October 2020 Newsletter

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From the Chair

Dear Colleagues,

As the colorful autumn leaves fall from tree branches to the cooling ground, we are reminded that moving to each season of growth involves letting go.

Fond Farewell

This month, Candace Sarges decided to step down from the ASA Board to spend more time with her family.  For over 9 years, Candace has played a pivotal leadership role in the development of the ASA, first as Chair of the Council of State Associations, next as the Immediate Past Chair of the newly formed ASA, then lending her prior corporate financial experience to the role of Treasurer.  Her institutional memory has been instrumental in transitioning and guiding two terms of chairs and numerous board members.  Candace will be missed in the daily activities of the Board of Directors; however, she will continue to share her expertise as Chair of the Strategic Planning Group.  On behalf of the entire ASA, I would like to thank Candace for her selfless and magnanimous service to our profession.  We wish her well and much deserved newfound time to enjoy her board retirement.

As a door closes, a window opens

Though we will miss Candace, an open position allows for new blood, new ideas and new perspectives into the fold.  If you are interested in playing a leadership role in moving the profession to new heights or have talents and skill sets from a previous life that would help the ASA to achieve its goals, the Nominating Committee is now accepting board member applications (please email: to receive an application) and committee applications for several committee chair and member positions.  Please check-out the new newsletter section “Committee Position Openings” to see what positions best suit your interests.

Now is a very exciting time to become involved with creating the future of our profession.  And if you are unable to dedicate time and energy to a defined position, please join the ASA by becoming a member of your state organization.  As you will read in this issue’s Advocacy committee’s update, the steps to pursuing Medicare for licensed acupuncturists will require solidarity, strength in numbers and funding to support the effort.   Every positive contribution from every acupuncturist will make a difference in building our next season of growth.

So, enjoy this month’s newsletter issue.  We look forward to seeing your applications and new memberships!  And I wish you and your loved ones a splendid season of abundance as we move into the holidays.


Olivia Hsu Friedman
ASA Chair

Major ASA Developments

CMS proposed fee schedule poses challenges for acupuncture reimbursement 

by David Miller, MD, LAc, and Margaret Chesney, PhD 


To read the full article in Integrative Practitioner, please click here


What We Are Doing Now
Advocacy Committee
Chair, Jennifer Broadwell

The Advocacy Committee is working with our stakeholders for Medicare recognition of Licensed Acupuncturists and creating a strategic outreach plan. We will keep you posted with updates here and in Acupuncture Today.

We are collaborating with the ASA Research Committee as we gather appropriate data and with the External Communications Committee as we move forward with clear, consistent messaging.  We will be including an infographic to clarify the process of when, where and how we will be asking for your help.

Our success will largely be tied to our ability to work together. The Advocacy Committee is creating a toolkit and training program that will guide our efforts with best practices, bill specific talking points and outlined strategic goals. 

Please reach out to your state association and ask how to get involved in future grassroots advocacy to support the federal efforts. Contact with any questions.

External Communications Committee
Chair, Lindy Camardella

The External Communications Committee has started having regular meetings. We are working closely with Advocacy and the Insurance Committees to put together meaningful and easy to read information to help inform our profession about all of the ongoing developments. There is so much information to share and things are just getting started - if you have an eye for design or like to help educate others about our medicine, let us know! Please contact Lindy at
Governance Committee
Chair, David Bock

The Governance Committee has a new chair in David Bock, a long time presence in the CSA and the ASA. David is currently evaluating the concerns and projects that the Governance committee will be addressing over the next year or so. He will be looking for people with a wide variety of skills, particularly in the areas of ethics, legal and organization management to join this committee. 
Herbal Committee
Chair, Linda Robinson-Hidas

The Herbal Medicine Committee’s next task is to prepare a rapid response plan including sourced information and a response working group for responding quickly to false, misleading or inaccurate information that is presented online through news media, Blogs and social media.

The FDA and the FTC continue to issue warning letters and cease and desist letters. Please do not claim to prevent, treat, cure or mitigate COVID-19. These agencies have looked at websites, Facebook posts, Instagram and Twitter for this information. For more guidance, please see the ASA Best Practices for Prescribing Herbal Medicine During the COVID-19 Crisis

We are looking for new members for this 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.

Insurance Committee
Chair, Mori West

As usual, we’ve been busy!  We’ve completed a review of Acupuncture policies for a major Utilization and Management company and have been invited to have a meeting to collaborate further.  We’ve also been working with a smaller U/M company as they work out issues associated with Medicare Advantage plans and the new CMS Acupuncture policy.

