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Colorado Governor Confirms: Dry Needling is in the PT Scope of Practice

Colorado Governor - John Hickenlooper
Colorado Governor – John Hickenlooper

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law SB 13-079, which formally approves and confirms the rule that allows Physical Therapists in Colorado to continue to perform Dry Needling as part of their scope of practice. Rule 211 was re-promulgated last year by the new Colorado Board of Physical Therapy after being in effect several years under the leadership of Rose McCool, director of the Division of Professions and Occupations at the Dept. of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). All new rules, even those that are re-promulgated, must be reviewed and approved in the next Legislative session.

During the 2013 legislative session, acupuncturists challenged the right of PTs to perform dry needling which they contend is a subset of acupuncture and requires an acupuncturist license to perform. This challenge required a major lobbying effort by APTA Colorado to persuade legislators that PTs perform dry needling as part of PT scope of practice – simply using the same tool (a needle) as acupuncturists. A committee of PTs and the chapter lobbying team met with the legislature’s legal analyst who ruled in the PTs’ favor (for the third time) with an excellent summary of the issue, testified at hearings and lobbied many individual legislators about the issue before the bill’s passage by both legislative chambers.


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