Senate Bill 2214 allows acupuncturists to see patients without first getting a referral from a medical doctor if the acupuncturist has been licensed in Mississippi longer than five years. Getty Israel is a public health professional who uses acupuncture to control chronic pain from an accident. She supports the bill because she says it gives her more choices.
"I live in Mississippi. A state that claims to believe in freedom, a state that claims to believe in capitalism and to promote free enterprise. And so this isn't just about acupuncture. This is about me as a patient having the right to choose my line of therapy."
Dr. Lee Voulters disagrees. He's president of the Mississippi State Medical Association. Voulters says taking medical doctors out of the equation could be dangerous.
"It takes the physician out of the evaluation of a medical problem. It removes the physician from the process and I think it sets a dangerous precedent. It basically sets up an acupuncturist as an independent practitioner of a field of medicine."
Senate Bill 2214 now goes to the House, where a similar bill has already died in committee. SOC