Call to all NM DOMs:
It has come to our attention that two Senate bills affecting our profession were dropped this past week at the Roundhouse, SB 421 and SB 461. They appear to be the exact same bill.
For the record, we, the BOD of NMSAAM, the professional society for Doctors of Oriental Medicine, are unanimously opposed to SB 421 and SB 461. We voted at our emergency BOD meeting on Wednesday evening, the 15th of February, 2023. SB461 was actually submitted on Thursday, February 16th, the last day to submit bills.
Other DOMs throughout the state have been alerting us about their concerns about SB421 and SB 461, which would create another license category for the practice of acupuncture in New Mexico: Acupuncturist. This category of practitioner would have lower educational requirements and a more limited scope of practice than Doctors of Oriental Medicine.
We urge you to contact your NM senators, and you are welcome to use the following letter template to use or adapt when you contact them to oppose SB 421 and SB 461:
Dear Senator _________:
I appreciate your hard work for the people of New Mexico. I am a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) and one of your constituents.
It has come to my attention that two Senate bills affecting my profession dropped recently, SB 421 and SB 461. They appear to be the exact same bill.
I am opposed to SB 421 and SB 461. Other DOMs throughout the state have also expressed concerns about these bills, which would create another license category for the practice of our medicine in New Mexico: Acupuncturist. This category of practitioner would have lower educational requirements and a more limited scope of practice than Doctors of Oriental Medicine.
While there are many practical and safety reasons that SB 421 and SB 461 should not be considered, a very important bottom line is unnecessary expense for NM and yet almost exact duplication of services by proposed Acupuncturists.
1. As written, SB 421 and SB 461 would not change the examination requirements. The specified exams are by rule, and presumably if one of these bills is passed, the Board of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine would have to decide what exams are appropriate to license Acupuncturists, and could decide that the NCCAOM herbal exam is not required for them, as it is for DOMs. (NCCAOM is the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.)
2. If passed, SB 421 and SB 461 would actually make it less expedient to get licensed in New Mexico.
a. This would involve substantial rules changes, which are not without cost;
b. RLD staff would have to evaluate two sets of requirements for licensure and for renewal as well.
Relevant Text of SB 421
The sections that accomplish the additional license category are Sections 7 and 8 of the bill. See the changes to Section 61-14A-8(G)(4) NMSA 1978:
grant, deny, renew, suspend or revoke licenses to practice acupuncture +and+ _or_ oriental medicine or grant, deny, renew, suspend or revoke approvals of educational programs and extern programs for any cause stated in the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Practice Act or the rules of the board.
and the changes to Section 61-14A-9(B):
provide for the examination of applicants for licensing as _acupuncturists or_ doctors of oriental medicine as provided in the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Practice Act
There is significantly less training for the proposed Acupuncturists than for DOMs. Other states have been catching up with New Mexico national leadership with our high educational and supervised training standards. Why go backwards?
I urge you to oppose SB 421/SB 461 in any way possible.
Note: If you do not know who your senator is, now is the time to find out. Ask google to search for you. Use your Senate District number from your voter ID card and/or your address. Then you can use the template to email them with your concerns.