Acupuncture Education Day during the 2014 legislative session was a big success, we not only treated many legislators and their staff at our display, I also had the opportunity to make several private treatment appointments over the course of 4 days and was able to help a variety of legislators and their staff. I also met with top executives at the Department of Health, as well as the Governor’s Chief of Staff. We believe that by giving them an experience, they may remember us when legislative issues arise.
Our biggest PR issue remains; very few realize that we are licensed, and that we are considered a form of primary healthcare. I know, it sounds crazy, but most have no idea.
The Dry Needling battle was won this past summer with the Physical Therapy board. FAA president Hongjian He and FSOMA president Ellen Teeter, along with the Society, put together a presentation. The physical therapy board decided against creating a board rule allowing the use of dry needling by PTs.
The Society and their lobbyist Ramon Maury, was invited to participate in a round table workshop in Tallahassee this past June with the Department of Health along with representatives from the various boards. The topic was Florida’s Healthiest Weight Initiative, and Healthiest State Initiative. The issue of public health, and the “brain-storming” round-table discussions were enlightening, with regards to how we can collectively help educate Florida’s population about healthy choices.
We are also working with the unlicensed activity division on public education messages, and we hope this initiative will help position our profession properly, and give us the standing as primary care providers that is long due.
As an ongoing effort, the Society, the FAA and FSOMA have been coordinating our public relations and legislative efforts so we present our profession as united. We are already planning our Acupuncture Education Day in the Capitol during the 2015 legislative session.
On an internal level, the Society has gone through a web site remodel, so please take a look and let me know what you think.
Now for the bad news…
We have a big issue on the horizon for the next legislative session – the Physical Therapists are going to the legislature so they can do dry needling. We have a big fight on our hands and we are creating a strategy, but more financial support is needed, immediately. The good news is this; we’ve won this battle before in the legislature. Not many remember this fight, because it ended in the first round. Our lobbyist Ramon Maury, along with former Rep Peter Nehr, Dr. Kim Marie, and me, Dr. Mary Riggin, shut it down before the language ever got any traction. Unfortunately, Rep Nehr is no longer in the legislature. That means we need to create new friends in the legislature, which is why we are watching the current elections very closely.
Please consider visiting your legislators, and encourage your patients to do the same. On a grass roots level, everyone needs to let the legislators in their home districts know that decisions made regarding Acupuncture regulation affects business owners and the patients they serve.
In fact, our patients have more to lose then we do. They could eventually lose access if we are not able to thrive on a professional level. For this reason, I’ve created the Consumers Political Activism committee for our patients. Membership is only $39 and goes directly to political activism. Please encourage your patients to join.
This can give us powerful political influence – patients organizing to defend a profession. It is unprecedented. Consumers rarely, if ever, get involved with regulatory issues – it’s typically the profession that does that. Our situation is different. We are at risk of losing the integrity of the medicine if we don’t fight for it. If we can get our patients to join us in this fight, those numbers could be big enough to make the legislature listen, and give us the resources for a professional Public Relations campaign.
There is much to be done, so your membership and any additional financial support would be appreciated.
Thanks for your support, talk to you soon,
Mary Riggin, President
Florida Society for Doctors of Oriental Medicine
PS: If you liked this update, please let me know, and please – let me know your top 2 questions regarding the politics of our profession.
FL Judge Rules Against Dry Needling Rule
January 31, 2019
19 Years in Tallahassee!
March 31, 2016
Florida Legislature Takes Ground-Breaking Steps Towards Solving the Opioid Crisis in Florida!