The Acupuncture Poll question for January/February 2005 was:
What is the most important issue facing the AOM profession in 2005?
These results are based upon 692 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 brevity.
Inclusion of acupuncture in Medicare: As America grows in the "senior" group, it seems unfair that Medicare does not cover acupuncture treatment. It seems to me that it would be less expensive than surgical procedures, which are often followed by physical therapy.
Greater inclusion of acupuncture in managed care and insurance plans: We must fight for insurance coverage for our patients. When our patients are able to freely choose their type of health and wellness care, and receive reimbursement for this choice, only then will acupuncture and Oriental medicine become accepted for the value it is.
Other: I think that the greatest issue facing the AOM profession is whether or not MDs and chiropractors should be allowed to practice acupuncture without taking state or national licensing exams. If the public has access to inferiorly qualified practitioners, i.e., their Western doctors, then both the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment and the ability for licensed practitioners to maintain practices will be threatened.
Improved cooperation between the national organizations: Our profession is just "becoming of age." We need good representation. We need one strong forum, not many small, weak organizations. In California, our board is threatened with dissolution. We need to unite in order to effect positive changes. We need to cooperate, whatever style, technique, school or part of the world we come from. We are all acupuncturists. Only together will we have a strong voice.
Passage of acupuncture licensing laws in all 50 states: I think we need to focus on standardization of scope of practice and work towards reciprocity between states. This will enable the profession to grow, as graduates from high-concentration states would be able to move into new territories.