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Poll Results for the following Question:

What is the most important issue facing the acupuncture/Oriental medicine profession in 2003?

Results:

Better cooperation between national organizations
9.9%
Having acupuncture legislation passed in all 50 states
15.1%
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students
28.5%
Inclusion in the Medicare program
19.6%
Published research that validates acupuncture's safety and effectiveness
24.2%
Other
2.5%

Total Respondents: 1196

Comments:

Note: These comments are reproduced as written by visitors to this Web site.
They have not been edited for content, grammar, or spelling.


baqua59@sbcglobal.net
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students As a beginning Student in a Master's Degree Program of Oriental Medicine, I feel the best way to have a sucessful career in Oriental Medicine is by having the strongest base of Education Possible. This needs to be in Acupuncture, Herbology, AND enough Western Medicine Theory to have a meaningful understanding to what the mainstream medical Professionals are doing..just like we want them to understand what WE are doing! This way, we are not the same, but complimentary.
Mark Prince
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
San Diego Campus

Anonymous
 I just wanted to say how much I enjoy the paper. I find that the information in the articles is easy to incorporate in my practice.

I do not really think there is one most important issue. I would like to say, as an acupuncturist that has filed insurance claims for patients for 9 years, I do not think having medicare pay us is a great idea. Medicare is already cutting back the amount of its payments to other health care providers, so I do not think they will be willing to pay us much for our services. I think that we could better use our energy for the this year focusing on the other issues above. If we have older patients, we can individually decide how to be compensated for our work. In my case, I tend to give my retired patients a significant discount ($40 dollars off the usual first tx charge of $140, and $20 off subsequent tx cost of $70) since they are on a fixed income. They make up about 10 percent of my practice. They are usually very greatful for the discount and so that is enough for me. Thanks again for a great paper. Jean

Anonymous
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students My comments on the ACAOM's proposal for a doctoral degree:
I am currently a student of TCM in my second quarter of education. I support the idea of upgrading to a doctoral degree, but I do not feel that increasing the required hours (as this proposal suggests) is good enough for two reasons.
Reason #1: The Education - There needs to be an extremely high level of quality control in the education at the PhD level. Western Medicine has a level of standardized education that for a general family practice, it doesnt matter what medical school you go to anymore b.c. the education is the same. Acupuncture is at a point of development where we can achieve this level of standardization, but at the same time maintain a level of art and variety without having to add years/decades of education.
From a students perspective, if I am going to earn a PhD, I want to leave the program having the opportunity to know and learn everything about acupuncture and oriental medicine. I want to feel like I truly deserve and earned the PhD. I want to feel like an expert. I think that a satisfying PhD program should require students to learn the theories behind minority traditions (ie. 5-element, Japanese/Korean styles ...etc) and if the student chooses, an option to learn the minority traditions in addition to TCM techniques (perhaps as an elective). Also, a decent PhD program should require more foundational courses i.e. Asian culture, history, philosophy, fluency in an Asian language (Chinese, Japanese, Korean). Since the medicine and culture is so closely integrated, learning more of these types of foundational courses increases the understanding of the medicine. And what about an option to do scientific laboratory research? Better understanding creates better practitioners. Better practitioners creates greater American public approval and demand.
Reason #2: The Students Now Again, I strongly support the idea of upgrading to a doctoral degree, however, this particular proposal does not address how to compensate the current students (like myself) who will be earning masters degrees. What will we have to do in order to earn that PhD in the future? What will we have to do in order to keep the faith of our patients in our education?
Concluding Thoughts: I strongly suggest that this proposal be thought out with a greater amount of detail. I also suggest that the ACAOM actively seek out the thoughts of current students. We are the consumers of your product. We are the ones that will make or break this profession. If your schools continually churn our adequate, mediocre practitioners instead of good, great practitioners ... then it doesnt matter what our degree says. To be blunt, if we suck as practitioners, our degree is only a piece of paper that carries no weight of faith or credibility with the American public.
Anonymous
Other 1. Strong acupuncture programs need to be
established at hospitals & MD clinics and offices
throughout the country.
2. I think it is imperative that we forge strong
bonds with MDs where we support them and do
not invade their turf, while helping them
understand what we do and how it can make
them and their patients happier. We should
encourage the practice of MDs being gatekeepers
at their own clinics and hospitals, and hiring us
as staff along with nurse practitioners,
nutritionists, etc., to be integrated into their
practices. This is, of course, in addition to
independent acupuncturists practicing in their
own offices, and seeing self-referring patients.
3. Acupuncturists need to be taught in school and
through continuing education how to provide
services that are routine in China &/or elsewhere,
e.g., analgesia during surgery, treatment of
deafness, analgesia during childbirth, and these
services should be integrated into hospitals etc.
and our private practices, in addition to other
already common acupuncture treatments.
4. Strong emphasis during acupuncture school
and after is needed to help new and existing
acupuncturists set up practices with a strong
financial bottom line. Far too many acupuncturist
grads are not able to support selves + pay off
school loans with just an acupuncture practice.
5. Support the herb industry. Herb companies
are attacked on many fronts, e.g., by Prop 65
opportunists, by people who only want plants to
be used as herbs (I thought we were still allowed
to eat meat!!!), and by the drug industry. Herbs
are very important to our patients and ourselves.
We need to help make sure that they remain
readily accessible to us and our patients.

