National Advocacy2021-04-30T14:20:31-05:00
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NATIONAL ADVOCACY

NCCAOM Advocacy is committed to advancing the cause of NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™ (NBCA) at the national level. This includes engagement with Congress on legislation impacting acupuncturists, grassroots efforts to build awareness of acupuncture with our Diplomates’ representatives, and ongoing work with national healthcare stakeholder organizations to raise the profile of acupuncture, our Diplomates, and the value of NCCAOM Board Certification.

Opioid Crisis

The nationwide opioid crisis has been a top concern for lawmakers at all levels of government and has been identified as a priority for NCCAOM as well. Diplomates will be aware that acupuncture is a well-supported but underutilized methodology for pain management and has been shown to be successful in reducing or even eliminating opioid prescriptions for acute and chronic pain patients. NCCAOM Advocacy is working to expand access to acupuncture for opioid-use disorder patients and as a front-line treatment for patients suffering from acute or chronic pain. As Congress, the federal government and national healthcare leaders continue to support the increased usage of non-opioid, non-pharmacological treatments for pain, NCCAOM will advocate for acupuncture as a particularly safe and effective pain management option. Learn more about recent developments with the crisis and NCCAOM’s work on opioid reduction on our Opioid Timeline.

Advocacy Toolkit

NCCAOM Advocacy works to engage in direct advocacy as well as support Diplomates in their own advocacy and grassroots efforts. The NCCAOM Advocacy team has developed a toolkit of documents that can be used to support both our state and federal-level advocacy efforts. The toolkit will be the go-to resource for Diplomates who want to serve as advocates in their areas for the profession and NCCAOM certification and will continue to grow and evolve as NCCAOM highlights new areas of focus for advocacy. The documents in this toolkit provide curated, targeted information about acupuncture, the NCCAOM and our priorities and goals for expanding access and awareness and serving our Diplomates.

Learn more about the toolkit and view the documents here

Federal Recognition Timeline

March 2021

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NCCAOM® & ASA Update: PPP Application Deadline Extended to May 31, 2021

A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application period became law on March 30, 2021. The law pushes the PPP-application deadline from March 31 to May 31, 2021, and extends the PPP loan-authorization period to June 30, 2021. To read the NCCAOM and ASA’s joint update on the extension please click here.

For details, click here.

March 2021

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NCCAOM® & ASA response to NCCIH 2021-2025 Strategic Plan- March 2021

The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) and National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback on the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) 2021-2025 Strategic Plan draft. Together, the ASA and the NCCAOM represent over 20,000 professional acupuncturists across the United States. The ASA and NCCAOM applaud the NCCIH for emphasizing whole-person health and research, as well as the importance of integrating complementary and conventional healthcare. To read the NCCAOM & ASA response to response to NCCIH strategic plan please click here.

For details, click here.

March 2021

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NCCAOM® & ASA American Rescue Plan (ARP) Update & Fact Sheet

The NCCAOM Advocacy team has an important announcement for NCCAOM Diplomates and stakeholders. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law on March 11, 2021, provides $1.9T in COVID-19 economic relief that includes new stimulus provisions and extends several CARES Act provisions from 2020. The ARP provides $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 economic relief that includes new stimulus provisions and extends several CARES Act provisions from 2020. To find out more please read the NCCAOM-ASA COVID-19 ARP Fact Sheet_March 2021.

For details, click here.

March 2021

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NCCAOM® & ASA Special Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application Period

The NCCAOM Advocacy team has an important announcement for NCCAOM Diplomates and stakeholders. The Small Business Administration is currently granting employers with fewer than 20 employees exclusive access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. This special application period will last through Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Toread more about the Special Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application Period click here.

For details, click here.

February 2021

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NCCAOM® & ASA Introduction Letter to New HHS and SAMSHA Acting Secretaries

As an effort to introduce and establish our organizations with President Biden’s new administration, the NCCAOM has sent out letters to Acting Secretary of HHS and SAMSHA informing increasing awareness of, and access to, acupuncture services particularly for pain-management, substance abuse, nausea, post-operative recovery, and mental health issues.

