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NATIONAL NEWS

California is proposing to drop Acupuncture services as an essential benefit from its Medi-Cal Program.  For anyone thinking that FSOMA is crying wolf when the association forecasts doomed scenarios for the profession, this should be a wake-up call and illustrate the gravity of the challenges facing access to acupuncture services nationwide and WHY it is imperative that Acupuncture Physicians in Florida actively engage in helping educate lawmakers about Acupuncturists’ role in statewide patient care.  

This year FSOMA is re-introducing a bill in the Florida legislature to strengthen and protect patients’ access to our services and patients’ access to the full scope of Acupuncture Physicians training, knowledge, skills, and abilities.  This is in the best interests of both patients and licensed members of the profession. 

Everyone within the profession needs to pay attention, act responsible, and take action to help ensure the Acupuncture bill passes and becomes law in Florida.  FSOMA has been sharing instructions on how stakeholders including students, faculty, administrators, licensees, patients, and the public can act together sharing simple, solid messaging about how meeting with their local State legislators can support patient access to Acupuncture and Eastern medicine services provided to millions of Floridians.  Acupuncture services treat and manage many common health concerns, which allows patients who choose this medicine to live more productive and pain free lives. 

See the notice below from California and CLICK HERE to learn how you can help prevent something like this from happening in Florida.

CSOMA Action Alert image

Dear CSOMA Community,

California State “Governor’s Proposed 2024-25 May Revision” cuts acupuncture as Medi-Cal Benefit, starting January 2025. This cut will stop the existing acupuncture services for millions of much needed Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and negatively impact the acupuncture profession in California.

Due to our short window to make any change, we are asking you to:

1. Find your local Senator and Assembly Member: https://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
2. Make a copy of this letter. Complete it with your information, and send it to your Assembly Member no later than 5/28/24. (This letter can be found at the end if you prefer to copy & paste from here.)
3. Share on social media, alumni groups, tell your teachers, patients and families to write and call their reps now. (Feel free to share/comment on our Instagram & Facebook posts.)

Background: When California implemented the Affordable Care Act in 2014, acupuncture was classified as an "Essential Health Benefit" which thus required private insurance and group policies to offer acupuncture benefits.

Removing acupuncture from state covered benefits in Medi-Cal goes directly against this policy, undermining low income access to acupuncture while otherwise mandating that private insurance holders have access.

This revision to Medi-Cal benefits is scheduled to be signed into law by Governor Newsom as early as mid-June.

CSOMA is working closely with other CA state associations under the unified umbrella of the "California Acupuncture Coalition - CAC" to address this urgent issue. CSOMA's Board of Directors, with the CAC, have contacted representatives from the following key committees: the Senate Standing Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Subcommittee 3 on Health and Human Services, and the CA Assembly Committee on Budget.

VA Auditors Discuss Improper Payments for Community Acupuncture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lcvHXAgpwQ
References
1.     VA Office of Audits and Evaluations. VHA Improperly Paid and Reauthorized Non-VA Acupuncture and Chiropractic Services. REPORT #20-01099-249. DECEMBER 8, 2021 https://www.oversight.gov/sites/default/files/oig-reports/VA/VAOIG-20-01099-249.pdf

2.     Affinity Acupuncture Agrees to Pay $250,000 to Resolve False Claims Act Allegationshttps://www.justice.gov/usao-mdtn/pr/affinity-acupuncture-agrees-pay-250000-resolve-false-claims-act-allegations

Here’s how your patients can help move HR4803 – Patient Testimonial Kit

 Inclusion in the Social Security statute is vital to the future of the acupuncture profession.
Contact NCCAOM Lobbyist Molly Ford to help you set up an online meeting, coach you on the talking points and accompany you.
YOU MAY LIVE IN A VITAL DISTRICT - Ask Molly today 

We Need Your help, NOW! Let’s secure 80 Million new patients and create jobs for the profession.

If we don't make this change, other people who don't have your extensive training, will be treating your patients,

Watch This Video

FSOMA's Legislation saw success with a unanimous House Health Regulation Subcommittee vote, 14-0, to approve the HB1405 as amended on February 5, 2023.  Unfortunately with no hearing by a Senate Committee, we expect to return next session to reintroduce our bill. 

Image for IHeart Radio Interview starts at 17:40

FSOMA has been on iHeart Radio in South Florida promoting our awesome medicine. 
Click Here and go to time 17:40 to listen. 

Cecelia "Cheech" HillWe are sad to announce the passing of Cecelia "Cheech" Hill in late 2023.  There has  been not official obituary posted as of yet.  

She was a very long time FSOMA member and you may know her from the FSOMA Conferences which she attended regularly.  Her smile and friendly warmth and delightful sense of humor will be missed.  

She had been licensed since 1999 and had a very successful practice in Port Charlotte, FL called Sand Hill Clinic.  She was active in the Charlotte Community as a member of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce and went through the Leadership Charlotte program.  She received a integrative oncology training at University of Tx MD Anderson Cancer Center and with the Advancement of Medical Thermology / Med-Hot Thermal Imaging Inc in Lakeland, Fl.  She was also affiliated with the Boca Grande Health Clinic Annex and the Gasparilla Inn Spa on Boca Grande, an exclusive private membership facility. 

Kathleen Leavy Honored in Gainesville
October 28, 2023, Declared Kathleen Leavy Day

Kathleen Leavy Day in Gainesville

On October 28, 2023, the Gainesville Alumni of Asian Medicine and the city of Gainesville, FL hosted the first annual alumni and awards ceremony. The Gainesville Alumni of Asian medicine is a group started by Dr. K.A. Shakoor, DAOM1 and Matthew Gammon2. It focuses on unifying practitioners of Asian medicine practicing in Gainesville, FL. The Gainesville Alumni of Asian Medicine is a local organization that is non-affiliated with either Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine (DRCOM) or Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (AFEA). It is both a social and professional group made up of practitioners of Asian medicine and includes acupuncture physicians, Ayurvedic Medical practitioners, students, and more. This year’s honoree for Gainesville Alumni of Asian Medicine’s alumni dinner and awards ceremony was Gainesville’s own, Kathleen Leavy, RN, AP, one of the co-founders of DRCOM and one of Florida’s leading practitioners of acupuncture and Asian medicine, Western medicine, and holistic medicine.....read more here

 

Kate Canfield RIPOctober 20, 2023
FSOMA has lost a member and the profession has lost another awesome practitioner.
Kate Canfield was a native of New Smyrna Beach, Fl and practiced acupuncture there for 17 years.  She was a graduate of the Florida College of Integrated Medicine.  Her clinic was named Health Point Acupuncture & Natural Medicine and she closed her business this past July due to illness. 
She passed away earlier this October.
A celebration of her life was held Oct 22 at Clancy's Cantina. 
Here is from Facebook - "It is with deep sadness that I have been asked by the Family of Kate Canfield to let everyone know that she peacefully passed away after a long fight with chronic Lyme Disease and ALS.

Kate devoted her life and gifts to the Healing Arts so we must be certain that she is now a Shining Light in the Firmament.  Here’s To Kate!

Old News, But a Reminder

WARNING LETTER from FDA to Hevert Pharmaceuticals LLC USAMARCS-CMS 594842 — JUNE 11, 2020
This letter is to advise you that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed your product labeling for your injectable products “Arnica,” “Calmvalera comp.,” “Gelsemium comp.,” “Hepar comp.,” and “Lymphaden comp.,” including your products’ labels and your website at hevert.com, from which these products can be ordered. Based on our review, these injectable products are unapproved new drugs under section 505 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. 355. Introducing or delivering these products for introduction into interstate commerce violates section 301 of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 331.

 

On  Nov 4, the CDC updated its

Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Pain
It is notable that acupuncture is recommended over 40 times, more than any other therapy

The Florida Acupuncture Practice Act was last updated in 1998. F.S. 457 and needs to be updated immediately to include definitions and language that protect Florida Acupuncturists’ scope of practice and professional titles. We need to raise $125,000 in funds to begin this work by Dec. 31, 2023, we must have it in hand BEFORE the next legislative session begins. 
If every licensed acupuncturist in Florida donates $57 to our Political Action Committee, we can immediately start the legal process to update and protect our profession in Florida.
Will you donate to protect our livelihood and ability to provide Asian medicine in Florida?
Ask your patients to donate. Give them this link.
Your financial support is crucial to this effort.  Donate here today and again every month until the job is finished and F.S. 457 is updated  Thank you for your support.
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Update 6/2/2023

Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed SB 230. 
The bill WILL NOT become law. 

Click here for is his official statement

Veto

Update  from May 24 2023

Dear Florida Acupuncturists: 

Here is a flyer to handout to your patients.
Senate Bill 230 has still not been delivered to Gov. DeSantis, but he is currently reviewing and signing other bills passed by the 2023 legislature.  When SB 230 is sent to the Governor, he will have 14 days to sign it.  When we receive notice that SB 230 has been delivered to Governor, FSOMA will update you.  Until then, please continue your email and calling efforts, include your patients, friends and family based in Florida.  Acupuncturists communications have been very effective so far.  FSOMA knows everyone is getting emotionally drained and tired of calling, but we need everyone to keep up the pace and pressure.

