Late March Update

The weekend is winding down and I didn’t make it to my planned “The Biggest Problem Facing the Profession” post.  However, there is lots of news in Acu-World. Here are some items to keep you busy until I get back to the keyboard.

  • Want to support the profession in a positive way? You may have contributed to funds for inter-professional squabbles or federal legislation. That money hasn’t helped us in a lasting or tangible way. Support POCATech and you’ll be supporting an acupuncture school committed to providing an affordable education. How would your practice be different if you didn’t have educational debt? Check it out here! POCATech will help more people get acupuncture from acupuncturists — it is a win/win.
  • ACAOM is considering changes to the post-Graduate Doctoral Program and they want to hear from you.  The survey took me about 15 minutes, most of that for reading. Personally, I support a Doctoral track open to those who have an acupuncture-only education. There is a long history of practitioners choosing one specialty.  The movement in some states to insist on complete OM or Herbal training and credentialing is discriminatory against acupuncturists and expensive! It is important that we all weigh in, whether or not we plan to pursue a doctoral degree. Deadline for response — April 17th.
  • In January NCASI was celebrating a ruling they believed meant PT’s would not be able to do dry needling in Utah. In March, Utah HB 367, legislation which would add dry needling to PT scope of practice, went to the Governor’s desk for a signature. Shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Utah has fewer than 100 LAcs and about 4000 PT’s.
  • Likewise, “despite the warning” of AZSOMA, SB 1154, which would add dry needling to PT scope of practice, has passed the Senate and made it through two committees of the House. The votes have not been close.
  • Last, and maybe least, the AAAOM collapse continues.  Acupuncture Today printed part II of their article, now with updates. The AAAOM came out with a response (prior to the latest updates). Given the latest updates it probably isn’t worth the time to go through the AAAOM response. Suffice it to say, it contains plenty of spin and quite a few inaccuracies. Mostly, I continue to note that we’ve heard nothing from the AAAOM about who is currently in charge there. And, no practitioners really seem to care.

That should be enough to keep everyone busy.  Back soon, with “The Biggest Problem Facing the Profession.” (No, it isn’t Dry Needling.)


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© Elaine Wolf Komarow and The Acupuncture Observer, 2013-2033. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from Elaine Wolf Komarow is prohibited. Excerpts and links are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

13 thoughts on “Late March Update

  1. Yes, and the mentally of the people who live there. It was a combination. That is in the past as I no longer live there for many reasons not just because of acupuncture.

    Just a side note. I have been following Diane Ravitch’s blog concerning the state of education in this country. Charter schools vs. public schools. I have seen a lot of parallel’s concerning the fight against the common core and teachers rights. Acupuncturist can learn a lot from this group.

  2. I was in a small city but it seemed to me that they had more support from there organizations. They were more well known and explored by the general public in that particular area. I did health farers and lunch and learns but it did not seem to matter very much. It had nothing specifically to do with them but more to do with that acupuncture portrayed a vision to some born agains has voodoo doctors. It was a strange little city. I guess you had to experience it but you may have an idea of what I am talking about. I will do a little research on CSA. I have been out of the loop since I started OT school. Thanks.

    • Okay, so perhaps we could say that the PT’s and Chiros in NC have done a better job of marketing and outreach regarding their services than the acupuncture community. The problem is less with what those other professions can do than with what the acupuncture profession hasn’t done, imo.

  3. I agree but I guess we will see what happens. Hopefully, things will not get worse. I know the association in NC has worked very hard and come such a long way from where they started. They are one of those states behind the eight ball because PT’s and Chiropractors can perform acupuncture. I was surprised to see that they are trying to include the AAAOM after everything that has happened? Who exactly is the CSA and where did they come from?

    • If you read the letter you will see the history of the CSA. I believe they are doing their best to unify the profession and are giving the AAAOM a great opportunity. We’ll know soon whether the AAAOM will want to be included. It is hard to imagine things getting worse.

      Why do you say NC is behind the eight ball because of PT’s and Chiropractors? How does that impact what LAcs do?

  4. Hi Elaine & Everyone,

    I just received this email from my old association NCAAOM. Did you hear anything about this? What do you think? I believe it will take a long time to implement.

    Dear Members:

    Over this past week we had the honor of participating in an astounding process that we believe will dramatically improve the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States. Nineteen states, represented by experienced association leaders, met in person in Columbia, Maryland. With the unanimous consensus of those present, those states crafted a vision for a highly representative, highly accountable, impressively integrated professional association structure. We were assisted in this by one of the top non-profit association lawyers in the country, ensuring that the vision was both legal and achievable. Together, we believe we have a vision that can improve both your bottom-line while promoting the profession legislatively and in the public eye more effectively than we have seen to date.

    I. Background

    First, some history on what the CSA is and how it has evolved over the past eight years. The CSA began as an informal networking group of state association presidents that met during annual AOM conferences. The presidents would explore issues facing their states and offer support and solutions to one another. This evolved into a more formally structured meeting referred to as the President’s Council (PC).

    Eventually, as additional state leaders began to join in, the PC expanded to include non-president representatives. It ultimately developed a charter, bylaws, code of conduct, and a new name: the Council of State Associations (CSA). The CSA has grown to be a collaboration among 37 state associations, representing the most inclusive umbrella yet achieved in our profession.

    The model we are now proposing represents the result of at least 3 years of “beta-testing” done through the work of the CSA. Thus far, this structure has been one of the most highly functional, collaborative, and representative models our profession has seen. The group holds as its highest vision a cooperative professional environment that empowers the practitioner, represents this medicine in all its rich and historic diversity, and continues to work towards unity in our profession.

    II. The Challenge

    Until now, our national professional association has always been in competition with the state associations for both membership and dollars. This inherent conflict works against us in our efforts to unify our voices. At a time when many practitioners struggle to make a living, expecting them to join two separate groups divides resources and dilutes our numbers. Success in bringing positive governmental change for our profession and acquiring membership benefits is dependent on “strength in numbers”.

    Furthermore, without a developed mechanism for understanding the subtle differences of challenges faced within each state, we cannot coordinate our legislative agendas and have not been able to integrate efforts towards national legislation. We also have had difficulty in vetting our leaders, and ensuring that member voices make their way up to the leadership to influence policy development and decision-making on behalf of the profession.

    III. The Vision – A Unified Structure

    1. Members join one organization, via their state group(s), and simultaneously gain membership in the national association.

    2. State association members elect their own board of directors, and those boards select two representatives to sit on a national governance council. Through this council, each state has an equal opportunity to express its needs in a federation, senate-style environment. States can share expertise, experience, and information. This shared information leads to a more informed, cohesive group to gauge and determine direction for the professional members. They also remain completely autonomous in crafting and implementing policy within their own state.

    3. The senate-style council forms national policy, informed by the ‘on-the-ground’ realities expressed by members in each state. This council would elect an executive board to coordinate representation of the profession at the national and international levels. It would also carry out the core fiduciary duties of the larger association. The senate-style group would vet candidates for these positions, ensuring that those who step up are able and committed to the job.

    IV. Benefits and Aims of this Model

    If current leaders and membership are amenable, this model can be integrated into the existing framework of AAAOM. This option fully eliminates the competition already in existence between the professional associations. Its success, however, depends on a high level of professionalism and vision from all in current leadership.

    Decision making on policies and activities are far more connected to the individual practitioner than existing models, allowing states to voice the realities their practitioners face more effectively. All practitioners are encouraged and supported to thrive in a practice model and tradition that resonates most with them.

    Competition for membership dollars between national and state associations is eliminated.

    Expertise is shared to support states in operational management, licensing issues, policy development, and legislative efforts.

    The profession is more effectively promoted to the general public nationally, as we all share in coordinated public education efforts.

    Legislation at the federal level is coordinated and more likely to succeed in representing greater majorities of practitioners.

    The board of directors has greater accountability with this senate-style council than existing structures require. This means more accountability to state boards, and hence more accountability to the state association members. This will help avoid non-representative leadership.

    NCCAOM, CCAOM, and ACAOM are invited to have permanent, non-voting guest seats on the council in an advisory position. This dramatically improves the flow of information from these critical groups to and from the practitioner on the ground.

    The collaborative structure helps to develop leaders for the profession, improving talent retention and maturation of future visionaries.

    V. Actions Requested & Discussion

    This vision was presented by the CSA Chair and Vice-Chair at the AOM Leaders meeting also hosted in Columbia, Maryland by CCAOM on March 21.

    For this vision to be implemented with trust and accountability, the CSA has asked for a definitive commitment from existing AAAOM board members to share in it. The commitment would necessitate a temporary, complete turnover of leadership in both organizations. The new board would be repopulated by leaders ultimately nominated via the council nominating group. The decision required on the part of current AAAOM board members is significant, and we have been in frequent contact with their leadership to clarify questions and concerns through this process. If the current AAAOM board is not interested in this structural transformation, the CSA will move forward independently to fulfill the vision described above.

    State association leaders remain your best source of accurate information regarding this challenging but exciting opportunity facing our profession, and we welcome direct questions, comments, or concerns.

