dry, sterile needle to penetrate the skin and go directly to a trigger point.  The practice is useful for treating muscles, ligaments, and tendons as well.  Practitioners use FDN to treat neuromuscular pain and have done so successfully in numerous cases. Therapists have reported success with FDN to relieve pain in which traditional practices such as manipulation failed to provide relief. The theory behind the treatment is what separates it from acupuncture. FDN is based upon western medicine’s understanding of the anatomy and scientific study. The two disciplines reportedly differ on diagnostic criteria, needle manipulation, and insertion points as well.

Proponents of the practice are vociferous in their praise and advocacy for permitting the practice. One source noted a physical therapist found that FDN works faster and has a greater track record of success for patients than traditional physical therapeutic modalities. The therapist characterized the patient’s increased mobility as “dramatic.” On the other hand, FDN was criticized for causing greater harm when an Olympic hopeful lost out on the chance to compete in the 2006 games due to dry needling causing a punctured lung.  FDN’s benefits seem to outweigh the risks, and the resistance seems to be coming from currently licensed acupuncturists.

The Kansas Board of Healing Arts proposes to amend K.S.R. 100-29-18 though 20. The proposed section 18 would allow physical therapists licensed in Kansas to practice FDN if the measure passes. The physical therapist must pass the prescribed educational requirements to use FDN on patients. The proposed legislation prohibits on-line, and self-study as a means to become certified in the practice. Additionally, the physical therapist must pass a practical and written examination before the Kansas Board of Healing Arts certifies the physical therapist in FDN treatments if such a course was not a mandatory component of medical study before becoming licensed. Once certified, the therapist is only permitted to practice FDN in those anatomical areas in which the practitioner is certified.  Furthermore, the proposed legislation prohibits the therapist from delegating dry needling to a non-certified individual.

The proposed section 19 involves the informed consent of the patient. The therapist must obtain the informed consent in writing from the patient before performing the procedure. The therapist must obtain written informed consent from the patient for each anatomical location upon which the therapist proposes to carry out the procedure.  Additionally, the therapist must maintain precise and accurate records regarding the areas in which the patient received FDN.

Experience Fighting For Professional Licensees

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger is a committed and ardent advocate for professional licensees. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation if you are facing professional discipline or are the subject of an investigation into unethical practices in Kansas or Missouri. Attorney Sanger’s experience and determination can protect your livelihood.