 

For details, click here.

February 2021

NCCAOM & ASA COVID-19 Relief Update.

NCCAOM® & ASA COVID-19 Relief Update

As part of the federal and state efforts to provide pandemic-related unemployment assistance, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (the December 2020 COVID Stimulus package) created the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) Program to reach more self-employed individuals. Read more about the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program and its eligibility criteria here.

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.

December 2020

NCCAOM & ASA COVID-19 Relief Update.

NCCAOM® & ASA COVID-19 Relief Update

In response to the Consolidation Appropriations Act signed into law last night, the NCCAOM® and American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) have prepared a Factsheet overview of the Year-End Stimulus Bill to Provide Additional COVID-19 Relief.

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.

November 2020

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NCCAOM® & ASA Medicare Roadmap

The NCCAOM and ASA partnered to create a Medicare Roadmap for acupuncturists. This helpful document outlines the necessary steps to have Acupuncture recognized and covered by Medicare. To read the full Roadmap please, click here. Contact [email protected] with questions.

To read more please, click here.

October 2020

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Acupuncture Medicare-Recognition Communication

Read the NCCAOM’s response to Medicare’s proposed crosswalk for CPT codes of 97810, 97811, 97812, and 97814 and dry needling CPT codes. The NCCAOM opposes the proposed crosswalk and makes the case for acupuncture’s valuation in its letter. If you haven’t already, voice your opposition to this proposal here.  Read the NCCAOM’s letter to learn more. Contact [email protected] with questions.

To read more please, click here.

September 2020

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Acupuncture Medicare-Recognition Communication

The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) are pleased to announce efforts to recognize acupuncturists as Medicare providers. Medicare recognition is a logical next step for our growing profession, especially as the healthcare system looks for non-pharmaceutical options for pain management. Learn more about and contact the NCCAOM with any COVID-19 and advocacy-related questions: [email protected].

To read more please, click here.

September 2020

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NCCAOM-ASA Covid-19 Continued Guidance on Economic Relief for Acupuncturists

As COVID-19 continues to affect the acupuncture profession, the NCCAOM and the ASA developed a quick COVID-19 Economic Resource Document to provide guidance and updates on current small-business relief options available to acupuncturists. The NCCAOM and the ASA continue to monitor federal efforts to provide additional relief and economic-stimulus measures in light of the ensuring pandemic. As always, we are here to help. Learn more about the NCCAOM’s COVID-19 resources and contact the NCCAOM with any COVID-19 and advocacy-related questions: [email protected].

To read more please, click here.

August 2020

Help Combat Opioid Overuse and Increase Access to Acupuncture Services: Support the NO PAIN Act today poster.

Help Combat Opioid Overuse and Increase Access to Acupuncture Services: Support the NO PAIN Act today!

As a proud member of the Voices for Non-Opioid Choices Coalition, the NCCAOM is pleased to lend its support to the NO PAIN Act, a bill that would provide incentives for hospitals, surgical centers, and physicians to offer non-opioid and non-pharmacologic post-surgery pain-management options.  Support H.R. 5172/S. 3067 and help increase access to acupuncture services.

July 2020

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NCCAOM partnered with the ASA to provide feedback to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) 2021-2026 Strategic Plan

In July 2020, the NCCAOM partnered with the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) to provide feedback to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. The NCCAOM/ASA comments address the need for more readily available education about complementary and integrative health models, more focused research on acupuncture directed by acupuncturists—or with acupuncturists as principal investigators, and more strategic efforts to strengthen the complementary and integrative health workforce. Contact [email protected] with questions.

To read the response letter, click here.

