College board appointed for B.C. acupuncturists

by Pamela Fayerman of Vancouver Sun

Vancouver, April 18, 1996 --The provincial government appointed a board for a self-governing B.C. College of Acupuncturists (name changed to College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Practitioners of BC) Thursday and Premier Glen Clark said he's thinking about getting the ancient Oriental treatment himself for his stress.

Clark and Health Minister Andrew Petter made the announcement of the college board at a news conference.

"From this day forward, the college will ensure that British Columbians get acupuncture treatment from qualified, ethical practitioners," Clark said.

Acupuncture, which costs about $50 a visit, will not be covered by the Medical Services Plan and the government will not provide financial assistance to the college, which will be governed by nine people. Rather, the college will operate on a pool of funds from its members.

There are about 1,000 practitioners in the province but their training and expertise varies greatly. There are four training programs in the province, each running three years.

Clark said until now, "anyone could hang up a sign and call themselves an acupuncturist." The college will ensure that people are properly trained, pass exams and meet standards of practice.

He said while the government is reluctant to "raise expectations" it's possible the treatments one day might be covered by medicare for those addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Grant Smith, a board member and long time advocate for such a regulatory body, said he's relieved the government has finally acted on the repeated requests of practitioners.

Prepared by Ricardo B. Serrano, DAc, MH, ADS
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