AAAOM attends ASA 2019 Conference in Washington DC
AAAOM Board members, Carlos Chapa (President), Drea Miller (Vice President) and Dr, HaiHe Tian attended ASA's Inaugural Annual Conference: The State of Our Union on June 1-3, 2019. The conference attendance allowed for a show of support among the other acupuncture organizations and enabled the board to again meet with legislative representatives.
AAAOM meets with the Physical Therapist Association
August 5, 2019
AAAOM President Dr. Carlos Chapa met with APTA (American Physical Therapist Association) Vice President Matt Hyland, Executive VP Katy Neas and Dr. Jan Dommerholt from Myopain Seminars. The purpose of the meeting was to create real dialogue between the two organizations and professions.
This meeting took almost a year to set up and it was a result of the mutual initiative of Dr. Chapa and Dr. Dommerholt, after studying dry needling with Myopain Seminars in Quito, Ecuador and after several dinners together and discussing Acupuncture vs Dry Needling the idea of a meeting was born. It had been many years since there has been a formal meeting between the two groups.
The main topics of the meeting were to:
1. Start real dialogue and establish communication between the organizations and professions.
2. Discussed concerns on Acupuncture & Dry Needling including and not limited to standards, definitions, defined scope of practice, reimbursement and practice acts.
3. Explored how we can work together and collaborate,
The meeting was cordial and productive and even though we are unsure of what the future holds, we felt it was necessary. The NCCAOM will also be meeting with APTA in the near future. We discussed having a future meeting with ASA, AAOM, NGAOM and other Acupuncture organizations.
AAAOM has been involved and in constant communication with all Acupuncture Groups mentioned above and looking forward continued collaboration as one of the voices of the profession.
Dr. Carlos Chapa, ND, OMD, L.Ac, Ph.D
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Doctor of Oriental Medicine
Diplomate of Oriental Medicine
Board Certified Herbalist & Licensed Acupuncturist
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is moving forward with formal studies of acupuncture for low back pain. Link to Proposal
The goal is to conduct clinical trials to determine if the evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness warrants Medicare coverage, a critical step for the broader acceptance of acupuncture insurance billing.
CMS is currently soliciting public comments regarding their proposal. Recently, Holistic Billing met directly with CMS staff and Dr. Joseph Chin Deputy Director of the Coverage and Analysis Group and Dr. Shari Ling, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality to voice our concerns with the proposal in its current form, chiefly the omission of licensed acupuncturists in the proposed clinical trials. LACs should be included explicitly in the studies. In our meeting with Dr. Chin and Dr. Ling, they were quite clear that the public comment portal is the best venue to shape the future of these trials.
Currently, there are only 426 comments on the public comment portal. The comment period will close on August 15. The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) Board of Directors asks that you highlight several points below in your responses:
Also, ASA provides a letter template should you wish to incorporate their verbiage or formatting. Letter Template Regardless of where you stand on Medicare covering acupuncture treatments, government decisions affecting acupuncture must include the input of licensed acupuncturists. The comment period will close by August 15; this is your opportunity to be heard.
Are you interested in learning more about insurance billing and coding from a company specializing in billing insurance for acupuncture? Here are some additional tips!
All the best,
Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME
Reposted from Holistic Billing Services
Medicare will cover acupuncture for people involved in research on whether the treatment is effective for chronic low back pain among older adults under a new proposal announced by the Trump administration Monday...
Read the full story at:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida physical therapists cannot offer “dry needling” procedures to their patients, a state judge ruled Monday in a legal challenge filed by a group representing acupuncturists.
Administrative Law Judge Lawrence P. Stevenson issued an order rejecting a proposed rule by the Florida Board of Physical Therapy that set minimum standards for physical therapists to use dry needling. Stevenson said the proposal exceeded the Board of Physical Therapy’s “grant of rulemaking authority because it would expand the scope of physical therapy practice, not merely establish a standard of practice.”
The order can be appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.
