NCCAOM Advocacy Banner

ADVOCACY UPDATES

With the headquarters move to Washington, D.C., the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM is focused on providing services such as advocacy and public relations to promote our NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™ throughout the U.S). Therefore, the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners and staff are proud to announce that we have retained SmithBucklin’s Government Relations & Advocacy team in D.C. to provide federal advocacy services, further enabling our ability to work with U.S. policymakers and regulators.

As part of our mission “to assure the safety and well-being of the public and to advance the professional practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine by establishing and promoting national evidence-based standards of competence and credentialing,” the NCCAOM is listening to you, our valued Diplomates, by acting on your feedback to us by providing advocacy and support in the federal and state regulatory arena to advance NCCAOM credentials. As such, the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners and staff are committed to providing services such as advocacy and public relations (see NCCAOM Public Education Campaign) to promote our most valued stakeholders, NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™.

The NCCAOM advocacy team is committed to advancing NCCAOM Board-Certified Diplomates in the federal and state regulatory arenas. For more information about NCCAOM advocacy efforts, please contact advocacy team at [email protected].

Advocacy Updates Timeline

Spring 2021

Gavel and American flag.

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Spring 2021

The NCCAOM® Advocacy team continues to represent NCCAOM certification, Diplomates, and stakeholders by providing information to promote acupuncture services to state and federal policymakers to include the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as other stakeholder groups.

U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Seeks Feedback on its 2021-2025 Draft Strategic Plan. The NIH and NCCIH recently released its 2021-2025 Draft Strategic Plan for public comment. The NCCAOM worked with the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) to submit comment on this draft. You can view these comments on the Advocacy section of our website.

For details, click here.

Winter 2020

U.S. Capitol building

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Winter 2020

As the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other government agencies begin to expand acupuncture service offerings, the NCCAOM® continues to advocate for Medicare provider recognition for qualified acupuncturists. Until CMS recognizes the acupuncture profession as a provider group, acupuncturists cannot readily provide approved services for CMS-approved acupuncture procedures (cLBP).

Medicare provider status would enable acupuncturists to directly bill Medicare for services rendered to Medicare beneficiaries, expand access to acupuncturists, increase opportunities for student-loan forgiveness, and enable data collection to show acupuncture’s effectiveness as a treatment and a wellness option.

To help educate the profession on the meaning of Medicare recognition and the steps toward obtaining Medicare provider status, the NCCAOM, in collaboration with the ASA, developed the following resource documents:

• “ASA-NCCAOM Medicare Communication
• “Acupuncture Medicare-Recognition Communication
Acupuncture Today article on Medicare-Recognition for Acupuncturists.

The NCCAOM continues to update its COVID-19 Resource Page, which provides Diplomates information about available resources, state and federal initiatives, and guidance for seeking small-business support.

For details, click here.

Summer 2020

National Mall and Washington Monument.

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Summer 2020

The NCCAOM® continues to monitor policy related to the pandemic and inform its Diplomates about COVID-19-related relief available to the profession. Monitored issues include the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration funding options: The Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program, state and federal pandemic unemployment insurance, and state reopening guidance.

The NCCAOM continues to update its COVID-19 Resource Page, which provides Diplomates information about available resources, state and federal initiatives, and guidance for seeking small-business support.

For details, click here.

Spring 2020

Jefferson Memorial and National Tidal Basin.

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Spring 2020

The NCCAOM® recognizes that disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 emergency pose many professional challenges and uncertainties. While advocacy and government relations efforts below will continue, the NCCAOM government relations team has shifted its focus to advocating for acupuncturists during this emergency and keeping Diplomates informed and supported.

For details, click here.

Winter 2019

U.S. Capitol Building.

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Winter 2019

The NCCAOM® Advocacy team consisting of Government Relations staff and volunteers continues to represent NCCAOM certification, Diplomates, and stakeholders by providing information to promote acupuncture services to state and federal policymakers to include the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as other stakeholder groups.

For details, click here.

Summer 2019

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Summer 2019

The NCCAOM® Advocacy team continues to represent NCCAOM certification, Diplomates, and stakeholders by providing information to promote acupuncture services to state and federal policymakers to include the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as other stakeholder groups.

For details, click here.

Spring 2019

Jefferson Memorial and National Tidal Basin.

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Spring 2019

We have several pieces of news to share on our various advocacy projects, including our work with the AMA’s CPT Editorial Panel, the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and our newly launched website! We have a full slate of work for 2019 and are excited to continue advocating for our Diplomates and the profession this year and beyond.

For details, click here.

October 2018

Opioid legislation banner: U.S. Capitol and American flag.

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Fall 2018

As you know from previous communications, addressing the nationwide opioid crisis has been a priority for the NCCAOM Advocacy Team. Working with the federal government and stakeholders across the health care community to provide expanded access and awareness of acupuncture services for pain management and treating substance use disorders is one of the primary goals for our work with SmithBucklin Advocacy and Government Relations team. We are continue to develop new and innovative strategies to achieve this goal.

On October 24 (AOM Day), President Donald Trump signed the long-awaited omnibus opioid crisis bill, the result of a year of bipartisan legislative efforts in Congress and throughout the health care industry. This legislation, one of the largest bodies of work that Congress has passed this session, will provide the roadmap for the continued response to the crisis over the next several years. NCCAOM will be working carefully with the Administration and Congress to address the portions of this bill that are relevant to the acupuncture community, and we wanted to share an overview of the legislation with our Diplomates to keep the profession informed.