1.     Please continue to call and email daily and encourage others to do the same.  Call Mon-Fri – 8am-5pm as 850-488-7146 or 850-717-9337.  WHEN YOU CALL BE SURE TO ASK THE GOVERNOR TO VETO SB 230.  You do not have to give a reason, but you can provide a brief statement if you wish.   

If calling from your office or school, you can pass the phone for your staff, patients, of fellow students on the same call.  Each person will have to sate their name, and personal phone number and ask for the Governor to VETO SB 230.  FSOMA knows that it is difficult to get through, but please keep trying.  The busiest times are between 9am-10am and during lunch hours (12pm-1pm).

2.     Email Gov DeSantis ONE TIME at https://www.flgov.com/email-the-governor/ with the subject line VETO SB 230.  As a reminder, only one email per email address will be counted toward overall VETO request total, so if you have more than one emails address, please send a message to the Governor for each address to VETO SB 230.

SB 230 has NOT been reviewed yet.  We need to stay committed to calls and emails for VETO. 

Update May 22, 2023

APs, Students, Schools, Patients, Friends, Families, 
Emails to the governor are crucial.

No more talking points - just ask Governor DeSantis to veto SB230.
https://www.flgov.com/email-the-governor/
Send emails daily 

Update May 15, 2023

SB 230 Next Steps: SB 230 is currently with the State House of Representatives Managers waiting to be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office for his signature.  This is the final step needed to convert SB 230 into new statutory language under ss. 456. 

At this time, FSOMA is sharing an information sheet (documento en espanol) with you that includes sample email language and talking points for the Governor. 

All Acupuncturists are being asked to personally contact the Governor’s office to request his veto on SB 230; all willing patients should be doing the same. 

School Clinics should be sharing this information sheet with administrators, faculty, student interns, and every patient.  

INFO SHEET (PDF)  |  DOCUMENTO EN ESPANOL

To effectively call attention to an SB 230 VETO from Governor DeSantis, the Acupuncture profession needs to create 2,500 to 5,000 email and telephone contacts daily with the Governor’s office.   Every person licensed, studying, benefiting from, and receiving Acupuncture services needs to take 30 seconds to send an email or dial the Governor’s office every day for the next 14 days or until he announces that SB 230 will be vetoed/not be signed in 2023. 

Here are the talking points used in our letter to Governor DeSantis - feel free to use them

  1. SB 230 seeks to eliminate the use of and advertising with the professional title "Acupuncture physician" for more than 2,700 licensed practitioners. This title has been authorized and used in Florida for more than 30 years.  The bill’s sponsors and supporters have repeatedly stated that SB 230 is a consumer protection bill; but who is this bill actually protecting?  The title Acupuncture physician, like Medical physician and Chiropractic physician, is self-explanatory, and not misleading.  Moreover, no Floridian has ever claimed being deceived into taking treatment with an Acupuncturist because the provider advertised or lied about being a medical doctor.
  2. Florida statutes already prohibit and penalize the use of misleading, deceptive, unlawful, and fraudulent business practices under Criminal Code FS 817.  Additionally, all health care practitioners, including Acupuncture physicians, are currently prohibited under 456.072: Grounds for discipline; penalties; and enforcement from making, “misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of the licensee’s profession;” and Acupuncture physicians are specifically prohibited under FS 457.109 Disciplinary actions; grounds; action by the board from engaging in “False, deceptive, or misleading advertising.”  
  3. Florida has existing and robust consumer protection laws, professional deterrents, and legal enforcement mechanisms needed to guarantee the public’s trust in healthcare practitioner use of professional titles and honesty in advertising.  FSOMA believes SB 230 offers no meaningful new consumer protections that are not already in place under current Florida law. SB 230, as written today, simply creates new financial and compliance burdens for small healthcare business owners, while undermining their credibility with healthcare colleagues and within their local communities.  
  4. Lastly, SB 230 creates more red tape, costs, and confusion around the use of health care professionals’ titles.  No examples or patterns of abuse of the public’s trust were identified or discussed in the Senate or House committees’ debate, nor was any example of public harm provided in the bill’s Legislative Analysis.  SB 230 is a solution in search of a problem. 

To effectively call attention to an SB 230 VETO from Governor DeSantis, the Acupuncture profession needs to create 2,500 to 5,000 email and telephone contacts daily with the Governor’s office.   Every person licensed, studying, benefiting from, and receiving Acupuncture services needs to take 30 seconds to send an email or dial the Governor’s office every day for the next 14 days or until he announces that SB 230 will be vetoed/not be signed in 2023. 

As a reminder, Gov. DeSantis should also be thanked for signing new legislation this year that requires K-12 education directed at teaching Asian American and Pacific Islander history, specifically their many contributions to American society.  There was bipartisan support for this legislation spearheaded by Mimi Chan, Director of the Orlando chapter of Make Us Visible Florida.  She is to be commended and congratulated. 

Talking Points to Keep in Mind:

  • SB 230 is headed to Gov. DeSantis’ Desk
  • Review the Info Sheet with QR code for Gov. DeSantis’ office  |  Documento en Espanol con codigo de QR para la Oficina del Governador DeSantis
  • All Acupuncturists, Students, Schools, and Patients need to email/call Gov. DeSantis’
  • Use the sample email and talking points on the Info Sheet  | Documento en Espanol
  • The Acupuncture industry NEEDS 2,500 – 5,000 daily emails/calls to Gov. DeSantis in the next 14 days
  • Be relentless! Get your patients and colleagues involved. A couple of calls will not be enough.
  • We need a tsunami of highly motivated professionals and patients speaking up and speaking out.
  • As always, you get more with a little sugar - Be Clear, but Be Kind.
  • Thank Gov. DeSantis for signing HB 1537 Requiring AAPI education in Florida K-12.

Update May 5, 2023

Yesterday, SB 230 passed in the Florida State House.   The Senate version of this bill eliminated the amendment that included Optometrists’ physician title.  Rep. Woodson introduced an amendment to include Acupuncture physician titles under the House version of this bill last month, but a vote in the House HHS Committee failed having only achieved a 9-9 tie. 

FSOMA will get a legal opinion or Declaratory Statement from the BOA before this new law takes effect to provide final guidance for the membership and profession regarding any changes, which will effect use of professional titles and advertising practices for Florida Acupuncturists.  For full details about yesterday’s vote in the Florida House:

SB230 passed in the Florida House yesterday…78/34.  The final version rescinded the amendment that included Optometrists and did not have a specific exemption for Acupuncturists.  See vote details here

Click here to Start viewing the video of the discussion of the bill.

  • Go to 3:54::40  for the discussion.
  • Check out 4:01;03 for a specific discussion with the bill's sponsor and Rep Woodson who supported us. Who would you support in future elections? 

During the 2023 Legislative Session FSOMA made many political connections and garnered a lot of support on both sides of the aisle. 

Florida Acupuncture physicians have a bright future, but we have work to do!

To Donate to the PAC Click Here

FSOMA has been told that the best remedy to solve issues related to titles, definitions, and scope of practice is to update the law that governs our profession - Chapter 457.  

    Legislators have been willing to listen to our concerns; and they expect that Chapter 457 will be updated next year.  
    This summer FSOMA will identify supporters from the Florida House/Senate to sponsor a 2024 Acupuncture bill to modernize the practice act.    
    As always, nothing is possible without advocacy and financial support from the AOM profession and industry.  If Florida Acupuncture physicians want to create greater patient access and protections for the profession, then every licensee needs to contribute time, effort, and money to this campaign.  
    Costs to update chapter 457 are estimated at $125,000 in 2023-2024.  This includes, lobbying, legal, and campaign contribution support.  Let’s go into this project with our eyes open and expectations clear.  The profession has not had a substantive update to ss. 457, since 1998.  It’s overdue; 

If every FL licensee donated $50/year to https://fsoma.memberclicks.net/political-action-committee this issue would be solved, and the profession would no longer be forced to fend off threats at every turn. 

It’s time for a fresh start and renewed effort to support this profession, so that it is protected today, and for future generations of students, patients, and Acupuncture physicians.  

Thank you to those who have contacted their Representatives.  We need as big a message this week as the final vote approaches.  

If you have not contacted your Representative please do this today.   If you can get your patients engaged, that's great.   

  One AP north of Orlando had letters prepared, looked up their patient's Representative, put in that information and had them fill in their name address and sign.  She got 39 letters sent last week. 

  We've heard from others that they sent our template and links to all their patients.  

Scroll down for Instructions to Contact Legislator

To Donate to the PAC Click Here
Additional Information

Update May 9, 2023

FSOMA is consulting with the Board of Acupuncture, the Attorney General and lawyers to determine exactly how Acupuncturists need to comply under this new law, and to see if there is any way that the Acupuncture physician title can remain protected and used by Florida acupuncturists.

