In 2011, dry needling was put on the agenda of the licensing board, the Washington State Board of Physical Therapy (WBPT), however the licensing board took no action and remained silent. In 2012, WBPT looked at the issue again and agreed that PTs performing dry needling need to be properly trained; however, they still took no action.
On October 10, 2014, the Honorable Laura C. Inveen, judge at the Superior Court for the State of Washington, County of King, ruled that dry needling is considered the practice of medicine in Washington State and outside the scope of physical therapy practice. Kinetacore, a continuing education company based in Colorado, was enjoined from holding any workshops, classes or similar trainings in the State of Washington by physical therapists. The ruling was the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the State of Washington ex rel South Sound Acupuncture Association, a State of Washington non-profit corporation, vs. Kinetacore, a Colorado LLC doing business in the State of Washington, Edo Zylstra, CEO and owner of Kinetacore, Kerry Maywhort, a Kinetacore instructor, Emerald City Physical Therapy Services, LLC doing business as Salmopn Bay Physical Therapy. LLC, a limited liability company, John Does 1-10 and Jane Does 1-10, No. 13-2-04894-9 SEA.
On March 31, 2015, a Washington State Senate Committee killed a proposed bill HB 1042, which would have prevented physical therapists from using dry needling in Washington State.
On April 15, 2016, the Attorney General of Washington State concluded that “the definition of the practice of physical therapy indicates that the legislature did not intend to include dry needling within the scope of practice. We have been informed of many reasons for including dry needling in the practice of physical therapy and arguments to the contrary, but our role is not to resolve such public policy disputes. We conclude only that RCW 18.74, as currently written and implemented, does not encompass dry needling in the practice of physical therapy”.
On August 2, 2016, Jan Dommerholt and other dry needling experts testified on behalf of PTs competence to perform dry needling as part of a Physical Therapy Sunrise Review. The Sunrise Review committee concluded that with adequate training, “dry needling may fit within the physical therapist’s scope of practice” and agreed that the evidence demonstrated a “low rate of serious adverse events” from physical therapists performing dry needling in other states, the US military and Canada.
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