Tad Fisher, chief executive officer of the Florida Physical Therapy Association, said Monday he was still reviewing the order with his attorneys and that he wasn’t sure if the association, which formally intervened in the case, would appeal.
Dry needling is the name physical therapists use to describe a technique of inserting filiform needles into the skin at various “trigger points,” which causes certain responses. Filiform needles --- which are used for acupuncture --- are solid. They cannot be used to inject substances or medicine, hence the word “dry.”
Physical therapists in more than 30 states practice dry needling, but it is not authorized by law in Florida.
The Florida Board of Physical Therapy initially published the proposed rule last year. It was pushed in part by the Florida Physical Therapy Association, which touted dry needling as a possible alternative that patients could seek for chronic pain management.
The proposed rule called for allowing physical therapists to perform dry-needle techniques so long as they had taken courses recognized by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, the American Physical Therapy Association, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy or any branch of the United States Armed Forces.
The Florida State Oriental Medical Association, which represents acupuncturists, challenged the proposed rule in the state Division of Administrative Hearings arguing, among other things, that the proposal modified existing law and that it was vague and capricious.
Stevenson agreed with the Florida State Oriental Medical Association that the Board of Physical Therapy expanded state law by passing the rule.
Stevenson said that “dry needling meets the definition of acupuncture in Florida law because it involves the insertion of acupuncture needles” into specific areas of the body.
He noted that the law generally bans physical therapists from performing acupuncture, allowing it only when “no penetration of the skin occurs.”
The Florida State Oriental Medical Association had an announcement on its website Monday afternoon saying “WE WON!!! The Dry Needle Challenge.”
By Christine Sexton, The News Service of Florida
Posted: 5:22 PM, January 28, 2019
NOT-AT-19-005: Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial of Acupuncture for Management of Chronic Low Back Pain in Older Adults (UG3/UH3, Clinical Trial Required) - grants.nih.gov
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts: Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial of Acupuncture for Management of Chronic Low Back Pain in Older Adults (UG3/UH3, Clinical Trial Required) NOT-AT-19-005. NCCIH
2018 Acupuncturist Profession Landmarks in Focus
American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine - Public Policy Committee
· The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) implements a reciprocity process for individuals who have passed the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam (CALE).
· The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act contains budget provisions targeting populations harmed by the opioid epidemic, and is signed into law on October 24 by President Trump.
· Licensed acupuncturists register with System for Award Management (SAM) to submit capacity statements, bid for 2019 government contracts, and apply for small business grants.
· The profession is regulated in 47 states,with clearly defined educational, credentialing, and practice standards. Senator Rader introduces the Oklahoma Acupuncture Practice Act, national acupuncture special interest groups unify in support of this legislation, and the AAAOM formally endorses the bill in December. ,
· Self-payer access to acupuncture increases through utilization of incentives such as IRS medical expense deductions, Flex Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), Health Reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
· Acupuncture becomes available in some Medicare Advantage Plans while insurance companies increase beneficiary access to acupuncture, in alignment with the 9/2017 National Association of Attorneys General request that the American Health Insurance Plans prioritize member incentives for non-pharmacological pain management options.
· Medicaid beneficiaries access acupuncture care in nine states: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Medicaid pilot programs are underway.5 Medicaid directors urge use of nonpharmacological methods, such as acupuncture, to “bring about a reduction in prescription drug abuse and overdose, resulting in an overall reduction in healthcare expenses and an improvement in health outcomes of beneficiaries.”
· Designated as an Essential Health Benefit (EHB) since 2014 in six states (California, Alaska, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Washington) and four territories (American Samoa, Guam, North Mariana Island, Virgin Islands), acupuncture meets at minimum five of the EHB criteria and service categories of care: ambulatory patient services, maternity/infertility, mental health and substance use disorders services, rehabilitative services, preventative wellness, and chronic disease management.21
 H.R.2839: Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2017. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2839
 The Joint Commission. R3 Report. https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/R3_Report_Issue_11_Pain_Assessment_8_25_17_FINAL.pdf
 Gale M, Hospital Practice: Recognition of Acupuncturist as a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP). Meridians. 2016; 3(4): 11-16.
