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2018 Acupuncturist Profession Landmarks in Focus - Part II

27 Jan 2019 11:46 AM | Anonymous

2018 Acupuncturist Profession Landmarks in Focus

Part II

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).[13] 

·         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.[14] 

·         Licensed acupuncturists register with System for Award Management (SAM)[15] 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.[3] 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. [16],[17]

·         Self-payer access to acupuncture increases through utilization of incentives such as IRS medical expense deductions,[18] Flex Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), Health Reimbursement arrangement (HRA).[19]

·         Acupuncture becomes available in some Medicare Advantage Plans[20] while insurance companies increase beneficiary access to acupuncture,[21] 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.[22]  

·         Medicaid beneficiaries access acupuncture care in nine[23] 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.”[24]

·         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


[1] H.R.2839:  Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2017.

[2] The Joint Commission. R3 Report.

[3] Gale M, Hospital Practice: Recognition of Acupuncturist as a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP). Meridians.  2016; 3(4): 11-16.

[4] “Rx Pain Medications, Know the Facts, Managing Your Pain:  Which Approach is Right for You?”  DHSS, CDC, SAMHSA.



[7] Executive Office of the President of the United States. Standard Occupational Classification Manual. 2018.


[9] S 2372:  The VA MISSION Act of 2018





[14] HR 6:  SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act




[18] [18] Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service.  Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses. December 01, 2017: 5.

[19] Retrieved online [1/2/2019]


[21] Corbet, Michelle, “BlueCross removes Oxycontin, addes acupuncture amid opioid crisis,” Daily Memphian, 26 December 2018.


[23] 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.

[24] 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.


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