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Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Subchapter 1. Administrative Director--Administrative Rules
Article 5.5.2. Medical treatment utilization schedule

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§ 9792.24.1. Acupuncture Medical Treatment Guidelines.

(a) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Acupuncture” is used as an option when pain medication is reduced or not tolerated, it may be used as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation and/or surgical intervention to hasten functional recovery. It is the insertion and removal of filiform needles to stimulate acupoints (acupuncture points). Needles may be inserted, manipulated, and retained for a period of time. Acupuncture can be used to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, increase range of motion, decrease the side effect of medication-induced nausea, promote relaxation in an anxious patient, and reduce muscle spasm.
(2) “Acupuncture with electrical stimulation” is the use of electrical current (micro-amperage or milli-amperage) on the needles at the acupuncture site. It is used to increase effectiveness of the needles by continuous stimulation of the acupoint. Physiological effects (depending on location and settings) can include endorphin release for pain relief, reduction of inflammation, increased blood circulation, analgesia through interruption of pain stimulus, and muscle relaxation. It is indicated to treat chronic pain conditions, radiating pain along a nerve pathway, muscle spasm, inflammation, scar tissue pain, and pain located in multiple sites.
(3) “Chronic pain for purposes of acupuncture” means chronic pain as defined in section 9792.20(c).
(b) Application
(1) These guidelines apply to acupuncture or acupuncture with electrical stimulation when referenced in the clinical topic medical treatment guidelines in the series of sections commencing with 9792.23.1 et seq., or in the chronic pain medical treatment guidelines contained in section 9792.24.2.
(c) Frequency and duration of acupuncture or acupuncture with electrical stimulation may be performed as follows:
(1) Time to produce functional improvement: 3 to 6 treatments.
(2) Frequency: 1 to 3 times per week
(3) Optimum duration: 1 to 2 months
(d) Acupuncture treatments may be extended if functional improvement is documented as defined in Section 9792.20(e).
(e) It is beyond the scope of the Acupuncture Medical Treatment Guidelines to state the precautions, limitations, contraindications or adverse events resulting from acupuncture or acupuncture with electrical stimulations. These decisions are left up to the acupuncturist.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 133, 4603.5, 5307.3 and 5307.27, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 77.5, 4600, 4604.5 and 5307.27, Labor Code.
1. Renumbering and amendment of former section 9792.21, subsections (a)(2)-(a)(2)(E) to new section 9792.24.1 filed 6-18-2009; operative 7-18-2009 (Register 2009, No. 25).
2. Editorial correction of operative date in History 1 (Register 2009, No. 30).
3. Amendment of subsection (d) filed 4-20-2015; operative 4-20-2015 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2015, No. 17).

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