jademother@hotmail.com
Published research that validates acupuncture's safety and effectiveness The Catch 22 in the research gap phenomenon.
The two dearths:
Most research funds are generated by pharmaceutical companies to support their products.
The new CAM NIH funds are frequently going to MD's sometimes with acupuncture qualifications, sometimes not...Why because they are trained and legitimized to be able to Direct research projects and are attached to large institutions which have the required status anmd financial structure to receive funds. While, we acupuncturists, have only clinical training..perhaps the new DAC programs will start to address this. For acupuncturists and acupuncture schools to qualify to conduct research is another whole level of challenge. The first research project in Hawaii in acupuncture funded by CAM NIH was a grant to Straub/HMO for MD to do a study comparing two acupuncturists varying diagnoses according to TCM of patients in a rheumatology treatment program. It seems to me this was more of an effort to demonstrate the subjective nature of diagnosis, therefore invalid by western scientific standards, than to produce anything useful for validation of acupuncture's safety and effectiveness. (Totally my opinion.)
MOst of the other studies being funded are for lack of a better term: effectiveness studies on effects of acupuncture on arthritis, low back pain, etc.specific conditions sometimes on the point and off the point comparison groups.
I have worked on a proposal to do acupuncture efficacy study..demonstrating the basic cellular, serum changes that may result from acupuncture and be measureable...this is the only current proposal to my knowledge that would evaluate the mechanism ( to borrow a term from Pathology 1) at the molecular level showing the mnediating role acupuncture has in basic process of inflammation, tissue injury and reparation...First review round was rejected but with expression of interest and request for more clarification of certain areas of the proposal My advisor, an Experimental Pathologiest,recommended that we need an MD to direct the study to get it approved. Any interest in exploring this further, please contact me at this email.
Hadijah Sylvia Vanada, L.Ac. State of Hawaii

Anonymous
Other The big problem is that the basis for traditional acupuncture does not conform to scientifically accepted knowledge about the body in health and disease.

ramilstead@yahoo.com
Published research that validates acupuncture's safety and effectiveness I do believe that by having published research on acupuncture's effectiveness and safety will begin to address all of the other issues that it's being faced with today in our organizations and legislations. Otherwise, acupuncture gets regulated into the 'folk medicine' and testimonial genre of our alternative medicine practices... the "because it feels good" approach is just not in sync with the public and private sector of today.

Anonymous
Better cooperation between national organizations Absent better cooperation, nothing else can be accomplished.

agm@cape.com
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students I support continued efforts to upgrade our profession to doctorate level which would increase skills of entry level practitioners, standardize educational requirements, and elevate our profession's credibility in the overall health care system. Lack of co-operation in the national organizations has greately hindered this process. There is no unified vision for our profession. The bottom line for me as a practitioner is to belong to a respected field where the majority of my fellow practitioners are highly skilled and we all can offer quality care to the public. It is our duty to offer the very best care possible to patients seeking our medicine. We need to do all we can to continue to develop the highest level of education, competent credentialing and interaction with in the profession, and with other medical professions. It's not about personal interests. It's about offering quality care.
Arlene Myers, Lic Ac
Mashpee, Massachusettes