Click Here for more details.

July 2018

Gavel and American flag.

NCCAOM Advocacy Update Summer 2018

The NCCAOM Board of Commissioners and staff are proud to announce that we have retained SmithBucklin’s Government Relations & Advocacy team in D.C. to provide federal advocacy services, further enabling our ability to work with U.S. policymakers and regulators.

Click Here for more details.

July 2018

NCCAOM map graphic.

Update: Acupuncturists at the Veterans Administration

As part of our mission to serve, the NCCAOM Advocacy Team is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with the VA as the Department continues to expand the role of acupuncturists in treating the veteran population.

NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™ may be interested in providing reimbursed acupuncture services for Veterans by applying to TriWest or Health Net to provide services through the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice law, better known as the Veterans Choice Program. This is a public law that provides funding for veterans so they may seek treatment outside of the VA. This program includes coverage of acupuncture. The law stipulates you must live 40 miles away from the nearest VA hospital or be unable to get an appointment within 30 days. However, because there are few acupuncturists currently working at the VA, everyone who qualifies for medical coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs automatically qualifies for 100% covered acupuncture treatments through the program.

NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists can find out more information by going to the provider portal for TriWest and clicking on “Join our Network”: vapccc.triwest.com/PCCCWeb/index.html#/provider-home

Or by going to the Healthnet site to learn about the Veterans Choice Program: www.hnfs.com/content/hnfs/home/va/provider/veterans-choice-program.html

TriWest and Healthnet serve different parts of the country. Look at their websites to see which one serves your area for the Veterans Choice Program for acupuncture services.

Currently, job openings for full-time practitioners in VA health locations will be posted on USAJobs.gov, which contains information on postings as well as instructions to apply. NCCAOM will work to publicize openings as they become available. At this time, the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (the largest facility in the Veterans Integrated Service Network) has four openings for acupuncturists in Tennessee. The posting can be found here. NCCAOM will be providing additional information and resources on working with the VA in the coming months.

NCCAOM® Advocacy Toolkit

The NCCAOM Advocacy Team has also developed an NCCAOM® Advocacy Toolkit. The toolkit is designed for NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™ as well as legislators and policymakers. The documents within provide essential information about the potential for acupuncture to be utilized to combat the opioid crisis, in the form of a professional policy white paper, as well as overview documents on acupuncture in general, the NCCAOM, the certification process for Diplomates, and more. The NCCAOM Advocacy team has crafted these documents to be easily shared with local, state, and federal legislators and their staffs, in support of NCCAOM’s national initiatives as well as any local advocacy work being taken on by Diplomates in their areas.

May 2018

Acupuncture Association of Louisiana logo.

Louisiana Removes Physician Referral Requirement and Adds NCCAOM Certification

On May 10, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill No. 421, which amended and reenacted the Louisiana acupuncturist practice act. This bill removed the requirement for licensed acupuncturists to be referred by MDs. This requirement was not only burdensome to acupuncturists, who were required to maintain physician relationships for referral, but also was a barrier to care for patients. Additionally, HB 421 amended the licensure law to require active NCCAOM Diplomate status, as well as successfully passing of the certification exam, to include the Biomedicine module. The NCCAOM was proud to support this legislation (and submitted a letter to the Louisiana Legislature), and applauds the Acupuncture Association of Louisiana for their hard work on developing and advocating for this legislation as well as Representatives Walt Leger and Mark Wright for sponsoring the bill. The law will go into effect August 1. Fusheng Zhao, Valerie Viosca from Acupuncture Association of Louisiana and NCCAOM staff Mina Larson, participated in the Louisiana House Committee on Health and Welfare meeting in April, 2018.

February 2018

United States Senate Seal.

NCCAOM Response to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee each formally sought input from stakeholders in the health care industry on ways to address the opioid epidemic, through the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as more broadly in the areas of data tracking, education, and treatment. The NCCAOM Advocacy team, with the input of the NCCAOM Advocacy Taskforce (comprised of NCCAOM Commissioners Dr. Janet Zand and Matthew Stanley, former NCCAOM Commissioner David Canzone, NCCAOM CEO Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, Executive Deputy Director Mina Larson, John Richardson, SmithBucklin Director, Government Relations and Health Care Practice Group and Joe Nahra, Government Relations Coordinator) developed detailed responses to both requests, providing valuable input as both committees considered legislative responses to the crisis. The letters, which can be found here and here, focused on several major themes. These included reimbursement reform to dis-incentivize cheap but dangerous opioid treatments, expanded education for providers and patients on alternatives to opioids, and a greater emphasis by Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers on coverage for non-pharmacological pain management methodologies, specifically acupuncture.

January 2018

Bureau of Labor and Statistics logo.

BLS Status Update

The NCCAOM is pleased to announce that Bureau of Labor Statistics has published the final 2018 BLS Occupational Handbook with the new Standard Occupational Classification code for Acupuncturists. This handbook is available in its entirety via the following link here. The NCCAOM also announced this exciting in their press release about Acupuncturists Earns Distinction from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To access the BLS initiative timeline, please go to the NCCAOM website at www.nccaom.org/resource-center/bls-timeline/.