June 2020

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NCAOM and ASA responded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s request for perspectives on managing acute and chronic pain

The NCCAOM, in collaboration with the ASA leadership, responded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s request for perspectives on, and experiences with, managing acute and chronic pain, particularly as they relate to opioid use. The NCCAOM and ASA comments showcase acupuncture’s role in managing acute and chronic base, and site an evidence base for acupuncture as a viable non-pharmacologic pain-management option. The public-comment opportunity will help the CDC assess the public’s values and preferences regarding pain and pain-management strategies. Read the NCCAOM/ASA letter on the NCCAOM’s Advocacy page. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

To read the response letter, click here.

May 2020

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NCCAOM and Voices for Non-Opioid Choices Coalition Send Letters to House and Senate

As elective medical procedures begin restart amid COVID-19, the NCCAOM joins the national effort to encourage Congress to include the H.R. 5172/S.3067, the Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act in an upcoming COVID-19 relief measure. As the nation continues to fight COVID-19, we will continue to combat opioid misuse by providing practitioners and patients more non-pharmaceutical, non-opioid acute pain-management.  The NCCAOM is a proud member of the Voices for Non-Opioid Choices Coalition and its efforts to provide more non-opioid pain-management options to practitioners and patients.

To read the response letter, click here.

February 2020

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Collaborative Response to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ)

The NCCAOM®, the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA), and the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) provided a collaborative response to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Supplemental Evidence and Data Request on Treatments for Acute Pain. The joint organizational response focused  on noninvasive non-pharmacological therapy—specifically acupuncture.

To read the response letter, click here.

January 2020

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CMS Historic Decision to Cover Acupuncture

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the historic decision to cover acupuncture for low back pain and go out of their way to include Licensed Acupuncturists as the key group of providers for acupuncture services. NCCAOM and the American Society of Acupuncturists – ASA recognize how phenomenal these actions are.

To read the response letter, click here.

December 2019

U.S. Congressional Seal

H.R. 5172, the Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act

The NCCAOM is pleased to announce its support for H.R. 5172, the Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act, which would promote, and increase access to, non-opioid and therapeutic pain-management options for all outpatient surgical settings. In addition to incentivizing practitioners to use non-opioid pain-management options post-surgery through higher reimbursements, H.R. 5172 would direct the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to commission a study that would identify the limitations, gaps, access barriers, and/or Medicare-coverage and reimbursement gaps for therapeutic services such as acupuncture. The bill would then instruct CMS to provide recommendations to Congress for addressing identified limitations or barriers identified. This study would align with the Department of Health & Human Services’ Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report.

In early December, the NCCAOM’s government relations team joined fellow Voices for Non-Opioid Choices members to promote H.R. 5172 on Capitol Hill. Introduced by Terri Sewell (D-AL) and David McKinley (R-WV), H.R. 5172 is a bipartisan effort that aligns with initiatives in H.R. 6, the SUPPORT Act, which became law in 2018. The NCCAOM will continue to advocate for, and track, the NOPAIN Act and will provide more information to Diplomates as the bill progresses.

Please contact the NCCAOM Advocacy Team with any questions.

November 2019

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AHRQ: Noninvasive Nonpharmacological Treatments for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review Update

The NCCAOM advocacy team collaborated with ASA leadership to respond to AHRQ’s Noninvasive Nonpharmacological Treatments for Chronic Pain updated draft in early November 2019. The comments identified current research gaps around acupuncture efficacy and viability, especially as a tool for reducing chronic pain and opioid overuse. The comments also strongly encourage AHRQ to commission research acupuncture research to discover a stronger evidence base for acupuncture’s effects on chronic pain by initiating more specific and thorough acupuncture studies that include—and are led by—nationally certified and licensed acupuncturists. Both groups also recommend that AHRQ and its associated research bodies further explore the dangers and costs of opioids compared to acupuncture treatments, as well as comparative effectiveness research, and other trending research nuances.

Please contact the NCCAOM Advocacy Team with any questions.

October 2019

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HHS RFI for the Development of a CMS Action Plan to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Enhance Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment

In October 2019, the NCCAOM Advocacy Committee responded to CMS’ request for information to develop an action plan for combatting opioid abuse and addiction. The NCCAOM’s comments advocated for increased access to acupuncture, reimbursement for acupuncture, and coverage for acupuncture services.

