WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced a bill to increase access to acupuncture in our healthcare system, the Acupuncture for Seniors Act. The Acupuncture for Seniors Act ensures that licensed acupuncturists can participate as providers in Medicare so that seniors have another effective treatment option available to them.
“Everyone deserves the ability to take control of their own healthcare, and that should include access to traditional Asian medicine, which has been proven successful at treating a range of health problems for thousands of years,” said Rep. Chu. “And as Americans deal with a chronic pain and opioid epidemic, support for acupuncture as a safe alternative has been increasing over the years. The Affordable Care Act helped to increase access by allowing states to cover acupuncture in plans on state health exchanges, but we must do more. It is my goal to make this treatment available to all Americans, which is why I introduced this bill to help seniors in our Medicare program access acupuncture. Medicare has already acknowledged the value of acupuncture by issuing a National Coverage Determination for chronic lower back pain, but licensed acupuncturists are still prohibited from being Medicare providers. For that, you need an act of Congress, which is exactly what my bill does. This bill will help connect more Americans to the care they need, and ensures we are giving our seniors access to all available treatment options for conditions like chronic pain.”
“This bill solves critical access problems for America’s seniors and Medicare recipients as they seek safe, non-pharmacologic options for pain and improved health,” said American Society of Acupuncturists Chair Olivia Hsu Friedman. “We thank Representative Judy Chu and all those who helped craft this visionary, yet common-sense legislation. It will improve healthcare in the United States, decrease health care costs, and is a meaningful step towards solving America’s opioid crisis.”
“Congresswoman Chu’s bill will play a pivotal role in increasing access to citizens suffering from a host of syndromes that can benefit from acupuncture as a cost-effective, non-addictive treatment option while also increasing the coverage of the largest, most well-trained practitioners of acupuncture in the US,” said Dr. Kallie Guimond, OM.D, MPH, Founder of AcuCongress.
“CSOMA, California’s oldest state acupuncture professional association, is excited to support Congresswoman Chu’s efforts with the Acupuncture for Seniors Act,” said Dr. Nell Smircina, CSOMA President. “Because CSOMA is uniquely focused on advancing acupuncture medicine into the national healthcare delivery system, this bill is in alignment with the vision, hopes and goals of our diverse membership of acupuncture practitioners, students, schools and allied corporations.”
“The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is pleased to support the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act, which would enable qualified acupuncturist to provide covered services to Medicare beneficiaries,” said Mina Larson, NCCAOM CEO. “The NCCAOM applauds U.S. Representative Judy Chu for her leadership on this effort and looks forward to seeing the profession continue to advance, expand, and thrive as measures such as the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act help increase access to qualified acupuncturists.”
“Acupuncture has been approved very effectively to treat many medical conditions,” said Dr. Haihe Tian, president of American TCM Association(ATCMA) and TCM American Alumni Association (TCMAAA). “We thank a lot to Rep. Judy Chu’s care for the senior citizens. She has been trying so hard to have this benefit to be available for them. I do believe they will be very excited to see it comes to true. We, as acupuncture professional organization, strongly support this bill and wish it can be passed as soon as possible , so the people can enjoy the benefits earlier. We also appreciate it what Rep. Chu and her team’s hard work and effort.”