Making a Difference, in ten steps.

  1. Write a letter to the Delaware Acupuncture Advisory Council, and mail it by this Friday, August 23rd. Here is a new, improved template!  Do this now! (Please cc Gayle MacAfee at the board and send a copy to Thanks!)
  2. Share this post on facebook.
  3. Tune in. Subscribing to this blog is a good start but I can’t keep track of everything. Check in at websites for the AAAOM, NCCAOM, ACAOM, your state association, POCA, etc.  A few current issues (which I’ll be posting more about soon) — AAAOM is calling for public comment by August 31st on draft legislation, NCCAOM wants public comment on proposed changes by September 30th, ASVA (Acupuncture Society of Virginia) is having a town hall October 19th to discuss possible changes to scope, and the IHPC wants us to stay involved regarding implementation of section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act. Any one of these issues could impact your ability to practice.
  4. Question Authority. Is X really the biggest problem facing the profession? Is the public better off in a state that requires the OM certification rather than the AC certification? Is an independent board better for acupuncturists? Will an FPD degree lead to greater respect? Does scope mean what you think?
  5. Know the system. For example, boards can only regulate their own licensees. And the executive branch doesn’t determine what Medicare covers, regardless of how many signatures are on a petition.
  6. Avoid us/them thinking. In Our Worst Enemy I wrote about the practitioners in focused on increasing standards as a “them.” That was a mistake.
  7. Remember, we are all in this together. What happens in another state or a change that seems to impact only new students or new licensees might end up affecting you in unforeseen ways.
  8. Assume good intentions. Assuming bad intentions (the PT’s want to do dry needling to make money, for example) doesn’t lead to productive dialogue.
  9. Be consistent. Do we support the right of people to choose their healthcare provider? Are herbs safe? Is acupuncture safe? When we change our answers to these questions based on the circumstances we create a negative impression.
  10. Learn from history. Has participation in  health insurance been good or bad for healthcare? For providers? Has a standardized system of Chinese Medicine led to greater effectiveness?

In the short run it is easier to ignore the big issues, to figure you’ll be okay, or to decide you can’t really make a difference. Staying involved takes time and energy you’d rather use to see clients or spend time with your family or learn that new technique. Do it anyway. Tune in, question, participate. The future you save may be your own.


Copyright —

© 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.

5 thoughts on “Making a Difference, in ten steps.

  1. A couple of clarifications —

    1) I suggest mailing the CC in a separate envelope.
    2) The reason I am suggesting such specific action at this time is that the Council is about to make their formal recommendation to the BOM regarding these two practitioners, and, the Council can’t change the law. I certainly hope that the overarching problems in the legislation can be corrected in the not too distant future, and am going to work to make that happen.
    3) If you don’t feel comfortable mentioning these two practitioners by name I think it would be very appropriate to write telling the Council that they should grant waivers in all cases where the applicants can show 5 years of safe practice (or whatever specific guideline you think they should follow).

  2. Agreed: we’re all in this together and the more people who participate, the better.

    And actually, participation doesn’t have to take too much time if working with similarly-minded people, and it challenges one’s ability to be flexible in response to needs as they arise.

    • As I study the varying state laws and regs, I can’t miss how detrimental the differences are to our professional success. Our tendency to leave it to each state – due, I think, to both respect for the practitioners within the state, and also our own limits on time and energy – has really limited the availability of LAcs in some states, and our choices about where to live and practice. This will become a bigger issue if things like the Medicare and VA legislation the AAAOM is working on ever make it into law. How will we serve all these new patients?

  3. There is a Northeast Regional POCA meeting this Saturday, and I am considering bringing copies of the template letter for punks to sign. You are asking us to do this by Friday. I just dropped my letter in the mail, and another one for a co-worker.

    Will it be pointless if a bunch of letters are sent out on Monday?


    • Thanks so much, that is great. If letters are in the mail by Monday that should work. Thanks again.

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