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(1) In addition to those forms of unprofessional conduct defined in 37-1-316, MCA, the following is unprofessional conduct for a licensee or license applicant under Title 37, chapter 13, MCA:

(a) failure to maintain professional boundaries in relationships with patients, or in any way exploiting the practitioner/patient trust;

(b) engaging in sexual contact with a current patient if the contact commences after the practitioner/patient relationship is established;

(c) engaging in sexual contact with a former patient, unless a reasonable period of time has elapsed since the professional relationship ended and unless the sexual contact does not exploit the trust established during the professional relationship;

(d) failure to utilize clean needle technique, as required by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or its successor;

(e) conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public;

(f) making a false or misleading statement regarding the licensee's skill or the effectiveness or value of the medicine, treatment, or remedy prescribed by the licensee or at the licensee's direction, in the treatment of a disease or other condition of the body or mind;

(g) resorting to fraud, misrepresentation, or deception in the examination or treatment of a person; or in billing, giving, or receiving a fee related to professional services; or reporting to a person, company, institution, or organization, including fraud, misrepresentation, or deception with regard to a claim for benefits under Title 39, chapter 71 or 72, MCA;

(h) use of a false, fraudulent, or deceptive statement in any document connected with the practice of acupuncture;

(i) having been subject to disciplinary action of another state or jurisdiction against a license or other authorization to practice acupuncture, based upon acts or conduct by the licensee similar to acts or conduct that would constitute grounds for disciplinary action under Title 37, chapter 13, MCA, or these rules. A certified copy of the record of the action taken by the other state or jurisdiction is evidence of unprofessional conduct;

(j) willful disobedience of a rule adopted by the board, or an order of the board regarding enforcement of discipline of a licensee;

(k) failing to furnish to the board or its investigators or representatives information legally requested by the board;

(l) failing to cooperate with a lawful investigation conducted by the board;

(m) obtaining a fee or other compensation, either directly or indirectly, by the misrepresentation that a manifestly incurable disease, injury, or condition of a person can be cured;

(n) abusive billing practices;

(o) testifying in court on a contingency basis;

(p) conspiring to misrepresent or willfully misrepresenting a medical condition improperly to increase or decrease a settlement, award, verdict, or judgment;

(q) except as provided in this subsection, practicing acupuncture as the partner, agent, or employee of, or in joint venture with, a person who does not hold a license to practice acupuncture within this state; however, this does not prohibit:

(i) the incorporation of an individual licensee or group of licensees as a professional service corporation under Title 35, chapter 4, MCA;

(ii) the organization of a professional limited liability company under Title 35, chapter 8, MCA, for the providing of professional services as defined in Title 35, chapter 8, MCA;

(iii) practicing acupuncture as the partner, agent or employee of, or in joint venture with, a hospital, medical assistance facility or other licensed health care provider; however,

(A) the partnership, agency, employment or joint venture must be evidenced by a written agreement containing language to the effect that the relationship created by the agreement may not affect the exercise of the acupuncturist's independent judgment in the practice of acupuncture;

(B) the acupuncturist's independent judgment in the practice of acupuncture must in fact be unaffected by the relationship; and

(C) the acupuncturist may not be required to refer any patient to a particular provider or supplier or take any other action that the acupuncturist determines not to be in the patient's best interest;

(r) failing to transfer pertinent and necessary patient records to another licensed health care provider, the patient, or the patient's representative when requested to do so by the patient or the patient's legally designated representative;

(s) misrepresenting professional credentials (i.e., education, training, experience, level of competence, skills, and/or certification status);

(t) engaging in conduct that demonstrates a lack of knowledge of, or lack of ability in, or failure to apply the prevailing principles and/or skills of the profession in which the individual has been certified;

(u) terminating an existing relationship with a patient, for whatever reason, without verifiable written notice prior to terminating the relationship, and sufficiently far in advance to allow other medical care to be secured;

(v) failing to place patient medical records in a secure location preceding, during, or following a change in practice location or termination of a patient relationship or an acupuncture practice; or knowingly breaching confidentiality of patient medical records with an individual unauthorized to receive medical records; or

(w) any other act, whether specifically enumerated or not, that in fact constitutes unprofessional conduct.

History: 37-1-134, 37-1-136, 37-1-319, 37-13-201, MCA; IMP, 37-1-308, 37-1-309, 37-1-310, 37-1-311, 37-1-312, 37-1-316, 37-1-319, 37-13-201, MCA; NEW, 1993 MAR p. 1322, Eff. 6/25/93; AMD, 1994 MAR p. 1580, Eff. 6/10/94; AMD, 1995 MAR p. 2480, Eff. 11/23/95; TRANS, from Commerce, 2001 MAR p. 1471; AMD, 2012 MAR p. 404, Eff. 2/24/12; AMD, 2014 MAR p. 2833, Eff. 11/21/14.

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