I would buy you all a boat.
I would —
- Compile and make available a list of the specific requirements necessary to obtain an acupuncture license in each state, making sure to highlight current and oncoming obstacles. (For example, as of October 1, 2014, Florida will require passage of the NCCAOM Oriental Medicine Module for licensure. Although the Florida rules will continue to show that those enrolled in school prior to August 1, 2007 need complete only a two-year course of study which does not need to include herbs, the new examination requirement means that no one with only the two-year education will be able to obtain a Florida license.)
- Compile data on the professional success of acupuncture graduates of every US school. The data would be available to all.
- Explore why those who aren’t practicing have left the profession and whether there are different rates of success among graduates of different schools. If there is a difference in graduate success, are there factors common to the more successful schools?
- Gather data on the safety record of acupuncturists in various states. Does it matter if the state requires NCCAOM exams or credentials? In acupuncture? In herbs? If the states require graduation from ACAOM schools?
- Use the data to identify the lowest common denominator. Identify the least restrictive education/credentialing necessary to ensure public safety and prepare practitioners for success.
- Show how uniform and non-burdensome state standards are a critical step in providing acupuncture to the 313.9 million people in the US. Build consensus for reasonable minimum standards, and work for their adoption in all states.
- Establish a team of public policy professionals with expertise in regulation and legislation to help develop a set of attainable and effective strategic initiatives.
Where would I get my 3 million dollars? Not by yet another “now is the time, we must submit legislation that mandates access to the federal healthcare system” fundraising effort. We’ve heard this before. We should know by now that submitting legislation is guaranteed to suck up resources, it is passing laws that can make a difference – if we’re prepared for the consequences of success.
Please, respond to the AAAOM’s call for comments by August 31st. With, at best, 30,000 acupuncturists available to 313.9 million people, is submitting legislation which has a snowball’s chance in hell of passage really the best use of 3 million dollars?
And, if you really want to do something that will improve access, ten minutes and two stamps will do it – here’s how.