In this November 30, 2013 photo, 17-year-old professional freeskier Torin Yater-Wallace gives the thumbs-down sign from his hospital bed at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, Colorado, while recovering from surgery for a traumatic pneumothorax (an accumulation of air in the pleural cavity resulting from blunt or penetrating chest injury and causing partial or complete lung collapse) that he suffered after a physical therapist punctured his right lung with an acupuncture needle. (Photo: @TorinWallace)


Medicare Fraud Related to Dry Needling

Dry needling is acupuncture (1), a non-covered service (2).

It is a violation of Federal law when unqualified practitioners of acupuncture, such as physical therapists, submit a claim for payment to Medicare for dry needling disguised, for example, as electrical stimulation (Current Procedural Terminology [CPT] code 97032), therapeutic exercises (CPT code 97110), neuromuscular reeducation (CPT code 97112), or manual therapy (CPT code 97140) (3).

To report Medicare fraud related to dry needling, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.


  1. Yellow Emperor’s inner classic (黃帝內經 [Huáng Dì nèi jīng]). China; compiled in the first century BCE.

  2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare & You. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; 2017 Nov.

  3. See 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733.