Acupuncture is not as respected as it should be within the realm of Medical Professions. With weak and inconsistent legislation national wide, the profession faces challenges to move forward and gain the recognition it deserves. This article hopes to shed light on some of the ways you can support the profession, whether a practitioner or general supporter.
Acupuncture is a profession that unfortunately isn’t seen in the same high regard as other medical professions in the eyes of the legislation, and needs the support of dedicated professionals and allies to create change.
Remember when you are advocating for your profession it is important to stay professional in all settings, as you will be viewed as an Acupuncturist, and your behavior will reflect back onto the profession, whether this is during a local lecture or a National Meeting. This does not mean hiding your unique personality, as I truly believe that is what makes this medicine so powerful when patients or practitioners are able to show up uniquely and truthfully, but holding yourself and the profession at a high standard.
Remember that change takes time and we cannot expect immediate change to take place, as all legislation takes time, but if we continue to act and stay connected our voices will be heard over time.
Major areas of focus
- Importance of Medicare recognition– On July 29, 2021, H.R. 4803 was introduced, the Acupuncture for our Seniors Act. This act is not yet passed by the House or Senate yet, but if passed it would instruct the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “to recognize qualified acupuncturists as Medicare providers. Medicare recognition would enable eligible acupuncturists to provide covered services to Medicare beneficiaries (generally those 65+) without supervision and bill Medicare directly for these services.” This would be a huge advancement for the profession and make it more credible within the National level.
- Recognition of the benefits acupuncture can have for the opioid crisis– The National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) website states, “The nationwide opioid crisis has been a top concern for lawmakers at all levels of government and has been identified as a priority for NCCAOM as well… Acupuncture is a well-supported but underutilized methodology for pain management and has been shown to be successful in reducing or even eliminating opioid prescriptions for acute and chronic pain patients.” Advocating for the expansion of access to acupuncture can help patients with opioid-use disorders and patients suffering from acute or chronic pain, offering a safe and effective pain management option.
- Allowing Congress, the federal government, and national healthcare leaders to view and accept Acupuncture as a primary care methodology.– The scope of practice within the Acupuncture profession is very varied state by state, and this can be confusing for people. As Acupuncture gains acceptance and credibility, it will be easier for people to access it through their insurance, more covered services, and better compensation for practitioners.
Easy Ways to Get Involved
- If you are a practitioner- Join your State Association.
- Access the Advocacy Tool Kit created by the NCCAOM.
- Stay up to date with the American Society of Acupuncturists.
- Text ‘52886’ and type: “Acupuncture” (Acupuncturists), Student (Students), Acupuncture Patient ( Patients), “Senior Citizen” (Seniors), Acupuncture Ally, (General Supporters), Updates (Get Involved and Stay Informed).
- Rewatch webinars put on by the NCCAOM, they have great information to help advance the profession.