 “Rx Pain Medications, Know the Facts, Managing Your Pain: Which Approach is Right for You?” DHSS, CDC, SAMHSA. https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma17-5053-1.pdf
 Executive Office of the President of the United States. Standard Occupational Classification Manual. 2018. https://www.bls.gov/soc/2018/soc_2018_manual.pdf
 S 2372: The VA MISSION Act of 2018 https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2372/text
 HR 6: SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/6
  Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service. Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses. December 01, 2017: 5. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf
 Retrieved online [1/2/2019] https://fsastore.com/FSA-Eligibility-List/A/Acupuncture-E7.aspx
 Corbet, Michelle, “BlueCross removes Oxycontin, addes acupuncture amid opioid crisis,” Daily Memphian, 26 December 2018.
 Bathurst R, Valentine-Davis B, Williamson T, “Acupuncture and the Oklahoma Budget Crisis: Self Regulation and Workplace Inclusivity of Acupuncturists Relieves Healthcare Costs, Provides Recurrent Revenue, and Protects the Public.” OKAA. August 9, 2017. http://www.okacupunctureassociation.org/
 Marsh & McLennan Companies. State Medicaid Interventions for Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse Overdose: A Report for the National Association of Medicaid Directors. National Association of Medicaid Directors. 2014.
· In alignment with the profession’s 2009 Consensus Conference, Congresswoman Judy Chu champions the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) historic federal bills within the United States Congress as the “Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2017-2018” and the “Acupuncture for our Heroes Act of 2017-2018” with aim to expand qualified acupuncturist services to veterans, military, seniors, disabled, and more.
· Pain assessment/management standards for Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, implemented in January, include provisions for nonpharmacologic pain treatment provided by Licensed Independent Practitioners such as Licensed Acupuncturists.
· Acupuncture is promoted as a pain treatment in government agency patient education materials where it is described as “a practice that involves the stimulation of specific points on the body, usually through the insertion of thin needles into the skin.”
· The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) publishes occupational requirements in February for GS 9-13 licensed acupuncturist positions (supervised/independent/supervisory/administrative). Throughout the year, federal job openings are posted online.
· The Standard Occupation Classification Manual, containing the profession’s new and distinct standard occupation code (SOC) “29-1291 Acupuncturist,” is released in March by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget.
· Terminally ill patients gain the “Right to Try” experimental treatments as S.204 is signed into law by President Trump in May.
· President Trump signs the VA MISSION Act of 2018into law in June to “consolidate the VA’s community care programs into a new Veterans Community Care Program.” Qualified acupuncturists credential as vendors with local VA facilities.
· The Federal Student Aid office implements the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) tool available for individuals working for qualified employers: government organizations (federal, state, local, tribal) and certain 501(c)(3) organizations.
· Professional non-degree and post-graduate degree programs, accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) include: Certificate, Master, and Doctoral levels.
H.R.2839: Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2017. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2839
The Joint Commission. R3 Report. https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/R3_Report_Issue_11_Pain_Assessment_8_25_17_FINAL.pdf
The AAAOM visited with the legislature in Washington D.C. on September 27th-28th, 2018.
AAAOM president Carlos Chapa and others joined the American Alliance of Acupuncture (AAOA) to support the federal bill of H.R. 6110, Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act of 2018. This was introduced by Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Jackie Walorski (IN-02), and has been combined with H.R.6. It was then added to H.R.1099 which had been approved by both House and Senate and then signed by the President. The bill directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to study barriers to accessing non-drug alternatives to opioids. Acupuncture as a safe and effective alternative treatment is included.
A sincere thank you to those who helped make this happen.
The AAAOM attended AOMA's annual Symposium in Austin, TX.
A special thanks to the president of AOMA and to the teachers, faculty and students who spoke with us and expressed their concerns and ideas about the profession.
"American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine" is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.
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