Washington, D.C. (June 20, 2018) – Along with over 70 organizations representing physicians, hospitals, insurers, drug and device manufacturers, distributers, pharmacies, employers and patients, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® worked to develop and release the first-of-their-kind comprehensive recommendations aimed at addressing the escalating opioid crisis in the United States. The “Roadmap for Action” gives clear guidance to health care leaders, lawmakers, and regulators on comprehensive approaches to stemming the crisis, which has led to an average of more than 115 people in America dying every day from opioid addiction.
NCCAOM and the other organizations, convened by the Healthcare Leadership Council, have been in communication for several months, building consensus on specific opioid-related recommended actions for Congress, federal regulators, and the health care industry. The group worked with the Duke-Margolis Health Policy Center, led by former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Dr. Mark McClellan, in developing the Roadmap.
Among its recommendations, the Roadmap calls for improved patient access to evidence-based, non-opioid, non-pharmacological, opioid-sparing pain management therapies as a crucial step towards reducing the overreliance on opioid drugs and turning back the tide of the crisis. As one of the sole representatives of the integrative and complementary health community, the NCCAOM provided a crucial voice for acupuncturists and other practitioners providing non-pharmacological pain treatments and the patients who face barriers to access nationwide.
“The NCCAOM is honored to have actively dialogued with a broad spectrum of voices across the continuum of care and the health care industry in creating these actionable recommendations,” said Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, chief executive officer of the NCCAOM. “The country is facing intertwined crises of opioid misuse and pain management, and non-opioid, non-pharmacological treatments such as acupuncture and other interventions will be essential in handling patients’ pain as a complement to shorter opioid prescriptions or as an even more effective therapy for chronic pain.”
“The opioid crisis is claiming too many lives, devastating too many families, and affecting too many communities,” said Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council. “This public health crisis requires a comprehensive approach spanning the entire health care spectrum, public and private sectors alike. We all have to be part of the solution.”
The Roadmap identifies five overarching priorities as essential to reversing trends in opioid abuse:
- Improving approaches to pain management;
- Preventing opioid misuse;
- Expanding access to substance use disorder treatment services;
- Increased use of care coordination through data collection and analyses; and
- Paying for care that is coordinated and high quality.
Among other recommendations advocated by the organizations are the development of voluntary, value-based models for integrated pain management as well as SUD treatment, creation of an Opioid Learning Network through which health care leaders could share best practices and develop innovative care models, and support of research and funding around innovative practices based on a biopsychosocial model.
To read the full Roadmap for Action and all of its recommendations, or to learn more about the organizations involved in its development, visit www.hlc.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Opioid-Roadmap-FINAL.pdf.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization established in 1982. NCCAOM is the only national organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) through professional certification. NCCAOM certification or a passing score on the NCCAOM certification examinations are documentation of competency for licensure as an acupuncturist by 47 states plus the District of Columbia which represents 98 percent of the states that regulate acupuncture. All NCCAOM certification programs are currently accredited by the National Commission for Certification Agencies (NCCA). To learn more about the NCCAOM, or about acupuncture and national board certification visit www.nccaom.org. To find an NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturist™ in your area, click on Find A Practitioner at www.nccaom.org.