We’re waiting on a response to 2 letters we’ve sent to the VA.  We’ve recognized that the VA CCN program should be following CMS guidelines which allows for up to 3 units of acupuncture, while the VA’s contractors, TriWest and Optum are only authorizing 2 units.  We also want clarification on the starting date for the new CMS reimbursement as we’ve seen TriWest using an April 1st date, while the VA in previous correspondence confirmed June 24th as the start date.

We had our first virtual meeting with the Insurance Liaisons for each state and had a terrific turnout.  We got to hear about the needs in their state as well as introduce the new form we will use for problem solving.  We explained what is happening with the VA program, as there are many issues involving acupuncture providers and will be following up by providing additional documentation and resources they can share with their members.

Member Benefits Committee
Chair, Amy Lewis

The Member Benefits Committee has decided that its work will not only benefit the ASA, but also the growth and financial health of each state association.

As such, each state association will be represented on this committee.  The Member Benefits Committee has already contacted all member associations to identify participants.  We look forward to working with every state to develop a collective strategy and prioritize benefits for all members!

If you are interested in becoming more involved on behalf of your state association, please reach out to your state’s ASA delegates.

Mentorship Program
Chair, Christine Cronin

It is official! The ASA Mentorship Program is now approved for PDA points.  

Mentors:  10 PDA points under the Clinical Supervision PE Activity
Mentees: 10 PDA points under the Clinical Experience PE Activity

If you know anyone who is interested in being a mentor, please contact me at

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

Nominating Committee
Chair, Sarah Prater

This month, the Nominating Committee continued work on streamlining the  committee application process. Our focus was to create a smooth, fast, and reliable way to convey information to the respective committee chairs, so they can quickly and appropriately fill committee openings. Committee chairs were sent the new procedure and instructions on 10/20 and are encouraged to email us with any questions or suggestions. We’re excited to report that we’ve had another 9 applications come through in the last month for committee positions. 

The Nominating Committee is currently looking for at least one additional member. Anyone interested in joining an ASA committee should fill out this application. 

We are also in the process of working through the application and vetting process with additional state associations interested in joining the ASA. The next ASA meeting is scheduled on 1/28/2021.  If your state would like to be considered for a council vote, the Nom Com needs completed applications by the end of November to allow time for vetting and a bylaws-required 30 day comment period before the council vote.  If your state would like to join, please fill out this application

In light of Candace Sarges stepping off the board, we are currently looking to fill one ASA board position. If you are interested or would like to nominate someone, please reach out to for more information. 

We are also continuing work on collecting documentation from states that were grandfathered into the ASA. We are specifically looking for bylaws, incorporation documents, and tax status documentation. If your state has not sent in your documentation, please reach out to

Student Committee
Chair, Alex Russell

The Student Committee met on Tuesday Oct. 13th. We are in need of student leaders and voices. We have three leadership positions open. Our committee is still navigating how to support students as they return to school. Many students are looking to us, the state associations and the ASA for support. We were so happy to take part in Acupuncture Medicine Day. We are working on some important student resources. If you are a student or know a student who would like to join the student committee, please connect with us by emailing or fill out an application through the website.

VA / DOD Course Program
Chair, Christine Cronin

It was brought to my attention this week that the VA is in the process of creating an orientation course of their own. 

We have some exciting ideas how to use the information we created for the betterment of our profession, which we will share when we reach a consensus as a committee. I am grateful to the efforts of Amy Mager, Leslie Smith, Jason Sargis, Patrick Sonnenberg, Erin Raskin and Heather Klein. Incredible work has been created by this group and we are going to put it to good use.

Committee Openings

Are you looking for ways to serve the profession?

The following committees have openings - please join us!

Advocacy Committee: 1 Instagram person
External Communications Committee: 1 graphic designer or someone who loves to educate people about our medicine
Governance Committee: 5 committee position openings
Membership Committee: 1 chair position, 3 committee positions open
Nominating Committee: 1 committee position open
Student Committee: 5 leadership positions open

Anyone interested in joining an ASA committee should fill out this application. 

ASA Joint Developments


Acupuncture Medicine Cultural Competency Task Force

Acupuncture Medicine Day 

On October 24, 2020, the NCCAOM & ASA celebrated the 18th Annual Acupuncture Medicine Day.  Afua Bromley and LiMing Tseng, co-chairs of the Acupuncture Medicine Cultural Competency Task Force hosted the Acupuncture Medicine Day, with an online event with the theme of cultural competence to celebrate community and diversity in our profession. With a record of 6,000 registrations divided amongst our four panels, participants learned about the topics of cultural appreciation/appropriation, community outreach, global outreach, and cultural celebration of our patients and practitioners.  Recordings are available on the ASA & NCCAOM websites. 