FSOMA will share the legal opinion when it is available.  The FSOMA is seeking a legal opinion specifically to determine if the term “practice act” as used in SB230 extends to language included in both FS 457 and 64B1-9.007 or just included FS 457.  The answer will determine if the “Acupuncture physician” title may still be used by Florida Acupuncturists after July 1, 2023 

Nothing has changed in our scope of practice, this bill is aimed at how we advertise ourselves and what titles we can use.

Here are the latest actions by the Legislature and an overview of the final steps to a bill becoming law.

  • HB538 was essentially rejected by the Florida Senate – so, the House “accepted” the Senate’s version of this legislation (SB230). 
  • When bills are “born” separate versions of the legislation are created in the House and Senate (with sponsor(s) from each branch.  As the bill move through [typically] three committees, they are either voted favorable, favorable-amended, amended-failed or failed.  Meaning, they are accepted as originally written, accepted with changes, failed because of changes not accepted, or failed outright. 
  • After the committee reviews and committee voting processes in the Senate and House, the language in these bills is often compared and combined to create a negotiated version of the bills.  The final version can retain the original name and number of one of the original bills; or it may be retitled with a new number. 
  • SB230 was introduced and accepted in the Senate in February-March.  HB583 was introduced and accepted in the House April-May.  The final version of HB583 included slightly different language and included an amendment for Optometry.  HB583 was approved by the House and was sent to the Senate for approval, but the Senate rejected it “as amended,” because it included Optometrists.  So, the Senate sent [its version] SB230 to the House for consideration.  The House voted and “accepted” SB230 as written.  
  • So, Optometrists lost their opportunity to have their Optometry physician title protected “included” in the final version of these bills.  The House voted to include them via an amended and the Senate said, “No,” and sent it back to the House to accept or reject.  The House accepted the bill without the Optometrists, otherwise SB230 would have failed. 
  • Lastly, this back and forth and final acceptance of SB230 in a version not popular in the House demonstrates the power of Leadership agendas in the House and Senate.  SB230 was engineered and introduced by Senate President Passidomo.  In the end, her version of the new legislation that regulates use of professional titles in advertising and practice prevailed. 
  • This Senate version which is the final version strictly enforces practitioners only using the professional titles expressly defined in their practice act.  Acupuncture physician is not expressly defined in chapter 457. 

Best in Health
David Bibbey,  LAc., NCCAOM Dipl. Ac 
FSOMA, President Emeritus 
[email protected]

Past Updates:

Monday, April 24, 2023 - Acupuncturists need to generate at least 10,000 letters this week.  

  • These should be followed up with telephone calls to the district or Tallahassee office.
  • Licensees, Students, and Schools need to energize their patients!
  • The profession will not get the full support of their community or locally elected state representative without broad support from there patient base.  We need to have another great week of educating and discussing this issue with state representatives.

There is a growing consensus that the "acupuncture physician" should included in HB 583...FSOMA is grateful for all of the support and effort from the membership and beyond, it needs everybody to stay focused on building on our momentum and growing support.

Please rededicate your efforts this week to make the strongest impact possible...thank you

AP Letter Template (PDF)  
AP Letter Template (Word) (will download automatically)

Patient Letter Template (PDF)
Patient Letter Template (Word) (will download automatically)

Student Letter Template (PDF)
Student Letter Template (Word) (will download automatically)
 

Update Saturday, April 22, 2023

We are entering the end game.  There are only several weeks to go to make a difference. 

1. Please do this TODAY if you haven’t already
In GREEN on the Contact List are those who supported our amendment, including Rep. Woodson who sponsored the amendment (with a lot of pushback on her).  
1.     Please send Re Woodson a thank you note for her bold support for the profession 
2.    Please send a thank you note to the other 8 committee members in Green that voted to support the acupuncture amendment

Click Here for a Contact List as a PDF
Click Here for a Contact List as a Word Document 

2. THEN….everyone needs to focus on the leadership and your own locally elected state house representative.  
The talking point’s list below is for phone calls - only use 3-5 points, pick the ones you want to use) and all points can be drawn-together to form a separate letter.  

Here's the link to find your own Representative - https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/FindYourRepresentative

TEMPLATE FOR EMAILS
Send this email  below to those in RED on the list above and to YOUR representative.
Click Here for email to leadership as a PDF Document
Click Here for email to leadership as a Word Document

TALKING POINTS FOR PHONE CALLS

  • HB 583 is a “Solution looking for a problem.”
  • The title, Acupuncture Physician, is self-explanatory, and NOT confusing.
  • The title was accepted and codified in Florida for decades.
  • About 2,700, Acupuncture physicians in Florida use this title to advertise their small business.  
  • The title makes no claim to the practice of Medicine or any other profession.
  • Sudden loss of a professional title, especially without cause, is traumatic to the profession.
  • HB 583 will crush college enrollment at the 6 acupuncture colleges in Florida.
  • HB 583 will discourage small business Acupuncture physicians from coming to FL.
  • HB 583 will likely force Acupuncture physicians practicing in FL to go elsewhere.
  • HB 583 will have a costly and harmful effect on Florida’s Acupuncture industry and profession.
  • No data has been presented to support “canceling” the Acupuncture physician title because it is deceptive or misleading to Florida consumers.   

Update Thursday, April 20, 2023

The update: HB 583 will be schedule for a floor vote in the coming weeks. Florida Acupuncture Physicians have 3 vital tasks:

(1)  Contact your locally elected state house representative and ask for their NO vote on HB 583, if it continues to exclude acupuncture physicians. Click Here to find your Representative

(2)  Contact ALL of the Legislators in GREEN found here, and THANK them for supporting the acupuncture physician amendment to HB 583.  Thank them for the courage and for voting their conscience, Acupuncturist will always remember their brave gesture -  voting for our amendment. 
      -  The thank you email should be short and personal, so people should include some personal reference
     - Do not talk about years of training and the fairness or unfairness of HB583. We have already provided a lot of that messaging.  This is a time and way to show that the profession is was watching.

Sample email you could send:

Dear Honorable Representative  < LAST  NAME > ,
Thank you for supporting Rep. Woodson’s acupuncture physician amendment to HB 583.  I want to personally thank you for supporting the continued use and availability of my professional title.  The discussion and debates were lively, and I sincerely appreciate your willingness to vote your conscience.

My hope is that, in the coming days Rep. Dr. Massullo will hear our calls and provide the relief we seek.  As another opportunity to vote on HB 583, or its successor approaches, please consider a, No vote, should the legislation fail to include a title exemption for Acupuncture physicians.   

Respectfully,
<Your Name>, <title>

Click Here for PDF version of this letter template |  Click Here for a Word Version 

(3)  Contact the House of Representative Leadership in RED found here asking them to urge Representative Dr. Massullo to include Acupuncture physicians in HB 583.

List of Red & Green highlighted Legislators to Contact. - PDF

List of Red & Green highlighted Legislators to Contact - Word

 

FSOMA can only be as effective as you, our professional community, allows us to be. 

 

Please consider making a contribution to the the following FSOMA Funds:

1. Florida Health Alliance PAC, which support campaign contributions - Click Here to make a donation

2. Legal Defense Fund, which supports legal expenses  - Click Here to make a donation

 


Update Tuesday, April 18, 2023: Yesterday, HB 583 passed in the Florida House HHS Committee without including an “acupuncture physician” title exemption. 

Please don’t despair, there are several very positive things that happened, which need explaining to help you understand the significance of your contribution and the meaning of today’s result.    

Acupuncturists need to be celebrated for their enormous efforts over the past weeks.  Getting an amendment added to HB 583 to protect Acupuncturists’ professional titles seemed near impossible a few weeks ago, but this morning in the 11th hour Rep. Marie Woodson from District 105 – Pembroke Pines, sponsored an amendment on behalf of Acupuncturists statewide.  This was extremely courageous, as she faced a forceful and intimidating rejection from the bill’s sponsor.  

Rep. Woodson did an expert job of making a great case for why the “acupuncture physician” title should be preserved.  Other committee members joined in sharing their personal stories of experiencing life-changing outcomes and receiving high-quality professional care from acupuncturists.  Public committee settings are not usually a place where you expect to hear personal details about legislators who passionately defended their conscience and vote, but it was on full display today.    

  • FSOMA wants to recognize and thank Mina Larson, CEO NCCAOM who traveled from D.C. on short notice to present and answer questions from the committee members.  She provided important details about national training standards and described the particularly demanding licensure requirements in Florida.  She stood for nearly 30 minutes taking questions from HB 583 sponsor Rep. Dr. Massullo, Rep. Woodson, Rep. Gantt, and Chairman Fine. 
  • We also need to recognize and thank Dr. Anaya Palay, DAOM, who took time away from her practice and patients to appear before the committee and speak about the negative impact title changes will have on the practices and professional reputations of Florida Acupuncturists. 
  • Gratitude is also owed to FSOMA’s state lobbyists Corinne Mixon and Angela Drzewiecki, together they have been instrumental in navigating for FSOMA and the profession, working to educate and communicate with committee members, culminating in efforts with Rep. Woodson to get the acupuncture amendment language filed early Monday.  FSOMA is proud of their contributions, and they can be proud of their effort and achievements today. 

