July 2019 Newsletter
From the Chair of the American Society of Acupuncturists

Dear Colleagues and Supporters,

Recently we reached a major, preliminary milestone, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had decided to move forward with more formal studies of acupuncture for low back pain. The goal is to conduct studies in the age group covered by Medicare, in order to determine if the evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness is sufficient to include it under general Medicare coverage. While certainly, low back pain is only one, very specific condition; and, while certainly, the physiology of the low back region is not dramatically unique from other parts of the body (and hence if acupuncture works for that, one should be able to very reasonably extrapolate to acupuncture’s effectiveness for pain in other body regions), this is the nature of the process. 

The call for study has a number of caveats on designs and participation, and right now we need all supporters to send comments to Medicare by August 15 th via the submission portal. Please see below for more detail, and here for the ASA CMS commentary as a template. It is important that Licensed Acupuncturists be included explicitly in the provider groups named to take part in these studies. As the only profession fully dedicated to acupuncture, it would be difficult to justify the omission of this group, but that is the status of the current document. Please take time to give positive praise to CMS for this step towards inclusion, but also make note of the omissions we describe. Every comment, especially from members of the public, is valuable. Do be positive and constructive, but also, let’s highlight the omissions. If acupuncture becomes covered, this is one step towards the inclusion of acupuncturists as a provider group delivering that care. 

This is not the only step, and legislative action is on the agenda, but this is what’s needed now.

Thank you for your action on this path!


David W. Miller, MD, LAc
Chair, American Society of Acupuncturists
In collaboration with the ASA
Pediatric Acupuncture Evidence Summary: – Joining Forces to Forge a New Era
 “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” (Nelson Mandela).

In December 2018, The UK Times published an article with the headline Professors sound alarm over rise of acupuncture for children . The article questioned not only the efficacy, but also the ethical implications of treating children with acupuncture
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the first professors to step forward and criticise pediatric acupuncture in the article was Edzard Ernst. In the article, Ernst is quoted as saying:

“I am not aware of sound evidence showing that acupuncture is effective for any childhood conditions.”

He goes on to state that children are more likely to be injured by acupuncture than adults and could even have their lives put at risk if acupuncture is used in lieu of ‘effective treatment.’ Later in the article, pharmacologist David Colquhoun rubs salt into the wound by describing pediatric acupuncture as a “rather unpleasant form of health fraud.”

An emergency meeting was called to respond to this media storm with representation from pediatric acupuncturists from the UK, USA, and Europe. The need for better access to evidence was identified as a key priority area. In February 2019 a collaboration was forged between An Apple a Day , (Julian Scott’s online education platform offering continuing professional development in pediatric acupuncture), Rebecca Avern from Oxford UK, Robin Ray Green on behalf of the USA’s Center for Advanced Acupuncture Pediatrics and Dr Elisa Rossi’s from the Acupuncture and Tuina Children’s' Centre (Italy).

From this meeting Kath Berry of An Apple a Day commissioned the Pediatric Acupuncture Evidence Summary (PAES) working with freelance TCM writer Natalie Saunders. After several months of hard work reviewing and collating all the available evidence, the PAES was born giving rise to a new era of pediatric acupuncture with an evidence base to support its use and protect against further attacks.

To fulfil its role as a vehicle to educate the general public, health providers and policy makers about the safety and benefits of acupuncture, the PAES covers several common pediatric conditions including:

·        Pediatric pain
·        Nausea and vomiting
·        Colic
·        Nocturnal enuresis
·        Cerebral Palsy
·        Autistic spectrum disorder
·        Asthma
·        Neonatal care

It also discusses various other issues including the safety and feasibility of pediatric acupuncture, as well as highlighting concerns over some more mainstream practices such as off-label prescribing.

The PAES was launched at an international panel meeting on June 4 th at the suggestion of Robin Ray Green. Robin was joined by Dr Julian Scott, Rebecca Avern, Dr David W. Miller Chair of the American Society of Acupuncture (ASA) and Elisa Rossi (Milan, Italy). Mel Hopper Koppelman, Director of Evidence Based Acupuncture (EBA) opened the meeting by talking about the essential role of good quality research in changing policies and practice.

The PAES is, in fact, part of a bigger strategic plan to get the message out there and educate people about pediatric acupuncture. It is just one link in a longer chain of events to change the healthcare landscape and offer families safer choices for caring for babies, children and teenagers.
It is envisioned that the PAES will provide an important first step for qualified TCM practitioners who may be thinking about treating children to take action even if they lack the confidence or are unsure where to start. High quality pediatric acupuncture education is available online to fill the knowledge gap, boost confidence and enhance clinical skills. Most importantly there is a strong network of dedicated practitioners all around the world, led by inspirational experts, to push the movement forward.
The PAES is a celebration of what can be achieved when a small group of visionaries get together and rise up when under attack. It serves as a vital resource when it comes to quieting sceptics such as Ernst and Colquhoun. It shows that their claims regarding pediatric acupuncture’s apparent lack of evidence are unfounded and, moreover, simply untrue. It is a great example of different organisations with a common goal working together to achieve something that is far greater than the sum of their parts.
To watch the international panel replay, download a free PDF copy of the PAES and join the pediatric acupuncture movement: visit here
Welcome to the ASA Job Openings Board! 
We encourage all submissions which promote gainful employment in our profession. Please do not hesitate to submit job postings, office space rentals or if you know someone who wants to sell their practice, we would be more than happy to add them as well. Please submit to Christine@asacu.org so your submissions can be added to the board.
The ASA does reserve the right to edit one’s posting for tact, tenor, and tone, if it may be perceived as potentially inappropriate by others. To ensure the job openings board remains easy to use, please let me know when your submission is filled.

Thank you for all you do for our profession.
Christine Cronin
Board Member at Large

Come check out the official Journal of the American Society of Acupuncturists

Atlantic Symposium 2019! 

A group of East Coast Acupuncture Societies (Acu Soc of New York, New Jersey Assoc of AOM & Assoc of Prof Acu - Pennsylvania) have come together to host the first annual Atlantic Symposium! Designed to highlight the best talent and resources represented on the east coast, come join us for exciting presentations and speakers, continuing education, exhibitors, and networking opportunities and a silent auction with your colleagues!

Early Bird Registration ends Friday, September 13th! After that, all ASA State Members who sign up will receive a 10% discount for registration. This will be extended to all who sign up with their state association before registration as well (Members will be verified before conference.) AS ASA STATE ASSOCIATIONS WHO BENEFIT GREATLY FROM MEMBERSHIP, WE ENCOURAGE EVERY ACUPUNCTURIST TO GET INVOLVED WITH THEIR OWN ASA STATE ASSOCIATION MEMBERS!! You can find the list here.


Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 9:00 AM EDT
Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 5:00 PM EDT


Hilton Newark Airport Hotel  
1170 Spring St
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

For Inquiries:
Kallie Guimond
Atlantic Symposium Coordinator

Integrative Healthcare: Acupuncture in the Mainstream

Trigger Point Acupuncture:
Structural Unwinding and Removal of Pain Patterns
Preparing for Birth and Sitting the Month
Introduction to Chinese Medicine Psychology 
Billing Practices in Acupuncture
Using Goals, Process, and Data to Drive Practice Success
Postural Assessment, the Channel Sinews ( Jingjin ), and the  Zangfu
TCM’s Critical Role in Solving the Lyme Epidemic
One Formula. Many Diseases:
The Flexible Applications of Chai Ge Jie Ji Tang
Acupuncture Policy Efforts & Effects
National Advocacy:
The Work of the American Society of Acupuncturists

Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture:
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Acupuncture Research an its Role in the Taking Acupuncture into the Mainstream
Selected Legal Issues to Consider in Starting and Running an Acupuncture Practice
Dear Colleagues,

Please consider joining us at the 5th annual ATCMA/TCMAA conference in Los Angeles, CA on October 5-6. This will be an outstanding opportunity to see top lecturers from China, and experience a truly intercultural event. Many lectures will be in Chinese with simultaneous English translation.

This is one of the best opportunities to connect with the Chinese practitioner community, and make connections with experts from mainland China.
Monthly Legislative & Regulatory Report
Our legislative focus this month: Respond to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) call for comments

July 24, 2019

Dear Colleagues and Supporters of Acupuncture:

The first stage of action needed regarding acupuncture’s inclusion to Medicare is upon us. We have until August 15, 2019 to respond to the CMS call for comments on the proposed study of acupuncture for low back pain. This period of study would cover acupuncture as part of the research and data gathering process. Once this study period is complete, the data will be analyzed and a determination will be made as to whether to cover acupuncture for low back pain in general. Please do respond to this call! Here is the link to the ASA CMS Commentary

While it is wonderful that acupuncture is being studied at this level, it is equally critical that Licensed Acupuncturists and the service they provide be clearly recognized. Without such, the public may be able to get acupuncture, but not from the group most extensively trained to provide it! 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes to cover acupuncture under section 1862(a)(1)(E) of the Social Security Act (the Act), with the support of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under section 1142 of the Act. We propose that coverage would be available for Medicare patients with chronic low back pain in clinical trials supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or in CMS approved studies meeting AHRQ criteria.

And the link for commentary here:   PUBLIC COMMENTS

We ask you to highlight a number of points in your responses:

Thank CMS for their consideration of this topic. This represents a massive step towards the incorporation of acupuncture into national health care.

  • Ask that the section that includes “auxiliary providers” be changed to more clearly name “Licensed Acupuncturists or state equivalent”. The qualifications for auxiliary providers exactly describe this licensure group.

  • Make commentary directly about the laws in your state to highlight your required training, supervision (or lack there of), and certification.

  • Ask that the supervision required during the study portion be done only by an MD. Supervision by other licensure types does not have a precedent, nor does it add in any way to the safety or quality of the trials. (Note: supervision in general is only under comment for the trial phase. This does not apply to general practice. It is likely that, for CMS, supervision by an MD will be required for the study period.)

  • Make commentary directly about the laws in your state regarding supervision of practice. Who can practice in your state? Do you have a supervision requirement? 

Please take a look at the ASA letter attached, and feel free to take language from that! Please encourage all supportive parties to take part in this comment period. Please remember that this is a groundbreaking moment in history for this type of work, and that some error in concept is inevitable. We hope that increasing familiarity with the Licensed Acupuncturist (or state equivalent) licensure group will advance dialog and improve future efforts. Polite, constructive, succinct responses will be most appreciated and effective.


The Board of the American Society of Acupuncturists

ASA Members: State Associations in Action
CTSA is sponsoring and now advertising A Battlefield Acupuncture course by John Howard coming up Nov 9 and 10. Here is the link:   CTSA Newsletter  to our constant contact newsletter and here is the link to register on our website:   Register here  If you'd rather I put the meat of the campaign in the body of the email, I will do so.  

Also, updated news on CT Declaratory ruling request by the CT Dept of Health to the CT PT Board of Examiners: CTSA has been accepted as one of the intervenors and can submit testimony by Sept 3, 2019 and can submit rebuttal to other Partys/Intervenors' testimony by Sept 19 and the hearing is Oct 1. CT plans to oppose the ruling, but otherwise stress standards according to the AMA statement. We will of course aim high on standards. We have retained an awesome CT Attorney who is happy to do this pro-bono for us as long as we do the heavy hitting for this issue.  Again we'd love any testimony that could help out from all the states. We will of course share anything we have created for this process once it is complete.  

Also, terrific news is Acupuncture made into our CT Governor's opiate bill: Governor Lamont signed the opioid bill July 11, 2019, House Bill 7159, Public Act 19-191. This includes the provision that prescribers will create treatment/care plans for certain patients who have an opioid script of more than 12 weeks. Part of the plan includes a discussion of treating pain without narcotics through acupuncture and three other modalities. (Section 6, which is effective October 1, 2019.) 
A link follows to the public act:  Public Act 19-191

Sad news is, we were not able to get provisional la nguage this last legislative session to have acupuncture covered by CT medicaid, called Husky. In fact, the bill that got through the human resources committee to reinstall Chiropractic coverage by medicaid was also rejected this session. The reason neither made it in this session had more to do with funding than opposition. We seem to have terrific support regarding Acupuncture as a viable care modality by many of our legislators, so we will continue our efforts for the next legislative session. CT was a bit more focused on getting FMLA installed and THAT is probably going to become a financial pitbull. I believe CT needs to see how that pans our financially before making significant changes to CT Medicaid. 
A letter was submitted on behalf of the Acupuncture society of Massachusetts to the Joint Financial Services Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature in support of commercial insurance coverage for the treatment of pain and opioid addiction in the Commonwealth.

