NY Governor Excludes Acupuncture For Injured Workers

January 3, 2019 


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed SB 6666, a workers acupuncture treatment bill that passed both the state senate and assembly. The bill included provisions for implementing acupuncture in the state’s workers compensation system. The bill would have allowed licensed acupuncturists to provide acupuncture treatments to injured workers.

Gov. Cuomo has effectively denied injured workers the right to receive acupuncture treatment for pain and suffering due to industrial related injuries. This stance is fundamentally in opposition to an individual’s right to choose their own licensed medical practitioner. This also blocks medical doctors from making referrals to licensed acupuncturists.

The bill required acupuncturists to submit an application for inclusion in the workers compensation system and to pay a fee. In addition, a committee would have been created, which would be responsible for approving all applications and overseeing implementation of the fees. The bill notes that the committee was to include “two licensed acupuncturists, and one duly licensed physician of the state of New York.”

The bill was introduced by Sen. George Amedore, R-Albany (46th district), and was cosponsored by Sen. Luis Sepulveda, D-Bronx (32nd district). The bill included stringent oversight and reporting requirements for all licensed acupuncturists providing acupuncture to injured workers. Looking at the finer notes of the bill, the word chairman was removed from existing worker’s compensation law and would have been replaced with the term chairperson.

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