In June 2012, the Iowa Board of Physical & Occupational Therapy replied to an inquiry by Dr. Jan Dommerholt that “It has been the consensus of the Board that dry needling does not appear to be prohibited by the law or administrative rules. However, dry needling is an advanced skill that requires additional training beyond entry-level education and should only be performed by PTs who have completed additional education and demonstrated knowledge, skill, ability and competency in the performance of the procedure. If the Board determines that a PT is performing dry needling outside their training or expertise it could result in the licensee being disciplined by the Board. The Board has not issued an official opinion or policy statement on the performance of dry needling by Iowa licensed PTs.”
On August 17, 2015, the Iowa Association of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture filed a Petition for Declaratory Order pursuant to Iowa Code § 17A.9 and 645 IAC Chapter 8. The Petition requests a Declaratory Order from the Iowa Board of Physical & Occupational Therapy regarding dry needling.
On January 14, 2016, the Iowa Board of Physical & Occupational Therapy issued a Ruling on the Petition for Declaratory Order and concluded that dry needling is within the scope of physical therapy practice as defined in Iowa Code section 148A.1(1)(b).
On January 10, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding the declaratory order of the Iowa Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy that dry needling is within the scope of physical therapy. The Court concluded:”The Board is generally allowed to apply its expertise in the area of physical therapy to determine what matters are within the scope of the practice. In granting deference to the Board’s expertise in the area of physical therapy, we conclude its determination that the practice of dry needling falls within the definition of physical therapy was not irrational, illogical, or wholly unjustifiable.”
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