To see the full text, click here to see the letter

Billing for Acupuncturists with Mori West

ASNY is please to have Mori West of AcuClaims helping to advance New York Acupuncturists.
This 2 day course on medical billing serves to raise the knowledge, and income of New York Acupuncturists in a safe, efficient and ethical way. 
14 NCCAOM PDA's Pending
Day One:  Beginning Billing 7 PDA's
CPT Coding – which codes pay and which don’t
ICD10 Codes that are “covered” by Insurance
How to fill out the CMS Claim Form
Submitting Claims & Corrected Claims Electronically
Networks – What to Consider and How to Join
This class is for practitioners who have no experience billing insurance or have been doing it with “limited” success. KNOW exactly what insurance carriers want to see and give it to them. We’ll teach you how to bill insurance and do it right – the first time. We’ll provide you with lots of resources such as coding cheat sheets, carrier policy bulletins, privacy practices you can use in your office. You’ll learn how to verify patient benefits as well as best office practices for taking insurance. Understand what is involved with network participation and the advantages and disadvantages for going “in-network” with a carrier.
You’ll learn how to submit claims electronically, how to re-file or resubmit claims if you made a mistake the first time. After taking this class you’ll have the confidence of knowing every claim you submit WILL be processed. Though out the class you’ll get tips and tricks from an expert in the field.
Be prepared to ask questions and get honest ethical answers as well as information you’ll use over and over again.
Day Two:  Exams & Bulletproof Documentation 7 PDA's
KNOW the Essentials Documentation including proper Coding
Examinations that Establish Medical Necessity
Making your Progress Notes Bullet Proof
Know EXACTLY what Carriers Look for in your Documentation
Create Treatment Plans and Goals that guarantee payment
Know how to write letters of Medical Necessity
Take this class and you’ll never worry again if you are asked for notes. We’ll provide you with resources you will use again and again along with samples of proper documentation as well as a through explanation about proper documentation in a way that makes it easy to understand. We’ll teach you how to establish a health “baseline” for your patients that can be used to show that your treatment is medically necessary as well as how to create a treatment plan and goal of treatment. In addition, you’ll be getting instructions, samples and templates - How to write a letter of medical necessity and best practices for your office. Thinking about updating your progress notes for greater efficiency and better compliance? We’ll have templates that you can make your own or use to update how you do things.
As always Mori will be sharing the latest information about Insurance Carriers plus great tips and tricks that come from over 30 years in the business of acupuncture billing. We’ve also got Dr. Roger West DC., QME, who will teach the examinations you need to know and how to document ranges of motion and functional improvements as well as tests to rule out certain conditions.

Mori West, C.P.C.
Mori West is a certified professional coder and the CEO of Acuclaims, a well-known and respected Medical Billing Company for Acupuncturists. For over 30 plus years Mori has been providing up to date information regarding billing and coding while donating her time at both the national and state level to ensure that correct information regarding insurance billing practices is put forth. Her classes offer real-world information that comes from processing thousands of claims each week for acupuncturists across the country. She is known as a lively speaker who entertains and inspires her students.

Roger West, D.C., QME
Dr West has been in private practice as a chiropractor since 1985. Prior to receiving his degree, he studied Chinese Martial Arts (Hsing-i, Tai Chi) as well as advanced studies in Feng Shui since 1990. His studies include advanced knowledge in 5 element theory as well as Taoist Cosmology. He has always been an advocate for acupuncture and acupuncturists and has worked alongside an acupuncturist in his private practice. He is a Qualified Medical Evaluator for the state of California and has reviewed and commented on thousands of pages of medical records.
Registration is required. No attendees accepted at the door without prior registration. Refund Policy: 48 to 72 hours prior to event: 75%. 24 to 48 hours prior to event 50%. Same day cancellation or No Show: No Refund.

Want to help?

Contact the Advocacy Committee of ASNY Click here

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Top 8 Things
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Opioid Solution
How to Get Involved with ASA
State Association Membership:
There are many avenues to being involved with the American Society of Acupuncturists. To enjoy the full benefits of membership, we encourage Licensed Acupuncturists to join their state association that is a member of ASA. You are considered a member of the ASA at no additional charge. State Associations that are currently members of ASA can be found here . State associations who are interested in membership with ASA may contact our Board Secretary LiMing Tseng at Secretary@asacu.org .

Other Ways to Be Involved:

Licensed Practitioners and Acupuncture Students who are unaffiliated with state associations may receive information about the state and federal regulatory and legislative environments, along with newsworthy announcements about the acupuncture industry by becoming an Associate of the ASA. Options for sitting on the Council, serving on Committees, or voting are not included in this option. For more information, please contact ASA Board Member Dr. Christine Cronin, DAOM, L.Ac at Newsletter@asacu.org . You may also sign up to receive information directly at www.asacu.org.

To Sign Up for Membership & Support Online, Visit Our Website:

American Society of Acupuncturists | 619-847-9613 | Newsletter@asacu.org | www.ASAcu.org