Governor Newsom Upholds Acupuncture Benefits in Medi-Cal Amid Budget Cuts

Governor Newsom Upholds Acupuncture Benefits in Medi-Cal Amid Budget Cuts

Sacramento, CA – June 24, 2024 — Governor Gavin Newsom has retracted the proposed budget cuts to the Medi-Cal acupuncture program for low-income Californians for the 2024-2025 budget year. This decision marks a significant victory for healthcare providers and advocates who have long championed acupuncture as a vital component of comprehensive medical care.

The initial proposal would have eliminated much-needed acupuncture benefits for millions of low-income beneficiaries. The governor faced substantial pushback from the acupuncture community, Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and legislators in both the state Senate and Assembly.

Acupuncture was legalized in California in 1976 and has been an integral part of Medi-Cal healthcare since 1989. Its inclusion in the program reflects the growing acceptance and efficacy of acupuncture in treating various ailments, from chronic pain to mental health disorders. Over the decades, numerous studies have validated the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture, leading to its greater integration into mainstream medical practice.

However, this is not the first time acupuncture benefits have been threatened with cuts in the Medi-Cal program. Acupuncture was removed from Medi-Cal in 2009 but was successfully reinstated in 2016 thanks to persistent advocacy from the acupuncture community, notably spearheaded by the American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (AACMA). This effort also garnered crucial support from Assembly members Phil Ting, Rob Bonta, and David Chiu back then.

The preservation of acupuncture benefits in Medi-Cal this time is largely credited to collaborative efforts among the acupuncture community, key legislators, and Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

The six association members of the California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC) have played a vital role in the effort to save Medi-Cal acupuncture services. The leaders of the American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (AACMA) have been instrumental in communicating with key legislators, convening stakeholders for budget cuts hearings, and mobilizing the public to voice opposition to the governor’s plan. The leaders of the American Korean Acupuncture Medical Association of California (AKAMAC) and the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) have been essential in contacting budget committee members, initiating and promoting online petitions against budget cuts. The leaders of the American Society of Chinese Medicine (ASCM), the Japanese Acupuncture Association of California (JAAC), and the California Acupuncture United Association (CAUA) have made significant contributions to conveying our opposition to budget committee members. Additionally, teachers and students from acupuncture schools across California, including the Academy of Chinese Culture & Sciences, the Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine School, Alhambra Medical University, California University-Silicon Valley, Dongguk University Los Angeles, and Five Branch University, joined the effort. Furthermore, medical facilities such as North East Medical Services (NEMS) and Chinese Hospital voiced their opposition on behalf of the beneficiaries they serve.

The unified support of legislators like Senator Scott Weiner, Assemblymember Evan Low, Assemblymember Phil Ting, and Assemblymember Alex Lee has directly impacted the positive outcome of the budget cuts on acupuncture. Additionally, the opposition from Medi-Cal beneficiaries has underscored the importance of preserving acupuncture services.

The California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC) extends gratitude to Governor Newsom for preserving acupuncture services in the Medi-Cal program and thanks everyone for their contributions to this achievement.

Heartfelt gratitude and applause are extended by the California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC) to Senator Scott Wiener, Senator Caroline Menjivar, and the leaders of the California Asian American and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (AAPILC), including Assemblymember Evan Low, Assemblymember Phil Ting, and Assemblymember Alex Lee, for their advocacy on behalf of the acupuncture community and response to the needs of low-income beneficiaries.

The California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC) commends the exemplary leadership of AACMA President Dr. Chulong Xue, Vice President Dr. Lin Yang, AKAMAC President Dr. Bon Cho, CSOMA President Tiffany Tufftee, L.Ac, and Executive Director Dr. Ra Adcock. Commendation also extends to Dr. Victoria Ru Tuan and Dr. Daisy Hong Liu from ASCM, JAAC President Dr. Saori Minota and Vice President Nobuko Ide, Dr. Sun Lee from AAAMA, Dr. Jane Li and Dr. Kexin Bao from CAUA, Marilyn Allen, Director from AAC Insurance Group, Jessica Ho from NEMS for their significant effort and support.

Furthermore, the California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC) strongly encourages acupuncture students and practitioners to join acupuncture associations to further promote this essential branch of medicine.

