In a rather terse message sent to the California State Assembly on Aug. 1, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed insurance bill A.B.54, legislation that mandated "payment of medical, surgical, chiropractic, physical therapy, speech pathology, audiology, acupuncture, professional mental health, dental, hospital, or optometric expenses upon a reimbursement basis, or for the exclusion of any of those services, and [that] provision be made therein for payment of all or a portion of the amount of charge for these services without requiring that the insured first pay the expenses."
In his veto, Schwarzenegger noted, "Without comprehensive health care reform that fully addresses affordability, cost containment and shared responsibility, I cannot support health plan mandates that place additional costs on a system that makes coverage less affordable and accessible for Californians.
"Under current law, acupuncture coverage is required to be offered by health plans. Approximately 86% of insured Californians already have access to such coverage because they have chosen to purchase such coverage.
"These mandates, when taken collectively or individually, increase and shift health care costs to consumers and purchasers. ... I continue to call on the Legislature to work with me in the remaining days of this legislative session to enact reforms that embrace prevention strategies, contain costs, and protect consumers."
Northwestern Students Named to AAAOM Student Board
Three students from Northwestern Health Sciences University have been named to the national board of directors of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) Student Organization. The board's mission is: "Promoting communication and cooperation between acupuncture and Oriental medicine students, professionals, and government agencies in an effort to insure optimal standards of care and integrity in the professions of acupuncture and Oriental medicine."
Amanda Troelsen, an April 2007 graduate, is serving as the national co-president; Hilary Patzer (T5 student) is the national central regional director; and Jolene Habeck (T5 student) serves at the national co-president elect.
One of the state initiatives students have been concentrating on of late is legislative movements, including the Minnesota Equal Access to Acupuncture bill. Recently, more than 100 students, teachers and practitioners sat down with state legislators to discuss the bill.
Habeck said the organization has great benefits for acupuncture students nationwide. "It's about building camaraderie between all of the schools nationwide. It's about getting students proactive in legislation. It's an opportunity for networking and scholarships."
Acupuncture students can get involved in the AAAOM Student Organization by joining their local chapter or signing up for a committee at the national level. For more information, go to www.aaaomonline.org/studentservices.
Emperor's College Turns 25
Emperor's College is celebrating 25 years of educating practitioners of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The college opened its doors in Santa Monica, Calif., with 12 students and seven faculty members. By the end of the first year, enrollment had increased to 120 students.
"It was an exciting time. People were excited about this new education and interested in exploring a new medicine," said Bong Dal Kim, LAc, OMD, who founded the college in 1983. "There were very few schools at the time, and I wanted to be able to teach students so that they could go and help a lot of patients. When graduates come back to tell me how they were able to help their patients, I feel very happy."
Kim was asked about his purpose for establishing the school. "I wanted to teach people so they could find out who they are; what they are to do in this world. The study of Oriental medicine will help by applying the theory of yin and yang, Five Elements, practicing qi gong and tai chi , and balancing your energy. Once you find the true meaning of your life ... you will be a superior doctor." Kim also encourages all classes to begin with a five-minute meditation.
In 2004, the college added the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) program to its offerings. The 24-month program for working acupuncturists offers the opportunity to work in a major research and teaching hospital in Los Angeles, treating conditions such as stroke, trauma, paraplegia and quadriplegia.
IOM Appoints CAM Representative
Elizabeth (Liza) Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA, was recently appointed to the Institute of Medicine (IOM)'s upcoming conference committee that will focus on exploring the science and practice of integrative medicine and health care. Dr. Goldblatt, chair of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC), is the only member appointed to the IOM committee representing the licensed complementary and alternative medicine fields.
She has served as president of the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), president of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) and is the current vice president for academic affairs at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM). She has an extensive background in higher education and is responsible for directing the development of the clinical doctoral programs at ACTCM and OCOM, both of which emphasize collaboration among CAM and biomedical health care providers.
The meeting will be held at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C., Feb. 25-27, 2009. The summit will evaluate integrative approaches and research methods, ways to measure the interaction of multiple therapies and assessment of the economic issues involved. The discussions will be summarized and published by the National Academies Press. Additional information may be obtained at: www.iom.edu/integrativemedicine.
ACAOM Seeking New Member
The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is seeking nominations of qualified individuals to fill the position of institutional member on the commission. This elected individual will be seated at the conclusion of the commission's February 2009 meeting.
Requirements for the position, taken from the ACAOM bylaws, are as follows: "Position Nominees shall be employees (e.g., faculty member, executive administration, or professional staff) of an institution/program that is accredited or in candidate status with ACAOM." No more than one individual from any acupuncture or Oriental medicine program can serve on the Commission at any given time.
If you wish to be considered for this position, please follow the instructions on the following link: www.acaom.org/Downloads/CandidateInstrutionLetter_2007.pdf or visit the ACAOM Web site (www.acaom.org) and click on the "Documents and Forms" link. To nominate a colleague, please send the following information to the ACAOM by mail, fax or e-mail: name; contact information (phone, email, address and fax); and commission category (Institutional, Practitioner, Public or At-Large) for each candidate you wish to nominate. Nominations must be received no later than Oct. 15, 2008.
ACAOM Maryland Trade Center #3 7501 Greenway Center Dr. #760 Greenbelt, MD 20770 Tel: (301) 313-0855 Fax: (301) 313-0912 E-mail: