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February 23rd, 2020

The California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA), would like to announce again its support of adopting the NCCAOM exam for CA Licensure to replace the California Licensing Exam, CALE. By adopting the NCCAOM exam, acupuncturists would align themselves with the “gold standard” of professional competency, as is seen in other medical practitioners. Per the NCCAOM “A national board certification […] is the hallmark of excellence in acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM). NCCAOM certification makes an important statement about professional competence that is recognized by regulatory bodies, third-party payers, the profession and the public.”

Now more than ever our patients need us in hospitals and programs such as the Veteran’s Association, Medicare and other national healthcare institutions. The need for our profession to be engaged in a variety of settings will continue to increase, and we need to be positioned as a profession to be available to fill the needs of patients at a large scale level. With the current pandemic the world is facing, there have been more conversations than ever in recent history about the strength of our medicine and the need for its widespread availability. January 21st, 2020 marked a historic time for the L.Ac. profession. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its decision to cover acupuncture for low back pain. This is a major step forward for our profession, not only for job development, but also in being recognized as an integral part of the medical provider community.

What continues to hold us back, however, is having multiple licensing requirements, different professional titles for acupuncturists and no set credentialing national body for our profession as a whole. This not only confuses our counterparts, but also sets us apart from our colleagues in the professional workplace. National Board Certification is the standard across many healthcare professions. CSOMA supports the NCCAOM Certification as this gold standard. The benefits far outweigh the limitations set by not creating a streamlined way to enter the standard of care. Our profession is integrating, and we must be positioned to grow so we are not left behind. We as a profession have the ability to open the doors for jobs with federal agencies, hospitals and clinics across the US.

In early January 2018, CSOMA’s Public Policy Advisory Committee first introduced their position statement on the NCCAOM Exam. CSOMA would like to reinstate this position to our members and the public. We hope to foster a collaborative effort with other acupuncture professional associations to support the advancement of adopting the NCCAOM Certification as a gold standard of criteria for the AOM profession. CSOMA will continue to advocate for and provide more information to Diplomats as the bill progresses.

View the Original Position Statement here

Additional Information/Resources:

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM®) Fact Sheet: Information for California Licensed Acupuncturists and Other Interested Stakeholders about the NCCAOM Testing and Certification Program – January 8, 2018

Review of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Examinations by the California Acupuncture Board – January 2016

Q & A on Follow-Up Questions Submitted to the NCCAOM Based on the Audit, and How the NCCAOM Can Provide Exam Development and Administrative Services to the CAB for Purposes of Licensure: A Presentation to the CAB – June 11, 2016

Center for Medicare Services: Decision Memo for Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain – January 2020

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AdvocacyUPDATED: Resolution on adopting the NCCAOM exams for CA licensure to replace CALE