A few folks asked me to post after the Town Hall, so here goes —
Sorry to say I missed the beginning of the call — the instructions to join were not easily available or straightforward. At the peak, there were about 70 participants.
Bottom line, the AAAOM lacks the level of expertise they need before moving this legislation forward. The AAAOM does not have an idea of how many LAcs are likely to opt in, didn’t have the correct history of why the Chiropractors do not have the opt-out clause (and seemed to believe they currently can opt-out), didn’t realize that becoming part of the system would limit the amount non-participating providers could bill Medicare clients (a participant provided correct information), wasn’t clear that other providers would be able to bill for acupuncture if it becomes a covered service, hadn’t considered the impact on the practices of practitioners opting out, etc. The information about enrolling, opting in or out, participating or non-participating was still unclear.
A caller suggested it is premature to ask practitioners whether they’ll be likely to opt in — there are too many unknowns. I understand, but don’t we need some idea before we spend millions moving forward with the legislation? A few callers seemed confused about the difference between acupuncture as an EHB and the proposed legislation. Others seemed to think the legislation had already been introduced.
The bill writer/lobbyist wasn’t willing to make predictions, but I’ll go out on a limb. The AAAOM says they need about $1,000,000/year to move this legislation forward and the fundraising remains at around $25,000. According to the lobbyist she’s only been contracted for a month. The current Congress (113th) ends January 3rd, 2015. I say there is a 0% chance any of these bills will pass in the next year.
Would the AAAOM please focus their efforts on things that could help all practitioners now? In an ideal world they could work on both long term and short term projects, but this isn’t an ideal world. Without evidence that a significant majority of the profession intends to participate, why oh why is this legislative effort their only focus?
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I did.