The Acupuncture Poll's question for January 2004 was:
"What is the most important issue facing the acupuncture/Oriental medicine profession in 2004?"
These results are based upon 634 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. Some comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Passage of acupuncture licensing laws in all 50 states: This is a good issue upon which to focus for 2004 because it is possible. Setting our sights on this goal and devoting the necessary resources would lead to a successful outcome. There is no disagreement here. It would be a meaningful step toward creation of educational and professional standards nationally. Part of our problem professionally is the lack of unity, but the Visioning Task Force is making progress in this area (but it is a long process). Every licensed practitioner in every state should be contacted and encouraged to participate in these processes.
Other: I see the greatest issue facing the industry being the lack of know-how in reaching new patients. I also see an issue regarding educating patients in a way that they will commit to care, pay your rate (not theirs), and refer to your practice.
Improved cooperation between the national organizations: By far the most important issue facing the profession in 2004 is the need for improved cooperation between the various professional organizations (both state and national). If cooperation is not forthcoming, all of the other goals of the profession, including licensure in all states, doctoral education, increasing the scope of practice, etc., will be much more difficult to achieve.
Greater inclusion in managed care and insurance plans: Our society has grown up with the idea of using insurance to pay for medical treatment. Until such time as Oriental medicine practitioners are reimbursed by HMOs, insurance plans and Medicare, we will not be fully utilized by the people who need us most.
Improved cooperation between the national organizations: The state organizations and nationals (particularly regarding the fights between the California associations and some of the nationals) need to reach common ground and stop all the bickering, which has damaged the profession.
Improved cooperation between the national organizations: I agree with all of the comments on the need for improved cooperation. As the saying goes, "United we stand, divided we fall."
Improved cooperation between the national organizations: We must be able to work together in order to move forward together. One large coordinated step can more effectively move our whole body of acupuncture than several uncoordinated baby steps. That is how all large organizations make progress, by coming together and moving together.
Improved cooperation between the national organizations: Without cooperation between the various organizations in our field (national and state), most of the other elements in this survey will be impossible, or at least much more difficult, to achieve. The field needs to work together if we are to fully advance the profession's interests.
Greater inclusion in managed care and insurance plans: As long as acupuncturists are out of the health care arena (i.e., out of the mainstream that pays for care), patients will continue to follow their co-payments, even though TCM is more effective for the majority of patient's complaints. TCM practitioners may have credentials and titles and special days galore, but when people are already paying huge premiums for their health insurance, the last thing they want to do is pay again for something for which they feel they're already paying.
For more information on the Acupuncture Poll, contact Acupuncture Today at