Dear NHAAMA Members,
The NHAAMA board has spent numerous hours over the past three days gathering information and deliberating the revised stay at home order per the Governor. Despite our efforts we have not been able to obtain clear guidance and are being directed to the reopening Task Force. As you know, the NHAAMA has already sent letters to all of these members and various others with no avail. We have drafted a new letter from the board following Fridays announcements that will be sent again.
We know that many of us are frustrated by the lack of a rational explanation as to why barbers, hairdressers, and retail stores have been given a date to open, and we have not. We believe that this is likely due to an oversight by the Task force who admittedly have a very large task before them. For these reasons we have come to the conclusion that our best way forward at this point is a call to action from members of the NHAAMA, fellow New Hampshire Acupuncturists and our patients.
Due to the changing recommendations and the lack of inclusion of Acupuncturists in the re-opening plan despite the boards efforts we would like to enlist your help in these ways.
Health Care is considered an “Immediate Priority Sector” for the reopening Task Force and it is important that we are heard now to be included in the next phase of reopening.
These are the suggestions of the NHAAMA at this time:
1.) Email the Task Force using the document below we have prepared for members, or your own at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2.) Email individual task force members
Task force members:
- Taylor Caswell, Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs: mail@BIAofNH.com.
- Kevin Cavanaugh, New Hampshire State Senator: Kevin.Cavanaugh@leg.state.nh.us.
- Shannon Chandley, New Hampshire State Senator: Shannon.Chandley.NH@aol.com
- Sharon Carson, New Hampshire State Senator: Sharon.Carson@leg.state.nh.us
- Bob Giuda, New Hampshire State Senator: email@example.com.
- Ed Butler, New Hampshire State Representative: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bill Marsh, New Hampshire State Representative: William.Marsh@leg.state.nh.us
- Tim Lang, New Hampshire State Representative: email@example.com
- Jeffrey Salloway, New Hampshire State Representative: firstname.lastname@example.org
2.) Ask patients/social media contacts to email the Task Force
and state the importance of Acupuncturists in their individual health email@example.com
Email individual task force members (see list above)
3.) Call the Task Force at 1-800-356-8278 or 1-857-444-0744 Pin: 194499 or 600744. Contact the task force during the public meeting times available here:
https://www.nheconomy.com/reopeningtaskforce, daily agenda is on the website.
4.) Ask patients/social media contacts to call the Task Force and state the importance of Acupuncturists in their individual health at 1-800-356-8278 or 1-857-444-0744 Pin: 194499 or 600744.
5.) At this point the NHAAMA has not started a petition to the Governor, but we are in support of that effort as well. The board is seeking a member to spearhead the effort to create an online petition. Anyone interested in filling this role is encouraged to respond to the board as soon as possible. Anyone interested in starting a petition please do so with the support of the members and board.
The NHAAMA will be contacting the DHHS with Guidelines for reopening put forth by the CCAOM, and our plan for re-opening. We encourage you to review the CCAOM guidelines here:
We encourage you to prepare your practice to ensure you can adhere to these standards if you wish to reopen your practice. Additionally we hope all New Hampshire Acupuncturists listen to the upcoming ASA Town Hall meeting May 6th at 8pm. Register here: https://www.asacu.org/2020/05/may-6th-weekly-asa-nccaom-town-hall-meeting/This will be focused on Plans for Reopening.
We will work hard to keep updates coming as they arrive. Pamela Bys will also be preparing a webinar on additional reopening strategies to review at a further date.
The NHAAMA Board
Adam Learner <firstname.lastname@example.org>,President
Pamela Bys <email@example.com>, Vice President
Molly Gendreau <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Treasurer
Lindsey Sisson <email@example.com>, Secretary
Amy O’Dell Wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Member at Large
Drafted letter for Members and Patients:
During this unprecedented time of economic closure, the NH Acupuncture and Asian Medicine Association board would like to call to attention the “Non-essential” status of Acupuncturists in the state of New Hampshire.
NH state-licensed acupuncturists are licensed in the Division of Health Professions within the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification and identified as “other Medical Professionals and Health Care Providers under North American Industry Codes (NAICS) code 621399. Within Exec. order 17 Exhibit A various Medical Professionals and healthcare providers, e.g., physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, social workers, speech pathologists and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians and technologists, other providers of mental and behavioral health care, personal care attendants, home health aides and home care workers, are deemed essential. Acupuncturists have not been included within this executive order and has not been addressed since.
Acupuncturists treat patients with a wide range of disease states. The World Health Organization currently recognizes 28 “Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials to be an effective treatment.” In addition, there are over 80 diseases, symptoms or conditions with various levels of research that are currently under investigation for efficacy.
Many State and Federal groups have recognized Acupuncture’s role as a front line treatment for various health issues. On 1/21/2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a decision to cover acupuncture for Medicare patients with chronic low back pain. The Veterans Administration has been providing and funding acupuncture treatment for veterans for several years now. Many veterans, in addition to our other patients, regularly use acupuncture as an essential non-opioid treatment for a variety of chronic pain conditions. In New Hampshire Senate Bill 708, which just passed in the Senate and will hopefully soon be taken up in the house, recognizes the importance of acupuncture as a non-opioid treatment for pain, and will establish insurance coverage for acupuncture treatment of pain in New Hampshire.
Acupuncture has been recognized as a valuable tool in addressing the ongoing opioid crisis. In 2019, the Dept. of Health and Human Services Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force released a report detailing gaps in care for the 50 million adults in the US who are affected by chronic pain. Acupuncture was specifically cited in this report as a modality to address these concerns. Not only is acupuncture an effective alternative to opioid medications, but it is also implicated for those recovering from opioid addiction. In 2017, the State of New Hampshire passed HB575 to allow trained healthcare providers and recovery coaches under the supervision of licensed acupuncturists to administer a 5 point acupuncture treatment to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. Treatment options for these conditions are currently very limited. Despite the ongoing pandemic, for many in New Hampshire, the battle with opioid addiction is still a daily struggle. We feel strongly that limiting access to legitimate non-opioid pain treatment even during the pandemic is short-sighted.
Acupuncturists regularly treat a variety of conditions in addition to chronic pain and opioid withdrawal. Stress management, mental health conditions, and symptoms relating to traumatic brain injury and PTSD are common focuses on our practice. Many of these conditions have already started to affect our frontline health care and service workers in NH. During this time, it is imperative to use all our resources to support the citizens of New Hampshire, and the research shows that acupuncture is an effective and cost-efficient modality to do that.
It is the position of the NH Acupuncture and Asian Medicine Association (NHAAMA) that NH Licensed Acupuncturist are medical professionals in the eyes of the NH state legislation, can serve a critical allied health role in the response to COVID 19 both to the wellbeing of their patients and the well being of current frontline workers, and should be aligned with other non hospital sector medical professionals and healthcare providers in the plan to reopen NH.
It is my hope that Acupuncturists are able to offer our valuable services that citizens will need now, and going forward. Thank you for your time.