About The California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC):

The California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC) serves as a platform for California acupuncture associations to unite their voices and collaborate on acupuncture legislation. Comprising six acupuncture associations in the state, including the American Korean Acupuncture Medical Association of California (AKAMAC), the American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (AACMA), the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA), the American Society of Chinese Medicine (ASCM), the Japanese Acupuncture Association of California (JAAC), and the California Acupuncture United Association (CAUA), this coalition has a history of working together on legislative issues. After a period of dormancy, it now officially resumes its mission to stand united in advancing acupuncture as a vital component of healthcare in California and to work on legislative initiatives within the state.

About the Author: 

  1. Tiffany Tuftee, L.Ac., serves as the President of CSOMA. A steadfast advocate for East Asian Medicine, she is deeply committed to advancing the practice of acupuncture in California. Her initiatives focus on creating job opportunities, enhancing sustainability within the profession, and educating allied healthcare practitioners on the essential role acupuncture plays in modern healthcare. Under her leadership, CSOMA is dedicated to ensuring that acupuncture remains a vital component of the state’s healthcare system, promoting comprehensive and holistic patient care. Contact email: president@csomaonline.org
  2. Dr. Lin Yang, California Licensed Acupuncturist, instructor, Vice President of AACMA, decade long volunteer of AACMA. Contact email: yangshealingmethod@gmail.com

 

Medi-Cal Proposed 2024-25 May Revision

Medi-Cal Proposed 2024-25 May Revision

June 24, 2024: Governor Gavin Newsom has retracted the proposed budget cuts to the Medi-Cal acupuncture program for low-income Californians for the 2024-2025 budget year. This decision marks a significant victory for healthcare providers and advocates who have long championed acupuncture as a vital component of comprehensive medical care. Read the full press release.


June 20: Governor Newsom has not made a final decision on the fate of Medi-Cal acupuncture benefits. Please CONTINUE making your voice heard until a final decision is made. See our June 11th newsletter for instructions.

In May, CSOMA alerted the acupuncture community about the California State “Governor’s Proposed 2024-25 May Revision” cuts acupuncture as Medi-Cal Benefit, starting January 2025.

This cut would stop the existing acupuncture services for millions of much needed Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and negatively impact the acupuncture profession in California.

Several alerts – on May 22, May 27, May 31, and June 11 – were sent with instructions on how to advocate for these benefits.

Thank you, to all who helped advocate for the profession – and who continue to do so!

Stay tuned for updates, and be sure to subscribe to stay in the know on these and other important issues affecting access to acupuncture.

Background

When California implemented the Affordable Care Act in 2014, acupuncture was classified as an “Essential Health Benefit” which thus required private insurance and group policies to offer acupuncture benefits.

Removing acupuncture from state covered benefits in Medi-Cal goes directly against this policy, undermining low income access to acupuncture while otherwise mandating that private insurance holders have access.

This revision to Medi-Cal benefits is scheduled to be signed into law by Governor Newsom as early as mid-June.

CSOMA is working closely with other CA state associations under the unified umbrella of the “California Acupuncture Coalition – CAC” to address this urgent issue.

CSOMA’s Board of Directors, with the CAC, have contacted representatives from the following key committees: the Senate Standing Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Subcommittee 3 on Health and Human Services, and the CA Assembly Committee on Budget.

Community Announcements

Community Announcements

Welcome Spring Wind Herbs! 🎉

We are thrilled to welcome Spring Wind Herbs as a NEW Merchant Member.

“Our purpose is to supply the Chinese herbal community with clean, high-quality Premium and Organic bulk herbs and herbal products that do not compromise on our standards and, most importantly, to provide transparency as we do so. This involves working with growers and manufacturers in Asia and the US to continuously improve the quality and purity of herbs and herbal products available to the practitioner community and to provide transparency in all aspects of our business. We plan to continually expand the selection of pesticide-free, organically grown, and certified organic herbs and herbal products we can offer to practitioners and their patients. Visit springwind.com to learn more.”

Welcome NEW Members, and THANK YOU for supporting CSOMA! 🎉

Dr. Veronica Swords, Alicia Masiulis, Casey Schartner, George Samuel, Jennifer Drechsler, LAC, Dr. Heather Noemi, DACM, L.Ac, Dr. Caroline James, PhD, DACM, LAc, Jayne Chen, Daniel Martin, LAc, Stefanie Fletcher, Kevin Cates, na luo, Gaylian Hein, Dr. Gabby Pavelko, LAc, DACM, Emma Browning L.Ac. FABORM, Melanie Worthy, Bamboo Ilana, Dr. Rufus Fuller L.Ac DAOM, Erica W Chu, Cheyanne E. Cancino, Kristin Price. LAc., Dr. Kristina Yotive, Dr. Jeannie Dairo, Ke Cao, Lauren A. Sugarman, L.Ac., Margaret Zhou

And to our renewing CSOMA members, THANK YOU for your continued support!


