External Communications Committee
Chair, Lindy Camardella
This has been an active month for the ECC!
We followed up with the CDC comments regarding acupuncture as an effective treatment for pain, as they are looking for 100 stakeholders to interview by phone and discuss acute and chronic pain management. I was also interviewed by Under Amour; they are highlighting Auricular Acupuncture and weight loss.
More buzz is being generated about our medicine and we are in need of at least four more people to join our committee so we can respond to everything in a timely manner and start having meetings. It is an exciting committee where you get to collaborate on projects, make a great impact on our profession, and give your creativity an outlet. Watch this video to learn more about what makes the External Communications Committee a great committee to serve on: ECC Committe Movie - HD 720p.mov
Chair, Zeyiad Elias
The Governance Committee (GC) is ready to accept applicants for members. To learn more, please visit the "Committees" page on the ASA website. You will find the GC's charter detailing its purpose, structure, expecations, and first year goals. If you are interested in serving on this integral committee, please complete the application.
Chair, Linda Robinson-Hidas
The ASA Herbal Medicine Committee has been focused on creating policies and procedures to ensure the best use of our volunteer’s time.
We are also continuing the work creating documents such as the ASA best practices for prescribing herbal medicine during the COVID-19 crisis. All ASA BOD approved documents for publication can be found on the ASA website.
We are looking for new members for the newly formed media response working group who will survey mainstream media and respond appropriately. The time requirements of this position can be tailored to fit the member’s needs after an initial training.
The purpose of the Media Response Working Group is to survey mainstream media and respond appropriately. Below is a list of what is needed to create an online resource document to help guide our responses as well as what is needed from each of our responders:
Build an organized online resource document which contains:
- Common misinformation that has been spread before
- Prepared responses for common misinformation
- Links to quality resources, documentation and statements
- Plug and play scripts for making online response comments
- Contact list of subject experts who can be alerted to specific issues
Create a core team of responders. Responders will:
- Collect and build resources listed above
- Monitor news and social media feeds looking for issues
- Network on social media asking for support to find issues
- Have authority to respond quickly on behalf of the ASA
- Will coordinate with each other to formulate additional responses
- Will document all online responses for review by the ASA board
If you are interested in participating in the Media Response Working Group, please email HerbalMedicine@asacu.org.
Chair, Mori West
In April of 2020, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS” or “Medicare”) released the pricing for acupuncture CPT codes 97810, 97811, 97813 and 97814. This followed the January announcement that Medicare will begin covering acupuncture for chronic low back pain.
In response, TriWest (one of two companies that processes claims for veterans) began immediately reducing their reimbursement amounts and submitting recoupment requests to providers for processed claims. (Optum, the other company, is currently taking over claims processing for TriWest; they sent their providers a notice that they will be using Medicare reimbursement rates effective September 1, 2020.) The ASA Insurance Committee received many complaints from providers about these changes and set forth to investigate.
Over the past several months, the ASA Insurance Committee has been reaching out to TriWest to address our members’ concerns and gain greater clarity regarding their claims processing procedures. Our initial attempts were disregarded, but we persisted and now have great news to report.
TriWest confirmed that they are obligated by their contract with the VA to pay claims using Medicare methodology. They calculate the rates as follows: Published Medicare rates for service minus the contracted percent reduction, and then further reduced the claims by 15% based on Medicare's Reimbursement Methodology for mid-level providers. (In addition, modalities are also subject to a multiple procedure reduction.)
In response to our inquiries,TriWest contacted the VA to request an exemption to some of the Medicare rules. Triwest informed us that the "VA responded with authority for TriWest to remove the mid-level provider reduction required by Medicare." TriWest is now in the process of reprogramming their claims processing system, and will not apply the 15% reduction for acupuncture claims for dates of service beginning September 1. However, TriWest did not provide information about whether they would reimburse claims reduced prior to September 1st or follow up on our other claims processing concerns as of yet.
We are continuing to converse with TriWest. In addition, ASA Insurance Committee has been in contact with Veterans Affairs to request their facilitation and willingness to serve as advocates on our behalf. We will report the results of our conversations in an upcoming newsletter.
Member Benefits Committee
Chair, Amy Lewis
The Member Benefits Committee will be responsible for creating opportunities to attract new members to state associations as well as improve loyalty and excitement about being a current member. These benefits can be varied and its important for us to know a. what our members would like to see in the way of benefits and b. help the state associations get the word out regularly about these benefits to attract new members and retain current members.
Our first year goals are:
1. Survey membership to find out which benefits are most attractive.
2. Streamline benefits (and the vendors who provide them) to have better negotiating power as a national organization and to take the burden from each state to negotiate their own benefits.
3. Identify and deliver new, high value benefits for members
4. Create a partner (vendor) database so that we can better manage relationships and keep an organizational memory so that we can strategically strengthen our corporate and institutional partners.
5. Assist other committees as needed to help accomplish (conference and communication, for example) to strengthen and streamline the overall operation of the ASA.
Chair, Christine Cronin
Do you love teaching but hate worrying about the test at the end? We agree with you and would love to have you be a mentor for the ASA Mentorship Program.