During the Committee debate, Chairman Fine supported the acupuncture amendment and provided lots of intelligent input that focused on the importance of not creating laws that have a negative impact on how small business owners legally operate, basically espousing the legislative version of “First do no harm.”   His assessment of the bill was that “HB 583 seemed to be a solution looking for a problem:”    He repeatedly asked if there were consumer complaints or discipline cases involving Acupuncturists misleading consumers over the use of titles (of course not).  The chairman and other members persisted that if no harm to the public exists, and acupuncture physician titling has been permitted in Florida for 20+ years, why do we need to adopt a change that only hurts the acupuncture profession?  

This led to even more lively debate with the sponsor unable to explain his position except to say, “If acupuncturists want to be physicians, then they should go to medical school.”   This finally communicated to everyone in the room something that the sponsor has been thinly concealing about HB 583.  It is not about creating consumer protections or preventing practitioners from using misleading titles in their practice and advertising.  No, instead the purpose of HB 583 is to create winners and losers within healthcare licensure.  The sponsor provided no examples of consumer complaints, and he provided no examples of misleading advertising.  Instead, he focused on details that support his desire to define the use of the term, “physician” based on the scope of practice and not based on the medical specialty or extent of a practitioner’s training. 

Some legislators became visibly uncomfortable with that idea and continued making the point repeatedly that Acupuncturists using their well-established professional titles posed no threat to consumers.  Ultimately, when the roll was called the committee produced a 9 to 9 bipartisan vote; and a tie fails, so the amendment DID NOT PASS.  After supporting the amendment with a “yes vote,” Chairman Fine concluded his comments about HB 583 saying, “Although the amendment failed, and the HB 583 passed in the committee [without “acupuncture physician” included], this bill faces a pretty uncertain future in the House.”  

We have no crystal ball to know for sure if Chairman Fine is correct, so it remains priority NUMBER ONE for FSOMA, its members, the profession at-large and all stakeholders to press-on with reaching out to legislators to educate them about the harm and expense that HB 583 poses to this profession.  We will use the remaining weeks of the 2023 Session to update all of you on how HB 583 progresses and any other developments.  The strategy at this point needs to shift away from focusing on individual legislators based on their committee assignments, and now we want you to contact your local State Rep as a constituent, member of the community and small business owner, whose reputation and business will be harmed by HB 583.  They need to know and understand how HB 583 will negatively affect residents and business owners in their district so that they are better informed about how to protect constituents in their community. 

I know today’s vote didn’t go the way we wanted, but HB 583 and Rep. Dr. Ralph Massullo had a far worse day.  The amendment failed under a 9/9 tie, and HB 583 passed 15/3 in committee.  This is a loud and clear message that Rep. Dr. Massullo is out-of-step with his colleagues, and he is losing support for HB 583.  This is good news for the Florida acupuncture profession because we will continue efforts to further educate and bring more legislators to support our position ahead of a floor vote in the House – if HB 583 makes it that far.   

In closing, FSOMA and its Gov’t Affairs team can’t achieve success for the profession working alone.  The only reason Rep. Dr. Massullo didn’t have an easy day at the office, pushing HB 583 forward effortlessly, is because this profession was relentless.  Your emails and calls inspired legislators to rally to our cause, share their stories, cross the aisle, and vote their conscience.  Do you have any idea how rare that is in politics these days?  It’s a miracle, like a unicorn sighting…everyone on the committee, everyone in the gallery, and everyone in the capital was spellbound by what you were able to achieve…this was a remarkable effort and a remarkable day only made possible by your action. 

Stay tuned – I’ll have additional guidance later this week.  Take time to decompress.  Thank you.    


 April 14, 2023  - FSOMA has more good news: Last week, when HB 583 passed through the House Health Regulatory Subcommittee, part of that process REMOVED the word “doctor” from the list of prohibited titles.  This means that FL Acupuncturists may continue to use and advertise professional titles that reflect their full education level and training.  

Use of the word “physician” and the initials “M.D.” are still prohibited under HB 583, when used, “either alone or in combination, or in connection with other words” to describe or advertise an Acupuncturists’ professional title or degree.  


Florida legislators have been reviewing bills SB 230 and HB 583 for several weeks. The last strike-all (edit) to HB 583, on 04/05/2023 removed “doctor” from the list of restricted titles, but the prohibition against using “physician” alone or in combination with other words remains.  Meaning, should these bills become new Florida law, effective July 1, 2023, Acupuncturists licensed under ss.457 would be prohibited from using the professional title “acupuncture physician.”   This is why we must remain committed to getting an amendment to protect all Acupuncturists’ professional titles.

These bills could go into effect on July 1, 2023!

FSOMA can only be as effective as you, our community, allows us to be.

Please consider making a contribution to the Florida Health Alliance PAC, which support campaign contributions -  Click Here to make a donation

FSOMA’s lobbyists are hard at work responding to Legislators' questions. Finally, the Healthcare Regulations Policy Chief has taken a second look at the actual language in HB 583; and he agrees that without an amendment, HB 583 has a direct and negative impact on Acupuncturists' use of professional titles.  Many positive things are happening that improve Acupuncturists’ position.

 

REMINDER: HB 583 affects all health care providers working in ANY treatment setting in its present version. If Rep. Massullo and Sen. Harrell only intended HB 583 to apply to practitioners working in hospitals, then why is that detail left out of the bill?

As written HB 583 spills-over affecting every office, clinic, treatment setting in Florida.  That is why all the Chiropractors, Nurses, Dentists, Podiatrists, Audiologists, and Optometrists in the State has piggy-backed onto an amendment ... they needed the amendments to protect the use of their professional titles, and so do Acupuncturists.

 DONATE to the Florida Healthcare Alliance PAC
Not a Member? Click Here to Join

If HB583 and SB230 are enacted into law, without any changes to the existing language, the remedy to restore the use of our titles that include “doctor” and “physician”, is by revising Chapter 457 (of the Florida Statues) to authorize the use of these titles.

Language to modernize our practice act is in development and will be used to update Chapter 457 in the 2024 session.

This process needs the full support of all Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine stakeholders – schools, faculty, providers, students, patients, and others. We need EVERYONE to be involved in creating the urgency and effect needed to get 40 Senators, and 140 House Representatives to support modernizing several sections of the Acupuncture statute and restoring professional titles.

Our profession and everyone who cares about the future of acupuncture access and practice in Florida needs to be prepared for a multi-year effort to successfully update Chapter 457. This is going to cost our profession an estimated $100,000 a year – about $38-$50/year per license in Florida.

FSOMA is accepting contributions to the Acupuncture PAC - Florida Health Alliance

Click Here to DONATE to the Florida Healthcare Alliance PAC

Please donate and urge your colleagues and patients to support this worthy effort. If necessary, start with $3-5 monthly recurring – every dollar counts. We thank you for your continued support and trust as FSOMA continues to support you and our profession

Click Here to Donate to the Legal Defense Fund

April 17, 2023 Update: HB 583 was voted and approved by the HHS Committee.   Next steps will be provided soon. 

March 15, 2023 Update: SB230 has passed the Senate. FSOMA's current focus is on HB583

News Brief from the FSOMA Legislative Committee on bills HB583 and SB230, and how it will impact Florida Licensed Acupuncturists:
Watch Recording Here
 | Link to PowerPoint

Listen to this brief podcast for a summary of the issue with these 2 bills, and why you need to take action now.

 

 4 Ways to Contact the House Health Regulations Subcommittee

  1. Send an individual email each member on the list   Click Here for the List
  2. Send a group email to all the members of the subcommittee.  Click Here for Group List
    1. With this option please send individual emails to the leadership.
  3. Send a hard copy via US Postal Mail.  This list has mailing addresses and phone #s
  4. Call and talk to each representative on the Committee

Templates for Talking Points & Scripts

Find your Local House Representative HERE  (use Tallahassee Office)

  • Also, contact: 
    • Rep. Charles Clemons, Sr. (Chair Healthcare Sub)  Click Here
    • Rep. Dr. Ralph Massullo (HB 583 Sponsor) Click Here

Tell them:  House Bill 583 needs to include an amendment for Acupuncture Physicians  

Remember we are asking for their help and support. 

Stay Calm.  Be Polite. 

After you have taken action, let us know, send us a text to 941-404-3484

  • Text: Your name and #SaveAcupuncturePhysicianTitle
  • Share a post on Facebook or your favorite social media platform:
    • #SaveAcupuncturePhysicianTitle -  I talked with Representative (or Senator)  _________ today about how bill 230 needs to include an amendment for Acupuncture Physicians. 

 

NEW RULE FROM BOA ON PRO BONO SERVICE
Continuing Education Requirement FAC 64B1-7.0015 : effective 10/04/2022
(e) Pro Bono Services:  
1.Up to 7 hours, per biennium, of continuing education credit may be fulfilled by the performance of pro bono services to the indigent or to underserved populations or in areas of critical need within the state where the licensee practices.
2. For credit for pro-bono services a licensee must apply for prior approval in order to receive credit. In the request for approval, licensees shall disclose the type, nature and extent of services to be rendered, the facility where the services will be rendered, the number of patients expected to be served, and a statement indicating that the patients to be served are indigent.
3. Service must be provided on a pro bono basis through an organization offering humanitarian missions to:
     a. Domestic and/or international victims in an emergency situation or disaster area;
     b. Low income population (no greater than 150% of the federal poverty level), as based on the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines as published in Vol. 87 Fed. Reg. 3316-16 (Jan. 21, 2022), incorporated by reference, a copy of which may be obtained from http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-14752; or
     c. United States military personnel.
4. Unless otherwise provided through Board order, no licensee who is subject to a disciplinary action that requires additional continuing education as a penalty, shall be permitted to use pro bono medical services as a method of meeting the additional continuing education requirements.

Acupuncture Awareness Month Winners
Winners Announced for Acu Awareness Month

Robert Kienitz headshotDr. Robert Drill Kienitz II, DAOM, DTCM died on June 23, 2022 from heart failure. He was 66.  He was born in Phoenix, Arizona on December 06, 1955. He resided and practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine in Vero Beach, Florida for six years. Previously, he lived and practiced TCM in Wilmington and Carolina Beach, North Carolina and in Mesa, Arizona. He was a graduate of the Florida Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1996

He is survived by his wife, Cindy Powell Kienitz and their son Sean: son Austin Aldrich (Tiffany); and grandson Triumph. He is also survived by his four siblings, Lucy Spence, Erin Hegedus, Rebecca Lepore, and William Kienitz. He was preceded in death by his parents Robert Drill Kienitz I and Aline Cannon Kienitz.  

Those that would like to make a donation in Robert’s honor may do so at the Nature Conservancy and Playing for Change Foundation.
A celebration of life will be held privately with his immediate family. Arrangements are under the direction of Millennium Cremation Service. Condolences may be shared online at https://millenniumcremationservice.com

Saterra Vishnu headshotWe are saddened by the passing of Dr. SaTerra Vishnu, DOM, AP of Mount Dora, Florida on July 22, 2022. He graduated from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in 1986, interned at the Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx in alcohol and drug rehab (NADA) and took advanced studies in the Peoples Republic of China at the Guangzhou College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He was an expert in microsystems like NADA, Soji (Korean Hand therapy) and BioElectrical Diagnostics and German Homotoxicology.  

Dr Vishnu was passionate about helping veterans with our medicine and developed evaluation techniques using Heart Rate Variability to show clinically the immediate benefits of acupuncture.  

Memorial will be held Saturday 7/31 at 4pm 

FSOMA has proudly been exhibiting annually at the Workers Compensation Institute Conference in Orlando for over 5 years.  It is a national conference with heavy participation from the local area or Orlando and throughout Florida.  As a FSOMA member, it is a great opportunity to volunteer your time, interact with Workers' Compensation community and educate them about the benefits of acupuncture.  We are requesting volunteers for Monday August 22nd and Tuesday August 23rd 2022. 

You will be taking a brief intake and giving mini acupuncture treatments to attendees who include adjusters, lawyers,and medical personal who work in the Workers Comp system.  A knowledge of Auricular, Korean Hand Therapy, Dr. Tan or Master Tung treatments would be a plus.

We ask that you commit to a 5 hour time slot on Monday
or 3 hours slots on Tuesday

Monday 12 noon - 5:00 p.m. 
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. - 12noon
                12 noon - 3:00 p.m.

If you are interested in volunteering, please simply fill out and submit this form. FSOMA will contact you upon receipt and review of your application to inform you with further details and provide you training and orientation via webinar. 

Register here to attend next FSOMA BOD meeting, online June 20, 2022 at 7pm

New Member Benefits: Free Social Media images showcasing research to promote the benefits of Acupuncture & Asian Medicine. Visit Your Benefits to learn more. 

Judy Chu's Acupuncture for our Seniors Medicare bill needs more sponsors.  
You can help!

or


100 Day Moxa Challenge - for Long Covid Symptoms
moxa picture


A California LAc is now teaching qigong and acupressure at Mt Zion Staff Wellness Center. 

Ra Adcock, Executive Director of CSOMA reports on Instagram "I’m excited to be teaching qigong and acupressure in the new Mount Zion Staff Wellness Program. Building UCSF’s integrative medicine tools one campus at a time… alway starting with programs that nourish and enrich the hardworking and dedicated staff, knowing how the movement opens organically from there."

From PubMed - Acupuncture therapy as an Evidence-Based Nonpharmacologic Strategy for Comprehensive Acute Pain Care: the Academic Consortium Pain Task Force White Paper Update
Conclusion: The majority of reviews find acupuncture therapy to be an efficacious strategy for acute pain with potential to avoid and/or reduce opioid reliance. Future multi-center trials are needed to clarify the dosage and generalizability of acupuncture for acute pain in the ED. With an extremely low risk profile, acupuncture therapy is an important strategy in comprehensive acute pain care.

Click Here to View on PubMed

Young Dr Ku headshotIn Memoriam Dr Su Liang Ku. On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, Dr. Su Liang “Alan” Ku (80) of Pinellas Park, FL passed away peacefully surrounded by loving family who with him fought a courageous battle against cancer. Alan, a beloved husband, father, and brother, is survived by his wife of 18 years, Kelly Ku of Pinellas Park, FL; his son Charles (Marlene) Ku of Tampa, FL; his daughter Sara (Brandt Witt) Ku of Washington, DC; and two stepchildren. He is also survived by his brother Tai Sun (Kyin Show Wai) Ku of Maymyo, Myanmar; his brother David (Carole) Khoo of Boyds, MD; and his sister Winnie (James) Ramsey of Rockville, MD. Also surviving are his several nieces, nephews, and other relatives. 

Born in Maymyo, Myanmar, February 1, 1942, Alan was born to Mr. Wan Chin Khok and Mrs. Kim Kuei Tan, who were originally from Hubei, China. He was the seventh of ten children in his family. Growing up in Myanmar, he assisted with his family’s dentistry practice and studied acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine (TCM) with Fujian University. 

In 1972, Alan immigrated to the United States, where he became a pioneer of acupuncture and TCM. While Alan first practiced in Maryland, in 1977, he relocated to Florida, where at the peak of his career, he operated three clinics and the Florida Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a school providing masters-level education in TCM. Throughout his career, he contributed to the growth of acupuncture and TCM in the US, helping to establish educational and practice standards while serving on the Florida Board of Acupuncture and the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM). He also published journal articles and improved the health and well-being of tens of thousands of individuals, many of whom became life-long patients. Beyond TCM, he was an active member and leader in the local community, particularly in the Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans and the St. Petersburg International Folk Fair. 

In his personal life, Alan most enjoyed traveling the world, eating flavorful food, observing beautiful natural scenery, and honing his passion and skills in photography. He greatly valued education throughout his life and was self taught in many of his pursuits and interests, including photography; Chinese poetry, history, and literature; and playing the flute, accordion, and violin. 

Funeral service will be held at Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Boulevard West, Silver Spring, MD, on Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 9:00 am followed by a viewing at 10:00 am. Masks are required. Interment will take place at Parklawn Memorial Park, 12899 Veirs Mill Rd, Rockville, MD at 11:00 am. 

New Member Benefits: Free Social Media images showcasing research to promote the benefits of Acupuncture & Asian Medicine. Visit Your Benefits to learn more. 

Mary Catherine Hoffman, 74, of Sun City Center, FL, passed away on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. A native of Port Huron, MI, she had resided here since 1990 coming from Fairfax, VA. She was an Acupuncture Physician and a member of FSOMA (Florida State Oriental Medical Association). She is survived by her daughters, Michele Weissman and Margot Townsend and granddaughter, Emma Rose Das. Services are pending. 

Cathy was a NCCAOM National Board Certified and Florida licensed Acupuncture Physician, Diplomate of Oriental Medicine and Registered Nurse with over 40 years of healthcare experience. She was earned a Masters in acupuncture at East West College of Natural Medicine in Sarasota, FL and a Masters in Nursing from the University of Tampa.  She completed post-graduate certification in “Classical Five-Element Acupuncture” at the Institute of Taoist Education & Acupuncture in Louisville, Colorado. 

Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Mary Catherine Hoffman

Data on Insurance Utilization for acupuncture over past decade

FSOMA now has member savings on a full range of insurance policies available including now a Group Health plan

2021 IRS deductible for FSOMA membership fee is 73.5% of what you paid.

Eulogy for Dr Thomas Michael McCormack

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of my dear friend, colleague, and personal care-giver, Dr. Thomas Michael McCormack, Acupuncture Physician, who died April 5, 2022 at his home in Sarasota after a long illness.  Click Here for the Full Eulogy

Ben Cao Gang Mu

One of the most important translations of this century - Click Here to Watch

FSOMA now has member savings on a full range of insurance policies available including now a Group Health plan             Click Here for More

National News - Arizona

On March 22, 2022, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law Senate Bill 1080. The first major acupuncture-related legislation in 22 years.  