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Advocacy Updates

Advocacy Updates

Get updates on MediCal, dry needling, insurance, Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act, and more.

Medi-Cal Proposed 2024-25 May Revision

June 24, 2024: Governor Gavin Newsom has retracted the proposed budget cuts to the Medi-Cal acupuncture program for low-income Californians for the 2024-2025 budget year. This decision marks a significant victory for healthcare providers and advocates who have long...

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2024-25 Calendar of Events

2024-25 Calendar of Events

JuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberJanuary


June Events & CEUs


June 29-30

Susan Johnson – The Best of Master Tung’s Magic Points Info & Registration
June 29-30, 9am-5pm EST

  • 2-Day In-Person & LIVE streaming webinar

  • 14 CEUs

  • ASA members receive a 10% discount off with CODE MTAH8YAll

  • CSOMA members are ASA members, so they receive the 10% discount (log in to check your membership status)

Note this webinar is hosted by Maryland Acupuncture Society.


June 12

FREE 2 CEUs from MIEC

Wednesday June 12th, 5-7pm PST REGISTER TODAY!
Pointing to Safety: Your path to preventing adverse events in clinical practice

Join MIEC and Five Flavors Herbs for the 2nd in a 3-part webinar series focusing on safety and risk management in Acupuncture / Asian Medicine.

Discover essential strategies for patient safety in your practice. The expert panel will discuss insights, real-world experiences, and practical strategies for enhancing safety in clinical practice. This dynamic discussion (structured like a video podcast) aims to empower attendees with actionable best practices that they can implement directly in their clinical practice. Through live Q&A sessions, participants will have the opportunity to engage directly with the panelists.

Registration is FREE! A Zoom link will be sent out the day of the webinar.

CEUs: 2 free CAB Category 1 CEUs (live only) & NCCAOM Safety PDAs approved.

If you can’t attend in person, feel free to register and we’ll send out the link after class. Distance credits not available.

CSOMA is a proud sponsor of this event!


June 12

Student Loan Webinar

Wednesday June 12th at 6:30p PST REGISTER TODAY!

FREE 1-hour webinar to cover:

– Rule of thumb for how to treat your student loan repayment

– Details about Public Service LoanForgiveness (PSLF) plan & who is eligible

– Key deadlines and opportunities to take advantage of 5 most common student loan mistakes people make

– Q&A

There is still time to take advantage of the IDR Waiver BEFORE June 30th! Some of you may be in loans that are not eligible for cancellation and it is important that you figure this out BEFORE 06/30.

Note this webinar is hosted by Student Loan Planner and organized by CSOMA.


July Events & CEUs


July 12 is California Acupuncture Day! 🎉

July 21

SAVE 30%! San Francisco Marriott & Livestream

The 19th San Francisco International Symposium on TCM – Head, Neck, and ENT Specialization
Sunday, July 21st, 9:50 AM – 4:05 PM PT REGISTER TODAY! CODE CSOMA2024

Five renowned TCM doctors from the US and China will present the latest research progress in TCM treatment for otolaryngological conditions like tinnitus, allergic rhinitis, and more.

  • Use CODE: CSOMA2024 at checkout for 30% off registration, making the event only $84
  • Students can register for free (no CEUs)

Note this event is hosted by World Chinese Medicine Forum in collaboration with the American Association of Chinese Medicine.


August Events & CEUs


September Events & CEUs


Sept 26-27

CSOMA Conference & Expo in Oakland – Sept 26 & 27, 2024. Exhibitors: Register Today! Attendee registration details Coming Soon!


October Events & CEUs


November Events & CEUs


December Events & CEUs


January Events & CEUs


 

Acupuncture Bills

Acupuncture Bills

We’re tracking the latest acupuncture bills to keep you informed.


CSOMA District Rep Program

CSOMA District Rep Program

Welcome to CSOMA’s District Rep Program!

If you want to strengthen acupuncture access and advocacy in California, this is where the action is!

We are excited to build a community of acupuncturists in the major California districts where legislation decisions are made.

Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Click on your district on CSOMA’s District Map
  2. Complete the form

We’ll be in touch with next steps. This is just the beginning – stay tuned for more updates as we pilot our first program.

Acupuncture Bills

California Acupuncture Day

“California Acupuncture Day” celebration conference held grandly

The American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and Evan Low, a state representative representing Silicon Valley, held a celebration meeting at Cupertino Community Hall from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 22 to celebrate the passage of AR48 Resolution by the California State Government. The sponsor of the California Acupuncture Day Resolution is Congressman Rodalan, and the main sponsor is the American Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The case confirms July 12 as California Acupuncture Day, which was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown before 1975 to legalize California acupuncture.

In the afternoon of the same day, California Finance Minister Fiona Ma, State Representative Evan Low, Alex Lee, Cupertino Deputy Mayor Sheila Mohan, City Councillor Liang Chao, Palo Alto Mayor Lydia Kou, Saratooga Deputy Mayor Yan Zhao and others attended the conference to congratulate.

Leaders and representatives of the American Chinese Culture and Medical University, the California Five Departments of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Medical University, the International University of Medicine, the University of California Silicon Valley, the American Chinese Medical Association, the American Korean Acupuncture Association AKAMAC, CalATMA, CAOMA, CAUA, CSOMA and other co-organizers came from all parts of

The celebration was co-chaired by Li Ying, vice president of the American Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and James Wang, an assistant to Congressman Luo. Representative Rodalen, Representative Li Tianming and Finance Minister Ma Shiyun delivered enthusiastic greetings respectively. They highly praised the achievements of Mr. Brown, the former governor, and spoke highly of the milestone significance of the establishment of “California Acupuncture Day”, which will have a positive and far-reaching impact on the development of acupuncture in California. At the same time, they strongly commended the important contributions made by the California acupuncture industry to promoting public health care. Huang Xiansheng, Honorary President of the American Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, delivered a speech on behalf of the chairman and co-organizers. He thanked Senator Luo for proposing the establishment of “California Acupuncture Day” to vigorously promote acupuncture; thanked the dignitaries for taking time out of their busy schedules to congratulate them; thanked the co

Subsequently, Congressman Luo presented the resolution to the leader of the California acupuncture community, which was received by the representative of President Huang Xiansheng. Senator Li will give the commendation to the leaders of the co-organizers. Senator Luo, Senator Li and Finance Minister Ma took a group photo with the dignitaries and leaders of the co-organizers who were at the meeting. Several mayors, deputy mayors and councillors also delivered congratulations and congratulatory certificates.

Before the celebration, a lecture on traditional Chinese medicine health was held, and professors from California’s five departments of traditional Chinese medicine and the University of California Silicon Valley gave speeches. After the award ceremony, large-scale acupuncture and medical treatment and Taiji performances were also held on the spot.

Nearly 300 dignitaries, elected officials, leaders and representatives of traditional Chinese medicine organizations, teachers and students of traditional Chinese medicine schools, and the community attended the celebration meeting on that day. The event was unprecedented and spread as a good story for a while, setting off another round of “acupuncture fever” in California.

Contributed by the Secretariat of the American Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine

October 22, 2023 (October 22)

Acupuncture Bills

CSOMA Supports Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act of 2023

On May 9, Reps. Chu, Fitzpatrick Introduce Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act of 2023.

This bill would increase Medicare beneficiaries’ access to acupuncturists, provide more non-pharmacological options for pain relief, and promote the profession’s growth.

“Our seniors deserve affordable access to non-pharmacological pain relief provided by acupuncturists and billed through Medicare,” said Sarah Hart, L.Ac., California State Oriental Medicine Association (CSOMA) President. “CSOMA fully supports expanding access to acupuncture within the healthcare delivery system and thanks Reps. Judy Chu and Brian Fitzpatrick for introducing the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act.”

CMS already recognizes the value of acupuncture and began covering services in January 2020. Unfortunately, because acupuncturists do not have Medicare-provider status, they cannot provide these covered services to beneficiaries without supervision. The status quo disrupts the acupuncture service-delivery model, as they cannot independently provide services to Medicare beneficiaries, despite their ability to do so for non-Medicare beneficiaries. The resulting access barrier hurts Senior Citizens and exacerbates healthcare inefficiencies. (Excerpt from the ASA/NCCAOM press release.)

Read the full press release from Congresswoman Judy Chu here.

Read the ASA/NCCAOM press release here.

 

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