JBreeze
Having acupuncture legislation passed in all 50 states I have read a comment tonight from a student in an Albuquerque school who at the end of his/her letter speaks as if talking for all of the Oriental Medicine students currently studying. I wish to state that I am an Oriental Medicine student at Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe and wish not to be put into this person's close minded category for he does not speak for all of the Oriental Medicine students. To me the admissions process seems to be fine at the current level of enrollment. I started SWAC at the age of 20 and am now 21. Does this make me any less of a future practitioner, no? Should I need to be a pharmacist, doctor, nurse, chiropractor, physicians assistant to learn this medicine... no at least I do not believe so. If I wished to go and learn these trades then I would not be where I am now, in a school which teaches the healing arts of Oriental Medicine. I also disagree with the idea of having to enter into Oriental Medicine school with a bachelor's degree. Why? For that I do not have one but am as competent as my classmates who do hold a bachelors degree and actually in certain areas am ahead of some, including ones with masters degrees. Should an education be required before attending a school for this medicine, yes, but there is no need for a practitioner to first graduate with bachelors in a field they are not passionate about? In my case I decided to jump into Oriental Medicine as soon as possible because of my passion for the medicine and going to school for 2 more years studying another field just to be able to say I have a bachelor's degree would have done no justification for my level of skill or commitment or competency of practice in Oriental Medicine. To talk of an associates degree for a moment... I also do not believe someone should need an associates, just as long as they have the required credits for one. The credits should be a must because there is a level of competency and knowledge which for 1 is needed to enter into the Oriental Medicine schools and 2, these credits should include the sciences of physiology, human anatomy, biology and such since we are working with the human body 100% of the time. I myself do not have an associates but had over 70 credits, which is over 10 extra needed for an associates- and the reason I do not hold an associates degree is as simple as not taking an art class. One more art class and I could have had an associates degree but instead I decided to take something having to do with our medicine (psychology and philosophy courses) and leave the associates and art class behind. This is an example showing that just because you have your degree doesn't always show what your strong points are. I furthered my education for this medicine rather than making pottery and for this you want to say I should not be allowed to enter school until I can better make a clay bowl? I write this to speak for the rest of the current students who this person has decided to speak for without realizing the other side of the story.

JBreeze
Having acupuncture legislation passed in all 50 states I have read a comment tonight from a student in an Albuquerque school who at the end of his/her letter speaks as if talking for all of the Oriental Medicine students currently studying. I wish to state that I am an Oriental Medicine student at Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe and wish not to be put into this person's close minded category for he does not speak for all of the Oriental Medicine students. To me the admissions process seems to be fine at the current level of enrollment. I started SWAC at the age of 20 and am now 21. Does this make me any less of a future practitioner, no? Should I need to be a pharmacist, doctor, nurse, chiropractor, physicians assistant to learn this medicine... no at least I do not believe so. If I wished to go and learn these trades then I would not be where I am now, in a school which teaches the healing arts of Oriental Medicine. I also disagree with the idea of having to enter into Oriental Medicine school with a bachelor's degree. Why? For that I do not have one but am as competent as my classmates who do hold a bachelors degree and actually in certain areas am ahead of some, including ones with masters degrees. Should an education be required before attending a school for this medicine, yes, but there is no need for a practitioner to first graduate with bachelors in a field they are not passionate about? In my case I decided to jump into Oriental Medicine as soon as possible because of my passion for the medicine and going to school for 2 more years studying another field just to be able to say I have a bachelor's degree would have done no justification for my level of skill or commitment or competency of practice in Oriental Medicine. To talk of an associates degree for a moment... I also do not believe someone should need an associates, just as long as they have the required credits for one. The credits should be a must because there is a level of competency and knowledge which for 1 is needed to enter into the Oriental Medicine schools and 2, these credits should include the sciences of physiology, human anatomy, biology and such since we are working with the human body 100% of the time. I myself do not have an associates but had over 70 credits, which is over 10 extra needed for an associates- and the reason I do not hold an associates degree is as simple as not taking an art class. One more art class and I could have had an associates degree but instead I decided to take something having to do with our medicine (psychology and philosophy courses) and leave the associates and art class behind. This is an example showing that just because you have your degree doesn't always show what your strong points are. I furthered my education for this medicine rather than making pottery and for this you want to say I should not be allowed to enter school until I can better make a clay bowl? I write this to speak for the rest of the current students who this person has decided to speak for without realizing the other side of the story.