    We will keep you updated as we identify steps and timelines necessary for implementation of this vision. We have asked the AAAOM Board for a partnership commitment within ten days of our meeting. While this appears short, it actually represents an extension of a 3-to-5 year process of collaboration, and many months of preliminary emails and other communications.

    This is a time of substantial hope for our profession. We always seek and welcome constructive comments and participation from our members. We are so proud of the work that has been done, and hope it serves you well.

    Thank you for your membership,

    Jeremy Linquist
    NCAAOM President

    C. Daerr Reid
    NCAAOM Political Advisor

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    • I’m pretty sure all of the involved state associations sent this out yesterday. I know it went out in Virginia and Illinois. I think the CSA folks are on the right track and that this is the best direction to go in at this time. That being said, a lot will need to happen in some states where there is no established or functional professional association or where there are several assns. in conflict. I’ll feel much better about it if it isn’t associated with the AAAOM — I feel there are too many liabilities with that group, and too few benefits. (Speaking of which, despite the AT reports of his resignation, looks like Michael Jabbour is still President of the AAAOM.)

      Of course, I think plenty of state associations are making mistakes in their focuses and actions, so unless the new group is open to better strategic analysis and planning it could just be a better way to make the same mistakes….

  5. Elaine,

    All I can say is Wow!! about that article. I would be so humiliated if I were the person they were talking about. Wouldn’t you think that would finally make someone look at themselves and want to change? What does that say about this younger generation? Pretty scary. Well, I hope this opens eyes and allows acupuncturists to get their heads out of the sand. Daerr Reid is now in North Carolina working with the NCCAOM. It is a good association and the people are committed to helping the profession. I just don’t know how far they can get since PT’s and Chiropractors can perform acupuncture in the state. They have a up-hill battle but they are all good people. They work very hard.

  6. Hey Elaine,

    Just got the Acupuncture Today magazine. Did you volunteer or were you on the board for AAAOM? Is that you that they are talking about? I didn’t realize you did that. I know D. Reid. I worked with her when I was on the NCCAOM board. She was great!!! She knows how to pull things together. That new article is pretty damming for the AAAOM. They sound like they are going no where fast. It is really sad when you read stuff like that. It makes us all look really bad. I hope they just go away and fade into the wood work where they belong. Well, I am learning a lot in OT school and I like it so that’s good. Hope things are going well with everyone else.

    • Susan,

      I was on the Board for a short time. Yes, I am the Elaine in the article. Daerr came in after I left — I don’t know her. The AAAOM certainly had a lot of great people willing to step up and work for the profession — people who had successes elsewhere — but the AAAOM is a parallel universe. The AT article painted a pretty good picture of the craziness. It doesn’t matter how small their membership is, or what feedback they get from former members, they’ll still insist they are doing almost everything right.

      I’m glad things are going well for you in OT school. Good luck!

  7. Nice summation of the obstacles facing the profession Elaine. The best defense against such challenges is to turn our practitioners into successful business people as soon as possible and the business model POCA offers is the best and most reliable so far.
    There is another point to consider, seeing as though everyone in the country is now falling in love with acupuncture as if it was a cute little puppy, it only stands to reason that every profession would like to claim it as their own.
    It is interesting to note that Acupuncture Today has become the standard bearer for the attack on the AAAOM. You might know that this publication is owned by members of the Chiropractic community which is another profession that wants a piece of us. I question their motives. One can only imagine what the AAAOM would have been like if they had rejected the schools as a suitor and spent their time actually promoting the practices of their rank and file members instead.

    • Thanks, Frank.

      I think the AT motivation is complex. There is a connection, though still somewhat unclear to me, between AAC and AT. Perhaps it is as simple as Marilyn Allen working for both groups, perhaps not. The AAC gave quite a bit of money to help “unify” the Alliance and the AAOM, and subsequently gave additional money to the AAAOM. I suspect the AAC does not feel its money has been well spent. While I am aware of the MPA Media connection to the Chiropractic profession I’ve suspected increased insurance involvement = increased malpractice coverage is of interest to the AAC and part of the equation as well. Certainly the issues within the AAOM/AAAOM have been going on for a long time — AT has certainly waited long enough to do some investigative reporting….

      I’ve always found it interesting that we are irate when our medicine isn’t respected by the establishment, but also irate when it is so respected and accepted that others wish to use it.

      • Let me add that when we have states with tiny numbers of LAcs (about 25 in Delaware, 80 in Nevada, 85 in Utah, etc.) limiting the use of the acupuncture needle to LAcs would mean that many people would go without any treatment. It is especially disturbing when it is LAcs within the state(as in Nevada and Delaware) working to keep additional LAcs out.

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