SF College Launches Letter Campaign to Have Acupuncture Added to Affordable Health Care Act Essential Services

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The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco is asking the public to write to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and ask that acupuncture be added to the list of essential health benefits covered under the Affordable Health Care Act immediately—as the deadline for public comment is January 31, 2012.

acupuncture school

The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francsico

This is an opportunity for us to make access to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment universal, so that more can benefit from its well-documented benefits

Until the end of January, 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is accepting public comment regarding its approach to establishing essential health benefits (EHB) that will be covered under the new health care system being developed as a result of the Affordable Health Care Act. The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) is asking members of the public to show their support for making acupuncture an EHB by sending an email to HHS.

A strong public show of public support for acupuncture as an essential health benefit will draw the attention of policymakers and set the stage for further federal acupuncture initiatives. Alissa Cohan, Director of Communications at ACTCM says the easiest way to voice support is by sending email to EssentialHealthBenefits(at)cms(dot)hhs(dot)gov—and be sure to include name and address.

“Americans are increasingly finding optimal health care is not in Western medicine or Eastern medicine—but in integrative medicine with treatments that draw from the best of both traditional and contemporary ideas and treatments,” said Cohan. “This is an opportunity for us to make access to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment universal, so that more can benefit from its well-documented benefits.”

Cohan says that personal messages are much more effective than chain messages, and provides tips for what to write. They include:

1.    Name
2.    Address
3.    Main point: acupuncture should be designated as an essential health benefit
4.    Brief description of how you or a loved one has benefited from acupuncture

TCM restores internal balance and health, and effectively treats a wide range of illnesses and chronic pain. Increasing numbers of people are turning to acupuncture to cure insomnia, back pain and thoracic pain, neurological disorders, anxiety, fertility issues, allergy relief, weight loss, addiction and substance use, sports performance enhancement, immune support, and general health maintenance.

In 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, a health insurance reform law intended to ensure every American has access to affordable, quality health insurance. Starting in 2014, most health plans will be required to offer a comprehensive package of items and services to patients. Under the new law services like emergency, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, and many preventive and wellness services will be covered in these health plans.

“The public comment period is coming to an end soon, so we are asking people who have benefited from holistic health care to act right now,” said Cohan. “The college and many other organizations are available to help you deliver your message, if needed.”

For more information and a sample letter, please visit the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) website: csomaonline.org/ehb.

About the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM)
The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has been at the forefront of educating students in Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Bay Area since its inception in 1980. The college offers two degree programs—the Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) and the Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). Both programs provide exceptional professional education.

Those who receive treatment are informed that sterile, disposable needles will be used. Because the needles are thin, solid and pliable, most people feel little to no discomfort. Patients typically feel energized and relaxed, and are given a recommended course of treatment and self-care based on a specific TCM diagnosis.

For more information about the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), call Alissa Cohan at (415) 355-1601 x 12.

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