Anonymous
Better cooperation between national organizations Better cooperation and relationships between the national organization is critical for the profession. The previous infighting, conflict and disagreements among the national organizations has wasted limited resources necessary to challenge the bigger external threats to the profession.

Until the national organizations can cooperate better and reach common ground, we will not be able to adequately unite as a profession and accomplish the real goal of serving the best interests of the field.

Anonymous
Other The most important issue facing the acupuncture/Oriental Medicine profession today is the movement to westernize the profession and to put emphasis on western educational credentials rather than on the skills of the profession itself. Historically this profession has flourished as an apprenticeship profession. It is known from research in other professions that over-emphasis on academics reduces the sensitivity of the practitioner. This does not serve the client. I do not believe the headlong rush to make the doctoral level the entry level will serve anyone well. Those who wish to be doctors can apply to medical school. We are practitioners of Oriental Medicine. We should be proud of that and of the lineage of that medicine and we should resist the attempts of those in our profession who wish to make us into something else because of their own agenda.

Anonymous
Other The most important issue facing the acupuncture/Oriental Medicine profession today is the movement to westernize the profession and to put emphasis on western educational credentials rather than on the skills of the profession itself. Historically this profession has flourished as an apprenticeship profession. It is known from research in other professions that over-emphasis on academics reduces the sensitivity of the practitioner. This does serve the client. I do not believe the headlong rush to make the doctoral level the entry level will serve anyone well. Those who wish to be doctors can apply to medical school. We are practitioners of Oriental Medicine. We should be proud of that and of the lineage of that medicine and we should resist the attempts of those in our profession who wish to make us into something else because of their own agenda.

annfurniss@hotmail.com
Other I made a wrote a comment in this survey yesterday and it showed up in the list of comments then. Now it has been deleted. Why? Unless I missed a big typo, there was no foul language and the message was a small voice in a sea of comments concerning insurance reimbursement and recognition by the medical industry.

We are sacrificing our art on the altar of profit and respectability. Do we really want to be snuffed out by the business of medicine just as the good family doctor has? I refuse to reduce my patients to ICD-9 codes. I work in a hospital as a nurse where patients aren't known by name, but by location and problem "the CHF in bed 3". That mentality is efficient, but bleeds the heart out of patient and practitioner alike.

Anonymous
Other The endless striving on the part of acupuncture organizations to be accepted by western medical practitioners and public and private insurers drives me nuts. My patients often come to me because I offer safe harbor, deep listening, help with suffering and coaching on reframing their stories about pain when it can not be healed and must be endured. I am a practitioner to mind, body and spirit. If I use an ICD-9 code to reduce my patient to a label and my CPT code to describe the "technology" I used to treat that label, I have become every bit the part of the problem that patients are retreating from.

In my heart, acupuncture is a healing art, not an industry. The day I can no longer practice this way is the day I either stop practicing altogether or practice underground.

Sincerely,
Ann Furniss, L.Ac., M.Ac.
Richmond, Virginia

QiDr@earthlink.net
Other The single most important issue facing AOM is increasing public awareness re: the degree of trainng we recieve versus other healthcare practitioners who use similar modalities, i.e. medical acupunturists vs. L.Ac.s.

Anonymous
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students It is about time to upgrade the educational standards of the acupuncture schools in the USA. The admission process need to be standardized across the USA for a Bachelor's degree prior to entry to the acupuncture school. There are so many who are entering who may not really be qualified because of lack of experience to the western medicine or pharmacology. We are treating real person and they deserve a good and experienced Doctor of oriental medicine.