SB1080 passed with a unanimous vote out of the Senate and House Committees on Health and Human Resources and unanimous off the Senate and House floor. 

SB1080 defines acupuncture as a form of medicine, allows for physical examination, the utilization of labs and imaging studies, the prescribing of herbs, laser, nutritional substances, and injection. 

Finally, it allows for the training and hiring of an acupuncture assistant who may remove needles and work under the direct supervision of an Acupuncturists. 

Learn more by visiting: amaaz.org/2022/03/28/expanded-scope-signed-3-22-2022

Announced on March 30, 2022

No Surprise Act
The “Surprise Act” is a new Federal consumer protection law that protects patients from costly out-of-network billing charges related to emergency and urgent care treatment expenses.  While the Florida version does not affect acupuncture, the Federal law does.

Effective Jan 1, 2022, the federal law protects patients from “balance billing” practices that allow hospitals, outpatient facilities and transportation companies to bill patients for amounts not paid by insurers for covered and non-covered service by out-of-network providers.   For a definition of "Balance Billing" click here

Click Here to Register for a Webinar on the No Surprise Act - you will be sent the recordings and handout

CMS Form 1490S – What you need to knowFact checking
FSOMA is aware of social media messaging that describes acupuncturists completing and providing a CMS Patient's Request for Medical Payment (Form 1490S) for patients who receive acupuncture services.   The Associations Board has asked the Florida Health Care Law Firm to provide guidance and feedback on the question of acupuncturists accepting and treating patients insured under original Medicare and the appropriateness of using CMS Form 1490S. 
The question presented to the attorneys is whether an acupuncturist may provide original Medicare patients with a CMS Form 1490S and a superbill for the purpose of allowing those patients to submit the Form 1490S directly to Medicare for acupuncture service fee reimbursements. 

Read attorney's response here

12/15/21   University Hospitals' Connor Whole Health turns to acupuncture to successfully treat long COVID symptoms. 
Data shows that more than 1 in 3 people end up with long COVID, as a multitude of symptoms like fatigue and brain fog stick around three to six months after illness.

For whole article click here

Classical Chinese MedicineNew York Review covers Classical Chinese Medicine by Liu Lihong. 
FSOMA first reviewed this book in the Spring Journal. Click Here to read our review from a practitioner's point of view.  
The New York Review is titled Chinese Medicine in the COVID Wards and is a pretty interesting read.  It goes into the story of how Dr Lihong was able to start using acupuncture for COVID in Wuhan and goes into a lot of the history of Chinese medicine in China.  There has  been a struggle there for western medicine facilities and MDs to accept the value of  TCM.   
You can save money on this book by going here  and buying it from Far East Summit, a popular vendor at FSOMA Conferences. 

Dec 1, 2021 - Lynne Carol Sheppard, AP, DOM, 72, of Belleview, Florida passed away November 26, 2021, at Estelle’s Hospice House, Ocala, Florida surrounded by friends. She is survived by her brother Richard Terry, her sister Leslie Terry and Leslie’s daughter, Laura Backus and Laura’s daughters, Madeline and Charlotte. Lynne was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of the late Richard Sheppard and Patricia Terry.

Lynne was an Acupuncture Physician and Doctor of Oriental Medicine. After graduating from Florida School of Acupuncture (now Dragon Rises) in Gainesville, Florida, in 1997, she opened the Whole Health Institute in Belleview, Florida successfully caring for her patients until her retirement in 2021. She has resided in Marion County, Florida since 1976, and early on, was a successful horse trainer/riding instructor. She was a founding member of STRIDE (a local dressage club) along with her best friends, Jill and Dan Tallman. After seeing what acupuncture and homeopathy could do for her animals, (with animals there is no placebo effect), she realized it was time for a career change and decided to help people with the same amazing medicine and results. Even though Lynne changed her career path from animals to people, she never gave up her love of working with animals and continued to support animal rescue shelters across the state. She worked with Great Dane Rescue of Florida for many years and supported the big cat rescue whenever possible. Lynne will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of calling her Physician and friend. A celebration of life will be held for Lynne in the near future.

“And if I go,
While you’re still here…
Know that I live on, vibrating to a different measure—
Behind a thin veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me, so you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
Both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its fullest.
And when you need me,  
Just whisper my name in your heart
…I will be there.”
(-Colleen Hitchcock)

acucongress
Training for the Fly In from Judy Chu's Office

AcuCongress Training Session 3: DISTRICTS

To take part in the AcuCongress Virtual Federal Fly-In on December 8, 2021, register at www.AtlanticSymposium.com
Watch the replay now:

Founder of Chinese Auricular Acupuncture Passes Away
head shot of Li-Chun Huang

Dr. Li-Chun Huang, MD. World-renowned doctor in Auricular Medicine Passed away on October 21, 2021 in Alabama, United States at the age of 84.  She was revered worldwide for her auricular acupuncture system.  The acupuncture profession mourns her passing. 

She published over 20 books on Auricular Medicine which were translated into both English and Spanish. 
Click Here for a YouTube video of her and Dr. William S. Huang, O.M.D.

Insurance Billing Coding Update

You have to add a 0 to ICD-10 code M54.5 to get paid now. Every year, CMS publishes updates to the ICD-10 manual.  This August, CMS published its latest round of ICD-10 changes (which it does yearly) It has deleted ICD-10 code M54.5, low back pain, effective October 1, 2021. 

 That means providers cannot use M54.5 to specify a diagnosis on or after October 1 — and existing patients with the M54.5 diagnosis will need to be updated to a valid ICD-10 code. This is one of the most billed codes for pain.

These are the codes replacing it 
M54.50   Low back pain, unspecified
M54.51   Vertebrogenic low back pain – that is pain specifically from the vertebrae or spine
M54.59   Other low back pain

READ MORE HERE

New Blog Post on Networking
Click Here

September 28, 2021

LILLIAN PEARL BRIDGES

Lillian Pearl Bridges has passed away on September 26, 2021, Sunday morning at 12:22 am, surrounded by her sons and so much love. - Kelsey Lesefko, Lillian's Daughter-In-Law

Lillian Pearl Bridges was the world’s leading authority on Face Reading and Diagnosis. She is credited for bringing this body of ancient knowledge back to the field of Chinese Medicine and introducing it to Western Medicine and Business. She has nearly 30 years of experience in speaking and teaching to Complimentary and Allopathic Doctors, Acupuncturists and other Natural Health Practitioners, CEO’s and Executive Management Teams. She had developed a Golden Path Program to help her ...

CONTINUE READING
Obituary
GoFund Me to Contribute to Her Family

To show additional support, you can purchase Lilian's books here:

Lotus Institute

New ADA Compliance Resource Page added for members

Click Here
Important Updates for Health Care Providers Regarding Expiration of Emergency Orders

 

July 1, 2021

 

Click Here for Update

The American Herbal Products Association is holding a webinar on their process to standardize terminology for Hemp Products

Click here for More

Disappointing News
Governor DeSantis vetoes the Bodily Injury Bill

Click Here for His Orders

FYI BOA on Human Trafficking Classes

Query - Do students need to take the Human Trafficking class now before licensing or within a certain time frame of being licensed?

Response from Kama Monroe, JD - Board Executive Director - Nope. The human trafficking class was a one-time requirement for licensed acupuncturists and had to be taken by January 1, 2021. People licensed after January 1, 2021, are not subject to this requirement.  

CDC Guidance for Health Care Workers

An update from Nevada on SB335 which we talked about in FSOMA News Brief 13.  The bill has been sitting in the Senate Finance committee for weeks now and there doesn’t seem to be any momentum for it to move on to the second house, so we are pretty sure that it is going to die in the finance committee. It turned out to show a huge deficit for the first two years at minimum, so we have heard through back channels that the Governor would be unlikely to sign it even if it somehow managed to pass in the Assembly. So, for right now, it looks like we are well positioned to keep our board intact for the time being..

April 27 - Recommendations for use of personal protective equipment by HCP remain unchanged.

In late December 2020 in Ohio, language was added at the last minute to bill HB442 about occupational licenses that removed the Oriental Medicine License from regulation by the Medical Board and was signed into law by the governor.  The Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is proposing legislation to correct this erroneous action.

Click Here for more on this Cautionary Tale from Ohio

Per MQA The Federal Government has opened several vaccination sites for the purpose of providing vaccinations to healthcare professionals. If you are a health care provider who needs a shot or know a colleague that needs one, these locations are open.
No Appointment necessary   Most of the sites open 7a-7p and giving 3000 vaccinations per day

Gateway Mall
5200 Norwood Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32208

Valencia College - West Campus
1800 Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32811

Tampa Greyhound Track
755 E. Waters Ave
Tampa, FL 33604

Miami-Dade Community College
11380 NW 27th Ave,
Miami, FL 33167

Healthcare personnel now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
Per Executive Order 21-47

Struggling with anxiety or depression?
Substance abuse threatening your license? 
Go to the Wellbeing Resource Page for help.


