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April, 2002, Vol. 03, Issue 04
By Editorial Staff
The Acupuncture Poll's question for January 2002 was:
"What is the most important issue facing the acupuncture/Oriental medicine profession in 2002?"
Results are as follows:
These results are based upon 312 responses. As this is a voluntary, non-scientific survey, caution should be used in generalizing the results. Here is a sample of the comments made by those who took the survey and how they voted:
Fair and timely reimbursement for services by the insurance industry: 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 acupuncture would be more accessible to more people if it was a covered benefit in all insurance policies.
Legislation allowing for the practice of acupuncture by licensed acupuncturists in all 50 states: Practice and licensure should be based on the adoption of national standards (i.e., graduation from an ACAOM accredited or candidate program and passage of the NCCAOM exam). This is the gold standard for licensure in virtually 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 programs, 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.
The formation of a national organization that represents the profession's concerns: I think that a national organization promoting the field of acupuncture 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 recognized as the superior healing art that it is. I am surprised that there is not a national organization representing it already, if this is in fact the case. I for one need no proof of its efficacy. I know it is a very effective healing system in the hands of a wise practitioner.