Anonymous
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students I am currently attending Chinese Medicine school here in Albuquerque. I was amazed of the students that were admitted to the program who are either just got out of high school in their 20's or 30's and has no clue of the medical field. To me that is very sad thing to see, considering we are treating human being and the aspiring Doctor of Oriental Medicine should have sufficient background of the medicine like nurses, physician assistant, doctors, pharmacists, medical technicians, chiropractors, medical technologist, chemistry, biology, or science majors (these are the highly qualified people that should be accepted to the program of TCM). Others, like electronics, massage therapist, computer field has no sufficient background and may not know much about pathology, pharmacology and these are not good for the profession and will play a role for the public to distrust those few and will hurt those who has good and solid background of the medical field. The admission process should should be elevated to those who has a Bachelor's degree only or those with associate or completed second year college with major in biology, chemistry, zoology or any science related only. It is very scary to go to someone who does not know anything about medicine and be called DOCTOR OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE here in New Mexico.The schools, especially here in Albuquerque should have guidelines from the ACAOM of the standards of admission and should not be left to the TCM school because sometimes for the sake of increasing the student quota they will take any students who are not really highly qualified or who does not have science background. I think those are important. Recently, I have the opportunity to follow a student intern here in our school and he has no clue of what synthroid does to the body including the normal dosage and has no clue that the patient has a high blood pressure. I would like to see an improvement of the admission process throughout the 50 states to improve the standards of the TCM school and to better prepare these students upon graduation. Understanding western science is important and knowing western pharmacology is also important to treat the human being holistically. I and the rest of the Oriental Medicine students want to see an improvement of the admission process, curriculum, and higher standards for the clinical training. This will increase and improve the standards of the TCM profession. Thank you for reading my comments.

bbcarter@pulsemed.org
Better cooperation between national organizations The other choices are important, but national organizational cooperation is fundamental to our future success. It is the pivot on which all the other issues hinge.

Anonymous
Better cooperation between national organizations Better cooperation among the national orgs is necessary if there is to be improved educational standards, medicare inclusion, better research, licensure in all 50 states, etc...

Without cooperation, we are fighting amongst ourselves and the objectives of the profession cannot be achieved. Conversely, with cooperation and working together on the same goals anything is possible.

josaustria@att.net
Having acupuncture legislation passed in all 50 states Is it true that acupuncture is only reimbursed if it is performed by an MD?

Anonymous
Better cooperation between national organizations In my opinion, the most important issue facing the Oriental Medical Community it the threat to the continued existance of the independent care provision established in many states. The Biomedical establishment and the chiropractic organizations are very strong and organized. Our political in-fighting keeps our profession weak and distracted from these large pictures.
We must begin to cooperate regardless of our training, styles, and beliefs. Remember that our license to practice can be taken away just as easily as it was given to us.
Anonymous
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students I think the school standard here should be like it is in China where students study TCM for five years.

willygregory@hotmail.com
Having acupuncture legislation passed in all 50 states Better communication between the practitioner and the patient - they know - we need to know also

tlcox@attbi.com
Other I think that we need to bet all organizations in the field on the same page and come up with an agenda to improve how acupuncturist and chinese medicine practitioners are looked upon by insurances and the public. Education of the public is sorely needed.

Anonymous
Published research that validates acupuncture's safety and effectiveness who discovered acupuncture?

joajames@ao.com
Inclusion in the Medicare program all of the items are important, itis hard to decided,
however, I think bringing AC to a greater number of
people is important. I will add that I think a
national advertising program would be very important
as would greater corporation between AC organizations.
In fighting is not during our profession

joajames@ao.com
Inclusion in the Medicare program all of the items are important, itis hard to decided,
however, I think bringing AC to a greater number of
people is important. I will add that I think a
national advertising program would be very important
as would greater corporation between AC organizations.
In fighting is not during our profession

Anonymous
Better cooperation between national organizations All of these points are important but in order to achieve them we need to start to work together. For those of us who are practicing outside of CA we need to work with are colleagues in CA and in reverse we need their help and the benefit of their resources. The ONLY way we can proceed forward is TOGETHER. Again, there is no I in team. Our profession is at a very important area in its development. Other practitioners are using this lack of solidarity to undermine our professional education levels and seek to limit our scope of practice. Thanks for the op to respond.