Know Before You Go

Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is far in excess of the supply the state has received so far. It is anticipated that additional supplies will be coming soon.
Florida has many sites that are providing COVID-19 vaccines, but supplies are limited and appointments may not be available at many of these sites. The state is prioritizing:

  • Persons 65 years of age and older
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact
  • Residents and staff of long term care facilities
  • Persons deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers

Please be aware that some locations are only serving very specific populations, such as frontline health care workers.
Appointments may be required and vaccine availability will vary from day to day and week to week as we work to provide vaccines to the most vulnerable first. 

https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/


FSOMA requests Clarification on FL Shots and Acupuncture Physician Participation.  Click Here to view the letter.

Notes on Ethics and the La

When faced with an ethical issue, whether in regards to your own practice or other practitioner’s practice, its okay to seek guidance in a confidential manner. Many providers are faced with ethical dilemmas and typically will overlook them as not to ruffle feathers, but at times reporting the dilemma might be required. For example, if a provider learns that another provider is acting below the acceptable standard of care, before filing a complaint with the Department of Health, first determine if you have first hand knowledge of the alleged acts. If not, you might not have to take any action. If a patient with first hand knowledge is asking for advice, then advising that patient to seek guidance from the Dept. of Health is likely your only required act. On the other hand, if the practitioner has first hand knowledge of another practitioner’s failure to practice within the accepted standard of care, then not only is it the right thing to do by reporting it, but also a legal requirement under Florida Law.

 

71% of your FSOMA dues in 2020 are tax deductible

Hemp and Supplement Licensing - If you have more than 12 linear feet of public retail space dedicated to supplements you must get a Retail Food Establishment Permit from the Department of Agriculture.  Supplements stored in the employee section are not included. Click Here for More and to Apply.


 Click Here to view the AHCA phone call on COVID-19. Florida’s Surgeon General, Dr. Rivkees provided details regarding availability and distribution information for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations.


Click Here to view the Fl Vaccination plan
Looks like L.Ac fall under Phase II and the timeline is dependent on dozens of variables, like vaccine availability, which vaccine is available, storage conditions, dispensing point, consumer willingness to receive vaccinations, vaccination waste levels, and new potential approved vacc’s being available, etc.


Update from FBI on Scam Phone Calls tp Healthcare Providers

This is a scam likely perpetrated by foreign criminal groups. 
My research indicates that these scams (posing as a medical board official), with some variations on the theme, have been documented nationwide since the beginning of the year. On October 13, 2020, the FBI issued the attached bulletin concerning these scams.
Please let your members know that they should not respond to these individuals. If they already have, and suffered a loss, they should report the incident to their local law enforcement agency.
We at FDLE appreciate you bringing this situation to our attention
Click Here for Handout


Healthcare Professionals must take Human Trafficking by Jan 1, 2021. Click here for an upcoming class

Sept 15, 2020 Acupuncture Clinics are open statewide.  Best practices include following the FDOH and CDC guidelines found on their respective websites.  The weekly COVID-19 tele-meeting with Dr. Rivkees will be moved to meet once every two weeks on Tuesday’s at 5:30pm starting September 15, 2020.  FSOMA encourages those with questions for the FDOH about practice requirements during COVID-19 to follow the process described for submitting requests to the FDOH in advance.  The tele-meeting will no longer include an interactive option to ask questions live, nor will the call be recorded.  At this time, there is no new information effecting Acupuncture practice to report.  Please stay safe.

Dry Needling Update - Unfortunately the PTs were able to change their statute this year allowing them to practice dry needling.  They had powerful friends in the legislature which made it impossible to block the bill but with the help of Senators Gayle Harrell and Ben Albritton we were able to ensure a higher level of training requirements, and protective language for the acupuncture profession

Palm Beach County orders have changed!! Acupuncturist may open - click here to view orderFSOMA is very aware that Palm Beach County has ordered “acupuncture venues” to close.  We have once again been lumped together with “tatoo parlors, body piercing parlors, tanning and massage parlors”.  https://discover.pbcgov.org/PDF/COVID19/PBC-EO-15.pdf

FSOMA is working through the county government to correct this as soon as possible.  Even though we have been given a  verbal statement from the general counsel  of Florida that acupuncturists may perform services as long as they are medical services, the county orders are in effect.

Veterans’ Affairs Community Care Network

Galina Roofener shared these to links regarding icd11 
https://icd.who.int

https://icd.who.int/docs/ICD-11%20Implementation%20or%20Transition%20Guide_v105.pdf

CDC Guidelines on Disinfecting Your Office

Update on Newest Changes to PPP Loan Forgiveness Rules 

Update on FDA & Homeopathic Medicine

Safety Alerts on AIT Injectables

Newly Added on COVID page - The Treatment of COVID-19 with Chinese Medicine

New Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Signed into Law

5-19 FL DOH Answers Questions About Acupuncture and PPE

Here is an order from DOH extending temporary Telemedicine rules 

Update on Pinellas County Local State of Emergency - the Governor's orders still apply!

DeSantis to reopen Florida incrementally

Link to PPP Application

From FSOMA Webinar
Florida UnEmployment Paper Application
Florida UnEmployment Application Online Portal 

Application for PPP Loan

Welcome New FSOMA Business Member Treasure of the East.  They have just received a shipment of herbs in and are offering FSOMA Members 10% off on bottles of herbs. Click here to get the code. 

FSOMA Spring Journal 


4/20/20 at 3pm today $5000 grants available through US Chamber of Commerce - https://savesmallbusiness.com/


Looks like a new link for unemployment resources


Clarification on Governor's Order
In accordance with Executive Order 20-72, healthcare practitioners' offices in the State of Florida are prohibited from providing any medically unnecessary, non-urgent, non-emergency procedures or surgeries which, if delayed, does not place a patient's immediate health, safety, or wellbeing at risk, or will, if delayed, not contribute to the worsening of a serious or life-threatening medical condition.  Accordingly, all healthcare practitioners licensed in the State of Florida, including dentists, shall immediately cease performing these elective services.           
Some APs report sending their landlord a note with a copy of the Governor's Executive Order saying they have been closed due to executive order and asking if they will have any special allowances during this crisis.  You can request a forebearance or deferal on payments due, along with a pan for how you will eventually pay the rent or mortgage balance.
CHARMHealth is offering Free Telemedicine Account 
They have taken steps to ensure that ALL current and NEW Telehealth customers will have unlimited and free access to Telehealth till July 2020. 
In other words, Charm Health will waive Telehealth costs for all customers-- you will not pay extra for using Telehealth. 
Miami-Dade and Broward County  Close Non Essential Businesses - Leave Medical Offices Open

Governor DeSantis Executive Order 

CMS Update on Supervision Requirements for Acupuncture Coverage

Be sure and check the Member Benefits page for information about the savings on disability plans.

 

Governor Desantis Order as of 12 noon 3/23/2020

In accordance with Executive Order 20-72healthcare practitioners' offices in the State of Florida are prohibited from providing any medically unnecessary, non-urgent, non-emergency procedures or surgeries which, if delayed, does not place a patient's immediate health, safety, or wellbeing at risk, or will, if delayed, not contribute to the worsening of a serious or life-threatening medical condition.  Accordingly, all healthcare practitioners licensed in the State of Florida, including dentists, shall immediately cease performing these elective services.

While some specific examples of which procedures should be postponed are contained within Executive Order 20-72, licensed health care practitioners are tasked with exercising reasonable and appropriate professional judgment in evaluating their patients’ specific circumstances, overall health, and the medical necessity of any procedures performed.  Therefore, the Executive Order explicitly leaves discretion on proceeding with procedures to the medical professional, based on his or her expertise and the specific factual situation of each patient. Only the medical professional can make that determination.

You must follow CDC Guidellines if you continue to provide in person treatment. 

Acupuncture for Veterans - How to Get Involved and Get Paid for it

Webinar on Serving Veterans

Telemedicine Class
Information you can use today
Click here for a great class

CMS Update on Supervision Requirements for Medicare Acupuncture Coverage

FSOMA Statement on COVID-19

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now
Statistics on past pandemics and the strategy that works

From the ASA
Information Sheet on Corona Virus
Self Care is Important

2 US Goernmentt sites with information on Coronvirus
Information for HealthCare Professionals
What to do if you are Sick With Coronavirus

Did you see this? They are treating Coronavirus COVID-19 with TCM in China - click here

Be sure and check the Member Benefits page for information about the savings on disability plans.

23% of your FSOMA dues are tax deductible for 2019
Click here for a helpful article on tax preparation.

Looking for Classes on Medical Record Keeping? 