The comments also identified research gaps and opportunities to build the evidence base for acupuncture as a viable nonpharmacological treatment option for chronic pain, as well as for behavioral health. The NCCAOM comments specifically recommended that state Medicaid plans make acupuncture services available to beneficiaries, especially those with substance abuse challenges, citing several successful state programs that currently exist.

Please contact the NCCAOM Advocacy Team with any questions.

September 2019

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NIH Request for Information (RFI): Important Considerations for Potential Creation of an Open-Access Repository or Database for Physiological and Anatomical Ontology of Acupoints

The NCCAOM Advocacy staff and Committee responded to the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) request for information on creating an acupoints database in September 2019. The comments provided feedback on the impact of such a database on acupuncture and acupuncture research, appropriate metrics for acupoint stimulants, anatomical references and regions for acupoints, acupoint nomenclature, acupoints for treating complex diseases, outcome measures, transcutaneous peripheral stimulation paradigms, and evaluation tools.

The NCCAOM response cited research for each of these topics and recommended that NCCIH further consider the ASA’s and the SAR’s recommendations for acupuncture research.

Please contact the NCCAOM Advocacy Team with any questions.

September 2019

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NCCAOM Joined Letter Urging Congress to Repeal the Medical Device Tax

This week, the NCCAOM joined over 600 organizations in a letter urging Congress to repeal the medical device tax by supporting S.692 and H.R.2207, the Protect Medical Innovation Act. This is indeed a bipartisan effort that has rallied Democrats and Republicans as both the Senate and the House versions of this bill have strong support from Democrat and Republican members of Congress. The medical device tax includes acupuncture needles, which the FDA designates as Class II devices. The NCCAOM recognizes the burden that this tax has on its Diplomates and their patients and will continue to advocate to repeal this burden.

Please contact the NCCAOM Advocacy Team with any questions.

Please click here for the full letter  urging Congress to repeal the medical device tax.

August 2019

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NCCAOM Comments – CMS cLBP Decision Memo CAG

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Proposed Decision Memo for Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain (cLBP) (CAG-00452N). The NCCAOM applauds CMS’ proposed decision to allow acupuncture services from an NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturist™ for Medicare beneficiaries participating in sanctioned research to determine acupuncture’s effect on cLBP. Facilitating research among Medicare beneficiaries will help strengthen the evidence base demonstrating acupuncture as an effective, safe, and affordable pain-management option.

Please click here to read more about this important initiative and collaboration.

June 2019

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NCCAOM commends HHS Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Final Report

The NCCAOM commends the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force for its final report for non-opioid, best practice options to manage acute pain and recognizing and supporting non-pharmaceutical pain management options such as acupuncture.

Please click here to read the NCCAOM letter.

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May 2019

Voices for nonopioid choices logo.

Voices for Non-Opioid Choices

The NCCAOM is pleased to join the Voices for Non-Opioid Choices coalition dedicated to increasing patient access to non-opioid therapies and approaches to managing acute pain, where addiction can start. NCCAOM will be promoting acupuncture services as non-pharmaceutical approaches to pain management and addiction.

Please go to www.nonopioidchoices.org read more about this important initiative and collaboration.

March 2019

HHS logo.

Comments on Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Draft Report

The NCCAOM have submitted comments on the current comments on the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force’s draft report. We appreciate the Task Force’s commitment to addressing the country’s pain and opioid crisis and look forward to helping expand the utilization of non-pharmacological treatments for pain through acupuncture. The comments submitted to HHS are available at link below:

View the NCCAOM submission to the HHS

February 2019

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Comments on the Current National Coverage Analysis
for Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain

The NCCAOM and ASA have submitted comments on the current National Coverage Analysis for Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain (CAG-00452N). Our organizations have worked jointly to prepare this summary of the evidence demonstrating that acupuncture coverage for CLBP is reasonable and necessary under the Medicare program. The comments submitted to CMS are available at link below:

NCCAOM-ASA CLBP NCA Comments 2019

October 2018

Number of Veterans Affairs Facilities Offering Acupuncture Growing Rapidly Poster

Number of Veterans Affairs Facilities Offering
Acupuncture Growing Rapidly

Acupuncture is an increasingly important and effective component of chronic pain management and other areas of care in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Over the past 7 years, the number of VHA facilities offering acupuncture has increased from 42% to 88%, according to an article published in a special issue on the use of acupuncture in the Veterans Health Administration in Medical Acupuncture, a peer-reviewed journal from by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

For details click here

June 2018

Healthcare Leadership Council Partnership logo.

Healthcare Leadership Council Partnership and Announcement

As a result of work by the NCCAOM Advocacy team, NCCAOM began partnering with the Healthcare Leadership Council and more than 75 other nationally recognized health care organizations to prepare a set of recommendations for policymakers to address the opioid crisis. This work, resulting in the Opioid Crisis Solutions Summit in May 2018, brought together diverse viewpoints across the health care industry to address the opioid epidemic through a series of focused, actionable recommendations covering the spectrum of care. The NCCAOM, represented by Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, was the only organization representing integrative medicine at this event. The NCCAOM advocated strongly for the inclusion of evidence-based, non-pharmacological pain management therapies like acupuncture in the recommendations, and these were included in the final product, which was released on June 20. More information about the recommendations can be found here. NCCAOM Advocacy was proud to be one of the only representative voices for integrative care and looks forward to continuing to engage with the HLC and its partners and advocate for improved pain management nationwide.

The NCCAOM Advocacy Team has only just begun its work in support of the goals outlined above. Over the second half of this year, we plan to continue to provide resources for Diplomates and engage with external bodies to promote acupuncture and the profession of certified Diplomates across the country. Please feel free to reach out to NCCAOM Advocacy Team at [email protected] with any advocacy or legislative-related questions, comments, or ideas on what will be helpful for you and colleagues to thrive in the profession.

Joe Nahra, Mina Larson and Dr. Kory Ward-Cook at the HLC Opioid Crisis Summit

March 2018

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs seal.

Acupuncturists at the Veterans Administration

One major accomplishment that deserves some emphasis is our ongoing work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and specifically the Veterans Health Administration. As the result of significant engagement with leadership at the VA, NCCAOM has succeeded in obtaining a newly created qualification standard for acupuncturists to be hired at the VA. Previously, the Department could only hire acupuncturists as contractors, and the agency had only recognized acupuncture as a treatment modality and not a profession. With the new qualification, acupuncturists who are NCCAOM Board-Certified can be appointed as VA practitioners, and provide essential chronic and acute pain care to the millions of veterans covered by the Veterans Health Administration. More information on the details of the new classification can be found here.

February 2018

Acupuncturists Now Included in the Veterans Health Administration Map.

Acupuncturists Now Included in the Veterans Health Administration

The Veterans Health Administration has created a qualification standard for acupuncturists to become employed practitioners at the VHA. The VHA now requires NCCAOM Board-Certification as an essential part of ensuring safe and high-quality acupuncture treatment. NCCAOM has created a map reflecting the locations of VHA Medical Centers and the number of NCCAOM Board-Certified Diplomates in close proximity.

To view the map, click here.

January 2018

BLS 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/.

December 2017

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Medicaid Program

The Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM) and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® commend the Ohio Department of Medicaid for including acupuncture as a covered service for low back pain and migraines into the state Medicaid program. Coverage for acupuncture services will take effect January 1, 2018.

To read the Press Release click here

July 2017

BLS logo.

Standard Occupational Code for “Acupuncturists”

The NCCAOM® announced it has successfully secured an independent Standard Occupational Code (SOC) for Acupuncturists from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The new code for Acupuncturists – SOC – 29-1291, will be included in the next edition of the BLS Occupational Handbook, which will be published in 2018.

For details click here

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