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WASHINGTON, DC, August 06, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- With the introduction of Congresswoman Judy Chu's (D-CA-27) bill HR 4803, Acupuncture for Seniors Act of 2021, AcuCongress issues a "Call to Action" to all members of the Licensed Acupuncturist community.
Since January 2020, Acupuncture services have been covered by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) singularly for chronic lower back pain. While guidelines issued in 2020 allow for services to be performed by Licensed Acupuncturists, the same guidelines installed restrictive conditions preventing the experts in the field from billing Medicare directly and requiring "appropriate supervision" to perform these services. Oversight by other healthcare professionals to perform acupuncture services is inconsistent with almost every state licensing statute governing acupuncture. There has been no further guidance from the regulatory agency regarding the definition of "appropriate supervision," other than to suggest a legislative mandate as a remedy. As such, while acupuncture is covered by CMS, Licensed Acupuncturists remain uncovered providers. To change this requires an act of Congress.
AcuCongress is a coalition founded specifically for the purpose of training the East Asian medicine industry and its allies to lead the campaign to pass federal legislation that expands the definition of covered providers to include acupuncture services as performed by Licensed Acupuncturists. HR 4803 is an act that does just that. AcuCongress founder Dr. Kallie Byrd Guimond, OM.D, MPH says "One of the hardest obstacles to overcome in the industry is understanding the reality that outside of our community of practitioners and patients, there is still a knowledge gap amongst the larger medical community, and the public at large regarding the education and skills needed to perform acupuncture services. This is especially true among members of Congress. Any industry of skilled professionals that does not advocate for their profession risks having the direction and status of that profession decided for them. AcuCongress is designed purely to help the experts in the acupuncture industry advocate for themselves and steer the decisions regarding their role within the American healthcare system."
Call to Action:
The call to action asks that members of the profession gain the additional skills necessary to effectively advocate in the shepherding of federal legislation. This includes collaborating with state acupuncture associations to foster the unity required to achieve momentum and ultimate success. The keystone topics for the upcoming Atlantic Symposium (AS), which has collaborative agreements with dozens of state associations and other industry leaders, are business, advocacy and research. Guimond continues, "The Atlantic Symposium is a natural choice to partner with to provide in-person advocacy training. Moreover, there are no better ambassadors of advocacy efforts than the state associations. They've been successfully shepherding their own state legislation to passage for decades. The goal of AcuCongress is to provide state associations with training in the federal arena in order to gain Congressional support for bills like Representative Chu's bill. For this to succeed, we need a concerted, collaborative effort." Blake Langley, ND, L.Ac, AcuCongress Trainer adds, "It is inspiring to see the dedication to patients, especially those who may be more vulnerable to injury and pain, by Congresswoman Chu. What we are seeing are the initial steps necessary to improve access for patients on Medicare, both current and future. We must all unite in support of this bill to help individuals cross-generationally address the chronic pain and opioid epidemic. AcuCongress will serve as the home for training on unified messaging and grassroots actions related to this bill."
The Crossroads of Business, Advocacy & Research:
Integral to advocacy is the ability to provide evidence-based acupuncture research to members of Congress who may not be familiar with the benefits of acupuncture or the training of the acupuncture work force. Jennifer Stone MSOM, Senior Editor of Medical Acupuncture Journal states, "For American acupuncturists to become Medicare providers, they will need access to research and evidence to become better advocates for their medicine. The Acupuncture Research Dissemination for Advocacy Initiative & Literacy is teaming up with AcuCongress to disseminate research to American acupuncturists as a tool for empowering advocacy efforts, with the ultimate goal of providing greater access to acupuncture for seniors in the US." That access will lead to further job opportunities within the field of acupuncture in healthcare settings that seek to include them in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs,) rural health clinics (RHCs,) expanded federal programs within the VA and DoD, as well as other opportunities to provide services within the US healthcare system. Dr. Jason Sargis, DAOM, L.Ac, founder and organizer of Atlantic Symposium says, "Our focus at the Atlantic Symposium is to increase and expand employment opportunities for licensed acupuncturists. We recognize that advocacy training and research are critical elements to meeting this end. We are excited to collaborate with the state associations as the gateways to local impact."
AcuCongress is engaging in a district by district mapping of Licensed Acupuncturists constituents with their members in the House of Representatives. They will target heavily those Representatives serving in the committees that the bill is assigned to, but welcome ALL members of the industry, from students to practitioners, as well as industry suppliers and ancillary healthcare allies to join the effort. AcuCongress will hold a its inaugural Virtual Federal Fly-In on December 8, 2021. Training for this begins in September 2021, with in-person training taking place at the Atlantic Symposium, November 7-9, 2021 at Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC.
For more information on registration and courses at the Atlantic Symposium and AcuCongress, please visit www.AtlanticSymposium.com.
About AcuCongress: Coalition formed to serve as the federal legislative training ground for the purposes of shepherding and passing legislation that promotes acupuncture services as performed by Licensed Acupuncturists. AcuCongress works with state acupuncture associations and individuals to provide the tools necessary for Congressional outreach and influence for successful, sustainable legislative campaigns. AcuCongress Founder Dr. Kallie Byrd Guimond, OM.D, MPH is a state and federal lobbyist for more than two decades and principal at Sustainable Influence, a government affairs firm with a focus on educating trade associations in grassroots techniques and overseeing Capitol Hill Advocacy events such as Congressional briefings, health fairs, and fly-ins. For more information, contact Dr. Kallie Byrd Guimond at [email protected].
About Atlantic Symposium: Established as a conference devoted to presenting ways that licensed acupuncturists & acupuncture students can learn best business practices and ways to move from SURVIVING TO THRIVING!!! Our Goal: The elevation of the profession of licensed acupuncturists through promotion of the business of acupuncture, the advocacy of the industry & the Importance of our research BY ACUPUNCTURISTS, FOR ACUPUNCTURISTS! For more information or to register, contact Jason Sargis at [email protected].
About The Acupuncture Research Dissemination for Advocacy Initiative & Literacy (ARDAIL):
Project formed and funded by the David and Lura Lovell Foundation to provide acupuncturists with acupuncture research and also the training to search for and critically evaluate research, and training on how to use research to leverage their causes locally and nationally to become more powerful advocates for their medicine. Medical Acupuncture is the official journal of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture AAMA and is a hybrid open access journal which means that some of the content is private for AAMA members and subscribers and some of the content is free to the public. LAc's will receive the free content indefinitely. For more information, contact Jennifer Stone at [email protected].
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