I went down the Facebook rabbit-hole, and while I was there I learned a few things.
For instance, “just a quick look” and “I’ll just scan my notifications” can quickly lead to a month without a blog post. I will not let that happen again.
Also, based on posts about HIPAA, insurance billing, choosing office space, maintaining records, etc., we have a lot of questions and we are looking for answers. It’s great that we’ve got communities of colleagues to ask. It is also inefficient, and sometimes downright dangerous that our colleagues are often the only source of answers.
Looking at HIPAA and ADA for example, we see that some professions (but not acupuncturists) have access to lots of resources from their national associations.
- a search of the AAAOM site gets one, not very useful hit, regarding HIPAA-related responsibilities.
- Here’s information from the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) site on HIPAA.
- Here are the search results for HIPAA over at the American Chiropractic Association.
- I can find no information on the AAAOM site about acupuncture offices and ADA compliance.
- APTA provides these useful links about ADA compliance.
- The American Psychological Association has great information about ADA compliance.
While acupuncture organizations are working on national legislation, increasing insurance coverage for acupuncture, adding an entry level degree, and fighting with other professions to limit the use of the acupuncture needle, we search for authoritative assistance on current practice issues in vain. (Luckily, the links above are pertinent to our practices.)
To make matters worse, sometimes it seems that we prefer ignorance. In my time on Facebook I was reprimanded for self-promotion when I shared useful links to this blog, and I was threatened with banishment from Acupuncturists on Facebook because I “acted like [I] know it all.” (I don’t know it all. I do know a few things.)
When many of us don’t understand or comply with our obligations under the ADA and HIPAA, are we ready to be a part of the Medicare system or have acupuncture be an EHB? Isn’t accurate information about ADA compliance an important part of our stated goal of having acupuncture accessible to all? It’s past time for our schools and organizations to make sure we have the skills, knowledge, resources and information to be successful practitioners now. The FPD, Medicare inclusion, higher standards, and expanding our scope/suing our competitors should wait.