I don’t know whether I am a leader. I do know that there is a big difference between being a leader and being a cheerleader. I care too much about my profession and the medicine of acupuncture to blindly cheer it on. I speak up because I care.
I assumed when you asked me about a career in acupuncture that you wanted the honest feedback of one who has seen it from the inside. The field does have challenges: the education is expensive; the schools do not do an equally good job of teaching the medicine or preparing graduates for business success; there is no reliable way to know which programs are doing a good job; rules and regulations vary so that your education may only provide you limited opportunity; you will likely begin practice as a self-employed individual starting a business from the ground up, and so on. I did not say it was the most expensive or most difficult profession, and, as I did say, I love acupuncture and am happy to be an acupuncturist. It was not my intention to “actively discourage” you, but to help you enter with eyes wide open.
My concerns about Medicare are varied, but overwhelmed acupuncturists is not one of them. In the 2010 AA letter you found I was pointing out that the cost savings of Medicare inclusion being promoted by the profession could not be realized through the efforts of LAc’s alone. There were not enough acupuncturists, especially LAc’s interested in participating in Medicare, and those individuals were not geographically distributed such that they could create the savings being touted. For much of the profession the thought of non-LAcs doing acupuncture is Anathema and interfering with the ability of other health care professionals to use our techniques continues to be a major focus of political involvement and spending. It is reasonable to point out to the profession that the Medicare push may undermine efforts to maintain a monopoly of the medicine. Your accusation that I am personally driven by a fear of competition could not be further from the truth. I have repeatedly urged my colleagues to drop their monopolistic mind-set and focus on self-improvement and promotion.
I am sorry that my response upset you.
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