A Message from AcuCongress Founder
Dr. Kallie Byrd Guimond, MPH, OM.D, L.Ac
I began receiving text messages the minute the statement was issued. I missed the meeting, so I am paraphrasing what was said to me: coming from the NCCAOM/ASA Town Hall, it appears the industry has been told that if they don’t get their act together, they have three years left. I think it’s time to address the reality of that statement.
There is no way to predict what will happen in three years but there are some very good things coming down the pike, that have a sense of urgency, if we are to protect our position as the experts with the most experience, clinical training and continuing education in the field. Otherwise, we run the risk of remaining in our current circumstances with everyone who has a form of acupuncture in scope, except those who have oversight of us: acupuncture technicians.
The good news is that access to acupuncture is being expanded across the board federally. The bad news is that they do not acknowledge our education when factoring for reimbursement, and they will not do so unless we make them aware of it.
What could happen in three years? Well, the Chiropractors (ACA, not ICA) are seeking to expand their federal scope to include everything in their state licensing statutes, which includes acupuncture or dry needling in most states. The Physical Therapists (APTA) are seeking federal expansion into preventive services and behavioral health to be added to the Public Health Service Corps for everything that we could also be incredibly instrumental in: wellness and preventive services, disaster relief, and emotional/behavioral health. ALL of these groups are looking to be included in the rules & regulations of acupuncture services and we are seeing their efforts in the responses to requests for public comments regarding pain management and substance use disorders.
What COULD happen in three years is that others who have attained state scope inclusion of acupuncture or dry needling will also be successful in their federal expansion efforts, while we are still sitting here arguing over the naming of our profession. None of that will matter when they simply designate us as acupuncture technicians. It’s time to get serious, because other allied health professionals who perform acupuncture don’t think we are organized, don’t know we are trained in advocacy, nor do they believe we have the resources to keep up with them. That is simply untrue. Do not listen to the noise. Do not become what they swear we are. Time to rally around all that unites this incredibly diverse field and claim our medicine, our education & our considerable skills.
To that end, we are here to ask that you not panic, join your colleagues in EVERY ENDEAVOR and get ready to roll up your sleeves. We FINALLY have a proper session to work, from Prefiling to Passage (and all opportunities for stripping language for Omnibus packages are included in our strategy.)
We are still waiting to see what the other stakeholders have to say about the AcuCongress amendments recently submitted. We will let the industry know about every step of the process as we move forward. For now, we have thousands of people who have signed the letter to Congress and enough data regarding the industry’s choice for federal designation of Licensed Acupuncturist, rather than “Qualified Acupuncturist” to submit to Congresswoman Chu’s Office after interim elections. If you have not taken the survey or signed the letter, please follow the steps below.
We will break this down ONE MONTH AT A TIME. There will be a flurry of organized activity at various times, but we are trying to create exercises that are fun, build unity, promote who you are, and GET THE JOB DONE! Outreach to your legislators does not require an event…it requires constant, consistent constituency. It’s time to tell them that #WeARELicensedAcupuncturists, we are #LicensedtoPracticeAcupuncture and it’s time for the US to #CoverLicensedAcupuncturists.
Dr. Kallie Byrd Guimond, MPH, OM.D, L.Ac
Licensed Acupuncturists, SC01
Please note: This article expresses the opinions and research of the author, and does not necessarily reflect all views or policies of NMSAAM members, the NMSAAM BOD, or the ASA.