A new bill in Congress would create historic changes in Medicare by finally including licensed acupuncturists in the Social Security system. This would qualify us to directly offer our trained services to tens of millions of Medicare recipients.
The bill is title The Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act. Just click to find out more (summary fact sheet at the bottom of the page).
Medicare regulations changed in 2020 in response to the opioid crisis. Determined to push back against the nation's epidemic of pain-killer addiction, Medicare began offering acupuncture treatmenta for low back pain but the rules were narrowly written so that only doctors and nurse practitioners trained in acupuncture could provide the service … and there aren’t many of those
The rules are strict, however. and make it complicated to receive the services. A short list of mainstream physicians, not necessarily trained in acupuncture, maintain supervisory roles over the acupuncturi. If you want to be treated by your acupuncturist of choice - and not an acupuncture-trained doctor or nurse practitioner - you've got to create a working arrangement with one of those physicians.
The proposed law, offered up by U.S. Rep.. Judy Chu of California, would vastly streamline that process so that Medicare recipients could go directly to their preferred acupuncturist for a wide variety of treatments, not just for low back pain.
Getting any bill passed is difficult and achieving approval for The Acupuncture For Our Seniors Act will be no different. Our biggest professional organizations are going to do what they can to inform the public and our elected officials about the logic of expanding Medicare benefits that you've been investing in for decades through your taxes.