Currently, we have placed 12 mentors and 12 mentees and I only have 3 mentors and 5 mentees who have completed orientation left to place. With orientation now being a recorded rather than live event, I expect that number of mentees requiring placement to increase significantly. Needless to say, we really need mentors, especially those with a strong herbal background. Additionally, since most mentees would like to follow their mentor in clinic, it is very important that mentors carry malpractice insurance. I know some states do not require acupuncturists to carry malpractice insurance, however, for this program it is needed.
To begin the process, the following documents need to be either completed or reviewed by all Mentors and Mentees:
1. A Google Form titled ASA Mentor/Mentee Program Agreement (that we need you to complete)
2. Two Google documents (for review)
As stated above, we also made an improvement to the program, we made the orientation a recording instead of live and made it shorter in order to ensure everyone has the same base of information coming into this program. For the orientation piece, I ask each of you to do the following:
1. Please watch the orientation video (I am happy to report that it is just under 4 minutes long): ASA Mentorship Orientation Video and;
2. Read over the Orientation pdf (11 slides)
3. Lastly, please complete the ASA Mentorship Program-Orientation Completion Form
Once these steps are completed, I can start matching each of you with a mentee. Almost all mentees who have attended orientation, have been placed. If a mentee or mentor has not been placed, it is because I have not found a good fit for that specific mentor or mentee yet.
Also, to everyone, but especially to our new graduates and those who are looking for a change, please do not forget to check out our ASA Job Openings Board. Over 90+ pages in state alphabetical order of positions and practices for sale.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at email@example.com
Chair, Sarah Prater
The Nominating Committee has finalized the details of the new Committee Application
. We are hopeful this application and process will help us vet and place applicants on committees where their skills are best utilized. If you are interested in doing committee work, please complete the application
We also continued work on an updated confidentiality policy. We believe the council should weigh in on how much confidentiality they want and need on our email list, so we are starting with a council discussion. We trust this discussion and the pending vote will guide the creation and implementation of a new policy that will guide the actions of state representatives and facilitate discussion on ASA policy for many years to come.
The Nominating Committee is also continuing work to seek and vet qualified candidates for the ASA board with hopes that we have a ready pool of qualified applicants when positions on the board become available. If you are interested in applying to be an ASA board member, please reach out via email. We are also working with various states to support them through the application process to become ASA members. We look forward to increasing our membership and encourage interested states to reach out to learn more about the application process.
Lastly, we are in search of one additional committee member. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Nominating Committee, please send us an email. Our email is: NomCom@ASAcu.org.
Chair, Alex Russell
Our committee met on July 7th and had many major issues to discuss. It’s been a busy yet uncertain month for students. Mainly we discussed cultural competency, Medicare inclusion, and international student restrictions. On the latter, a committee member was quick to create a resource document for students which was shared with the board. The international restrictions have since been resolved but we are ready to support students with resources however we can.
The majority of our time was on Medicare inclusion and clearing up any rumors students were hearing/had. I encouraged them to stick with the ASA/ HPAI resources, read over the Medicare fact sheet and ask any questions before participating in the survey.
We were reached out to and asked to appoint a student to represent the student committee for a cultural competency group. Further updates TBD.
I had a meeting with CCAOMs Student Affairs Committee and look forward to working together. We discussed trying to have something positive to share with students and decided to focus on sending schools information about the ASA Mentorship program.
I also attended the TBI communications strategic planning meeting and will continue to stay involved in that.
Our committee is still navigating how to support students through all the uncertainty right now. Many students are looking to us, the state associations and the ASA for support. Please don’t forget to check in with your students right now.
Thanks to Christine, almost all mentees who have attended orientation, have been placed. If a mentee or mentor has not been placed, it is because she has not found a good fit yet. Please encourage students to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if they would like to sign up.
AUGUST Update: Students are looking for support as they start or return for their fall semester, there are many unknowns and supportive communication is key. Take this time to reach out to the area or surrounding schools. Many students benefited from Lunch and Learn style meet and greets last year. These can easily be set up virtually and only take about 1 hour. Take this opportunity to discuss the important topics-Who we are and why they should join their State Association. Our committee met Tuesday, August 12th. I shared the update on the decision for Medicare Inclusion and encouraged them to take and pass along the Cultural Competency Survey. Thank you so much to all the State Associations who took time to fill out the student data spreadsheet. We are reviewing the comments and will reach out to those who added questions. Currently, we are looking for three enthusiastic and driven students to join our committee. Please reach out to Alex at email@example.com.
VA / DOD Course Program
Chair, Christine Cronin
On August 20, 2020, The DOD/VA Orientation Course Committee met with NCCAOM to begin to outline our possible areas of responsibility for creating a 5 module course that focus on the following areas: Military Rank Structure/Military Culture, Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Inter-Professional Communication/Professionalism and System Based Practice. These modules can be taken as individual courses or as a course series. This was done so that the series would have broader appeal and serve more of our profession. Our next meeting with take place on October 1, 2020. Thank you to Amy Mager, Leslie Smith, Jason Sargis, Patrick Sonnenberg, Erin Raskin and Heather Klein for serving on this committee as well as Mina Larson, Iman Majd and Nicholas Dougherty for their willingness to discuss working with us on this course series.