GFCH@aol.com
Better cooperation between national organizations Having better cooperation between all of the national organizations will make any else that the AOM comunity wants to acomplish possible. There are a number of worthwhile projects like acheveing legal status in all 50 states and having AOM included in the Medicare program. Cooperation would make acheveing our common goals easier.

sing52m2@microsoft.com
Inclusion in the Medicare program love accupuncture , it should be a way of life for everybody to cure there own health problem and learned in 7th or 8th grade self dependent ann self healing we the human race should not be denide this right how i will repeat how to cure our sicknesses and pain, with ,,natural medicine ,,accupunture,, natural foods , and cleansing of our deluted system ,,alternative medicine is our future ::::help us help ourself lov -D

sing52m2@microsoft.com
Inclusion in the Medicare program love accupuncture

rosemary2@dmi.net
Having acupuncture legislation passed in all 50 states In some states, such as Washington, many insurance companies do offer acupuncture as a covered benefit. However in my state of Idaho, I am aware of no insurance companies that cover acupuncture when performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist. I believe that acupunncture would be more accessible to more people if it was a covered benefit in all insurance policies.

Anonymous
Improved educational standards for acupuncture students more inclusions mean more revenues, the rest is domino effects.

Doc_Lyle@msn.com
Inclusion in the Medicare program I especially like the articles written by Dr. John Amaro! Please keep his articles coming!

spiritseal@yahoo.com
 None of the above. The most important issue for us as acupuncturists is to not fall into the same pitfalls as conventional medicine. This means that we keep our respect for all of the differences in our community. We don't insist that everyone practice the same way by mandating standerdized testing and dictating that we all have the same education. It also means that we don't become dependent on insurance carriers. The moment we do, they will begin errode our ability to give whole treatments the same way they have with western medicine.

fred_dr2002@yahoo.com
Inclusion in the Medicare program Just work on the patients correctly by finding the right points.

Anonymous
Having acupuncture legislation passed in all 50 states They should have a law, that states payment within 30 day.
A penalty should be double payment if it is not post marked by the 30 day deadline.

chemist@icepr.com
Better cooperation between national organizations Acupuncture practice is to be regulated and allow formal trainned professional practice, not limited to medicine doctors. MD's are trying to control an alternative medicine that for more than 5,000 years have been practice by non-doctors in the far east.Persons with formal training as well as doctors should be allowed to practice under licensed status.Acredited acupuncture education and practice has to be required for licensing. A minimum hours of training and expirience has to be establish.
Continious education program has to be implemented in order to re-certification.
Most of todays certification organizations are controled by MD's for their greed to control all faces of medical treatment and alternative medicine .
I personally has attended formal acupuncture trainning at a Reputable Acredited Medical School and continious education program . I have been not been able to practice since I do not have a MD degree.
I have perform research , specially in acupuncture for the treatment of respiratory affection like asthma and bronchitis , with respiratory function test back up of results wich clearly demonstrate it works. Three years of data supporting result of acupuncture vs. medical teatment with drugs and bronchio-dilators has been validated (Accolate, Singulair,Proventil, Combivent, Atrovent,and respiratory therapy).
Abstrct has been published in UK.
With apropiate documentation and certifications a non-Doctor should be allowed to practice and help others to have a better life.
Anonymous
Better cooperation between national organizations Practice and licensure should be based on the adoption of national standards (ie., graduation from an ACAOM accredited or candidate program and passage of the NCCAOM exam). This is the gold standard for licensure in virutually all recognized health care professions.

When states adopt their own requirements that are at variance with national standards, it can artificially increase tuition to students in OM program, make it more difficult for licensed practitioners to become licensed in other states, increase the time students are required to spend in school, and thus, increase costs to patients. If the field is to mature and be fully recognized nationally, basing licensure on the adoption of national standards is the way to go.

shiva_06830@altavista.com
Published research that validates acupuncture's safety and effectiveness Hi,
I think that a national organization promoting the field of accupuncture in the states would answer the other needs posted in this poll. As a result this would be my choice.
Oriental medicine is coming more and more to be recognised as the superior healing art that it is. I am surprised that there is not National organisation representing it already, if this is in fact the case.
I for one need no proof of it's efficacy. I know it is a very effective healing system in the hands of a wise practitioner.

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