Here are 2 great ones from FSOMA Business Members
Supporting the businesses that support us
Amy Sear - Practical Documentation  offers 20% off to FSOMA members
Mori West - Examination & Bullet Proof Documentation offers $20 off on webinars

2020 FSOMACon

FSOMACon Logo
Registration is Open
August 21-23, 2020


Medicare Approves Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Click Here for the Memo


FSOMA Members
10% Off Site Wide
Must be a member of the New Redwing Books mailing list.
No minimums


Click Here to Download the Exemption for CBD Sales

Click Here for information you need to know about selling CBD products in your clinic.
New laws effective 01/01/2020


Florida requires Licensed Acupuncturists offices to be Biomedical Waste Generators.  The details vary by county.  Here's more information

Here is the link to find your county health department contact. 


A route to “Reinstatement” is available from the NCCAOM. Information is available on the NCCAOM website athttps://www.nccaom.org/certification/reinstatement/.  If you have more questions, you can email the Certification staff at [email protected].

FSOMA is pleased to share good news.  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published its Proposal Decision for including acupuncture benefits, SPECIFICALLY to treat chronic low back pain (cLBP), which meets CMS guidelines, in those people eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.  Please read the CMS Decision for full details – at least read the first few pages.  99% of the answers to your questions will be found there.  

CMS has no direct way to include Licensed Acupuncturists under the list of approved Medicare providers.  That requires separate action taken in Congress to open the Social Security Act and update the law.  Congresswoman Judy Chu, of California has sponsored a bill during each session of Congress, for the past several years, to include Acupuncturists as Medicare providers; and she has done the same again this year.  Her bill needs a lot of support and Florida could do more to help her find bill co-sponsors. \

CMS’s purpose in this decision is to provide acupuncture benefits and care to those who are Medicare/Medicaid eligible and in need of treatment for cLBP pain.  This decision was made in a way that provides the most care to those in most need.  It does not favor one provider type over another and since Acupuncturists are not currently Medicare providers, eligible acupuncturists must work under the direct supervision of MD, DO or NP.  This most likely means that any Licensed Acupuncturist providing treatment for cLBP under Medicare will be either working in a physicians office or will have hired a MD, DO, or NP to supervise treatment of those patients in the L.Ac’s office.  Other options likely exist, but these two seem most plausible. 

So, no – as an acupuncturist you may not start treating Medicare patients and submitting claims to CMS with the expectation of being paid.  That will not happen until Congress amends the existing law to recognize L.Ac’s as independent Medicare providers.  Yesterday’s decision is a long-time coming – it’s not everything Acupuncturists want, so there is more we can do to elevate the profession. 

Be well informed and passionate about this profession’s opportunities going forward.  Pitch-in where you can…many hands make lighter work.   

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-finalizes-decision-cover-acupuncture-chronic-low-back-pain-medicare-beneficiaries

https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=295

Save the Date
2020 FSOMA Conference banner
Ad for Pulse Class
CBD photo
Click Here for information you need to know about selling CBD products in your clinic.
New laws effective 01/01/2020

Click Here to Download the Exemption for CBD Sales


Florida requires Licensed Acupuncturists offices to be Biomedical Waste Generators.  The details vary by county.  Here's more information

Here is the link to find your county health department contact. 


A route to “Reinstatement” is available from the NCCAOM. Information is available on the NCCAOM website athttps://www.nccaom.org/certification/reinstatement/.  If you have more questions, you can email the Certification staff at [email protected].

Facial Acupuncture Certificate Class in January being offered in Ft Lauderdale and Tampa

If you Know a Veteran or Treat Veterans, please share this important information with them. 

According to Humana Military Tricare - Hemp-derived products such as cannabidiol, or CBD oil is forbidden for use by any service members in any military branch.  They may result in both a positive result in a drug test AND in legal action against the military member.  
With the exception of Epidiolex, a medication used to control epileptic seizures, all other ingested products derived from cannabis are banned for any military service member. 
Here's an article from military.com


Human Trafficking Classes

Harvey Kaltsas is offering a Human Trafficking class that meets the Florida State requirements. 
He is offering FSOMA members a $5 rebate off the class. 
Here's how to get the rebater
- Register for the class and pay for it.  You can view it for free and pay to take the test.
- Send an e-mail to [email protected] letting him know you are a FSOMA member.  Please copy in [email protected]g


From the FDA - Viatrexx Bio Incorporated Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Sterile Injectables Due to a Lack of Sterility Assurance


64B-9.008 Telehealth Practitioner Survey Procedures is no longer required 

Welcome Our New Affiliate 

Use Code FSOMAFREEGIFT to get free shipping and a FREE Magnetic Energy Bracelet

FSOMA Members can save 10%, click here for more
Healthy Line Products
Infrared Therapy Devices

Save Money, Support FSOMA
View All Our Affiliates Here

Hepatitis A Information
The Department of Health launched a series of informational resources for the general public on Hepatitis A activity. The Hepatitis A information line is available to the public to answer questions regarding Hepatitis A activity in Florida. The information line is available Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm EST during normal business hours. The toll free number is 1-844-CALL-DOH  (844-225-5364).  Please contact [email protected] for written questions from the public.

Alert for Health Care Providers
Click here for information on how to protect yourself from Hepatitis A

FSOMA's membership in the American Society of Acupuncturists gives you access to Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance through August 31, 2019. For more click here.


FSOMA Signs Affiliate Agreement with DHA Labs
Click here for more

E-News

Click here for the latest E-Newsletter
June 4, 2019 E-News

FSOMA Elections - Nominations are Open for Board of Directors
Deadline to nominate is June 25th.
 Click here for more

Next FSOMA Board of Directors meeting is set for June 22, 2019 1pm-4pm.  To listen in contact us

Love Your Practice is being rescheduled as a series of FREE webinars

Look for more information coming soon. 



Pinellas County APs Take Action Read more here
"If you are not at the table, you are on the table"....Juhan Mixon, lobbyist
On May 21st we were at the table!


 FSOMA is in Support of SB 540/HB 851 Human Trafficking Bill.  Read more here.


2019-5-2

The non-opioid alternatives bill, HB 451, has passed and is headed to the Governor!

The Florida Department of Health will now be required to develop and distribute an educational pamphlet regarding the use of non-opioid alternatives to treat pain. Furthermore, based on the work of the acupuncture associations and the chiropractors and others (conservative care first coalition) the bill also requires that health providers must discuss non-opioid alternatives with a patient before prescribing an opioid. The proposal is intended to help reduce the number of drug overdoses, which have been steadily increasing and are now the leading cause of death in the U.S. The bill is now headed to DeSantis! 

2019-4-8 Legislative Update 

We have language to HB 451- Non opioid Alternatives sponsored by Representative Plakon that directs the Department of Health to develop and publish on its website an educational pamphlet regarding the use of non-opioid alternatives to treat pain.

The bill requires that a health care practitioner discuss non-opioid alternatives including acupuncture with a patient prior to prescribing an opioid. The Senate companion, SB 630 Non opioid Directives by Senator Perry, was heard today in Health Policy Committee and includes acupuncture as one of the non opioid alternatives, so now we are in both the House and Senate bills.

HB 451 is ready to be considered on the House floor and could be passed soon. SB 630 still has two more committee stops before it will be eligible to be heard on the Senate Floor.

We Now Have our Own BLS Occupation Code

The acupuncture profession was awarded our own BLS occupation code last year.  It is 29-1199.01.  It is important to use this code when you file your tax returns so the growth of the acupuncture profession can be trackedClick here for more

Great News!! We've gotten some help with paying some of the legal bills from the Dry Needling Court Case. Read here in FloridaPolitics.com what the judge said on 2/26/2019.  His ruling determined that, in Florida, dry needling is Acupuncture and the Board of PT cannot make a rule allowing PTs to practice it

Your Action is Needed.  30% of Florida Legislators are NEW this year. It's time to introduce yourself. Ask them to support FSOMA's bills in the House and Senate which ask that insurance cover alternative therapy as a first tier approach to chronic pain   Click Here for resources to talk to your legislators. 

Dry Needling - An Administrative Court has ruled in our favor Read Entire Judgement Here

Events

2019 FSOMA Conference Registration is Open
August 23-25, 2019
Wyndham Grand Hotel
14651 Chelonia Parkway

Orlando, FL 32821

Click here for more

Save the Date Date: October 25-27, 2019
International Speaker Mary Elizabeth Wakefield is coming to Florida
Constitutional Facial Acupuncture: The New Protocols
Click here for more & to register
 

Boardf Acupuncture Meetings
Go to the Florida Board of Acupuncture Website for the agenda and exact location of each meeting.

Laws and Rules

Florida Statutes

You will be connected to the Florida Legislature website, which is the official custodian of the statutes.

Chapter 457: Acupuncture

Chapter 456:Health Professions & Occupations: General Provisions

Chapter 120: Administrative Procedure Act

Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)

You will be connected to the Florida Department of State: State Library and Archives of Florida website, which is the official custodian of the administrative codes.

Rules: Chapter 64B1:Board of Acupuncture

Rules: Chapter 64B: Division of Medical Quality Assurance