The Acupuncture for our Seniors Act would increase Medicare beneficiaries’ access to acupuncturists, provide more non-pharmacological options for pain relief, and promote the profession’s growth.
WASHINGTON, May 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) commend U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) for introducing [H.R. number], the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act. The Acupuncture for our Seniors Act would authorize the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to recognize qualified acupuncturists as healthcare providers. Medicare recognition would enable qualified acupuncturists to provide covered services to Medicare beneficiaries, which will soon surpass 80-million Americans.
CMS already recognizes the value of acupuncture and began covering services in January 2020. Unfortunately, because acupuncturists do not have Medicare-provider status, they cannot provide these covered services to beneficiaries without supervision. The status quo disrupts the acupuncture service-delivery model, as they cannot independently provide services to Medicare beneficiaries, despite their ability to do so for non-Medicare beneficiaries. The resulting access barrier hurts Senior Citizens and exacerbates healthcare inefficiencies.
Research demonstrates that acupuncture is effective in providing high quality, personalized care that helps individuals manage pain—without opioids and invasive procedures—and embrace preventive and wellness care options. Acupuncturists’ training, expertise, and scope of practice enable them to practice independently.
“Medicare beneficiaries are projected to increase from 63 to 80 million in the next seven years, so this bill is critical in removing barriers to the increasing demand for a safe, non-pharmacological option to pain and improved health. The ASA applauds Representative Judy Chu, Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, and all involved for understanding the need to solve the opioid crisis while also decreasing healthcare costs and improving long term outcomes,” Olivia Hsu Friedman, DACM, L.Ac., ASA Chair.
The ASA and the NCCAOM support efforts to increase access to acupuncturists. “Obtaining Medicare provider status for acupuncturists is a priority for the ASA and the NCCAOM and we are grateful to Representatives Judy Chu and Brian Fitzpatrick for championing this bill,” stated Mina Larson, M.S., MBA, CAE, NCCAOM CEO. The Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act would increase Senior Citizens’ access to non-invasive, cost-effective, care for pain-management that so many cannot access due to current supervision requirements.
The ASA and the NCCAOM will officially launch the profession’s advocacy efforts on May 15, when over 100 acupuncturists will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional offices in support of the Acupuncture for our Seniors Act.
About the ASA
The Mission of the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) is to promote the highest standards of professional practice for acupuncture and EAM in the United States, to benefit public health. Through strengthening the profession at the state level while promoting collaboration nationally and internationally, the ASA provides its members, the public, legislators, and regulators resources for ensuring the best expression of this ancient and modern medicine.
About the NCCAOM
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® is a non-profit 501©(6) organization established in 1982. The NCCAOM is the only national organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine through professional certification. The NCCAOM certification or a passing score on the NCCAOM certification examinations are documentation of competency for licensure as an acupuncturist by 45 states and the District of Columbia, which represents 98 percent of the states that regulate acupuncture. The National Commission for Certification Agencies accredits all NCCAOM-certification programs. To learn more about the NCCAOM, or about acupuncture and national-board certification, visit www.nccaom.org.To find an NCCAOM board-certified practitioner in your area, click on Find a Practitioner at www.nccaom.org.
Media Contact: Olga Cox, M.S.