CSOMA Supports Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act of 2023

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.


CSOMA Supports Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act of 2023

CSOMA Opposes AB765

Updated 4/4/23:

CSOMA legislation news on AB 765

To our members who are awaiting a response regarding AB 765 and next steps. CSOMA is working diligently with allied health care professionals, and acupuncture state associations in California for clarification and updates on the AB 765 bill as written.

Currently the bill has been opposed as written by numerous professional associations, as there is uncertainty if the bill as written would strip the Dr. title from other professionals such as Doctor of Acupuncture, Doctor of Dentistry, Doctor of Chiropractic etc.
Here is what we know:
1. Opposition for AB 765 as written letter was sent on behalf of CSOMA members to Business and Professions Committee. (see below)
2. AB 765_fact sheet from Representative Wood’s office
3. Discussion amongst CA Stakeholders on call to action campaign, next steps ongoing
4. News from Legislator Wood’s office that “The bill makes no changes to other practice acts and other licensed practitioners’ ability to use the title Dr as long as it is done consistent with existing requirements. Meaning if I am an optometrist I can use the title Dr so long as it is clear I am an O.D., i.e. Dr. Snow, OD. The committee consultant is proposing language that makes it perfectly clear that nothing in section (a) changes existing law for other practitioners.” (From email of Liz Snow, Chief of Staff)
5. April 11th is a hearing for this bill with public comment.
6. Members: Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for more, and to find out how you can support our grass roots efforts. Become a member to help CSOMA support you on these major issues affecting the profession in CA.

Original post:

The following opposition statement was submitted via Business and Professions Committee online portal on March 27, 2023:

Dear Business and Professions Committee,

CSOMA Opposes AB765.

CSOMA is a professional association representing acupuncturists including acupuncturists with doctorate degrees from accredited doctorate programs. CSOMA supports protecting the public from false advertising and misrepresentation of medical professional’s qualifications. However, AB765 as written does not make it clear that acupuncturists can continue to use the title “Dr.” followed by the type of acupuncture doctorate degree. Acupuncturists with doctoral degrees are authorized to use the title “Dr.” alongside their license or degree title in the following statutes:

Article 2. Certification Requirements (Article 2 added by Stats. 1980 ch. 1313, § 11.5)
§ 4936. Use of “Doctor” or “Dr.”
(a) It is unprofessional conduct for an acupuncturist to use the title “Doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.” in connection with the practice of acupuncture unless he or she possesses a license that authorizes the use or possesses an earned doctorate degree from an accredited, approved, or authorized educational institution as set forth under Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 94800) of Part 59 of Division 10 of Title 3 of the Education Code, which is in acupuncture, oriental medicine, a biological science, or is otherwise related to the authorized practice of an acupuncturist as set forth in Sections 4927 and 4937.
(b) The use of the title “Doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.” by an acupuncturist as authorized in subdivision (a) without further indicating the type of license or degree which authorizes that use shall constitute unprofessional conduct.
(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 326, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2013.)

Please amend AB765 to clarify that other professions, as authorized in state statutes, may continue to use the title “Dr.” followed by their license or degree type.

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Tag: 2023-24