Thank you to all those who attended (or will watch the recordings of) our discussions. The Acupuncture Medicine Cultural Competency Task Force would also like to share our Cultural Competency Self Assessment and Resource Guide. While our resources are by no means complete, we hope that these cultural competency tools along with our panel discussions will serve as a beginning resource to guide our profession forward. Cultural competency is an evolutionary process. The journey of self-assessment and self-cultivation may be uncomfortable and may take a lifetime. It may also lead us to be better practitioners so we may better serve our patients in a safe and healing environment.

Li and Afua are indebted to the amazingly committed and talented NCCAOM staff who made this all feasible and to our dedicated NCCAOM-ASA Cultural Competency Taskforce members: Jeffrey Bloom, Nichelle Cieri, Omar Haye, Safiya McCarter, Mark McKenzie, Misti Oxford-Pickeral and Chloe Weber.

For those waiting for their NCCAOM PDA certificates, please be aware that there are 6,000 certificates to be generated as it may take 4-6 weeks. For those who requested California CEUs, we will be contacting you to complete a CAB Evaluation Form! If you requested CAB credits and do not receive an email from us by the end of November, please contact us at or

The ASA & NCCAOM would like to thank all those who submitted videos for our contest. Congratulations to our winners!
  1. Deborah Earley’s video Earley Wellness Group COVID-19 Protocol, won the best video in the category of “Acupuncture Safety during COVID.” 

  2. Louis Jin’s video, The Point Is, won the best video in the category of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Acupuncture.”

  3. Dan Wunderlich’s video Bringing Acupuncture Medicine to the Underserved won the best video in the category of “Acupuncture Accessibility and Community Engagement.”

Thank you to all participants for your time and effort to make this celebration shine! All video entries are available on the NCCAOM YouTube channel.

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State Association Updates


November 10th  6 - 7 PM PST California Advocacy Town Hall! Come meet our lobbyist and see what legislative agenda we have planned for 2021. JOIN US!

November 12th  5 -7 PM PST Free Webinar - Carolyn Reuben will be presenting Why Amino Acids are an Acupuncturist's Best Friend REGISTER TODAY!


The Maryland Acupuncture Society presents:
Face Reading for Telehealth                                   
with Lillian Pearl Bridges

November 7, 2020
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST


This course is a live webinar event!
Register Here
Face Reading is considered an important part of the ancient “looking diagnosis” of Chinese Medicine. As a diagnostic tool, it adapts easily for use in Telehealth, especially if photos are also used. This two-hour class will teach practitioners how to read the health signs on a patient’s face. Special emphasis will be placed on evaluating the Wei Qi area of the face and analyzing the features, colors and markings that give insight into current organ function. The information presented will be immediately usable in practice.
Students Will Learn:
  • To recognize the health of the Wei Qi/Immune System
  • How to determine inherent organ function from the features
  • How to read the colors and markings on the face to understand current organ function
For help with questions, please email

Acupuncture Society of Massachusetts is looking for board members. If you are ready and willing to serve, please contact

A Recap of the WISCA 2020 CEU event and Annual Meeting
 (VIRTUAL VIA ZOOM) Sun,  Oct 18, 2020


In-line with previous years, on a cool Autumn Sunday, WISCA (Wisconsin Society of Acupuncturists) held its 2020 CEU event and Annual Meeting, however, this year, due to the pandemic, like many other state associations, our WISCA annual meeting was completely held virtually via Zoom.  Nearly 40 WISCA members, and students spent almost a full day glued to their mobile devices or laptops as they first attended the early morning CEU event, headlined by two renowned experts in their field: Dr. Yubin Lu of Minnesota in Chinese Herbology, and Dr. Tenisha Dandridge of California in Trauma Informed Care / Racial Equity, then later stayed around for the afternoon WISCA business meeting after lunch. On behalf of WISCA, the BOD send its thanks to all attendees for their commitment in making WISCA’s inaugural all-virtual meeting a success!  

On Sunday, October 18, 2020, at 8am CST,  with some soothing background music accompanying the wonderful reading of Tao Te Ching, by Wayne Dyer, the meeting opened with a brief introduction by Megan Bielinski (Vice President of WISCA) who also shared the recent good news that an official proclamation of Acupuncture Medicine Day 2020 was issued by WI Governor Tony Evers. Then, Dr. Louis Jin (President of WISCA) briefly gave some housekeeping rules and began to host Dr. Lu’s lecture, titled “Dealing with the Pandemic Diseases with Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine," in which he first reviewed the etiology and pathogenesis recognized by TCM experts in China, then discussed related syndrome and pattern differentiation, and finally explained the applications of commonly used Chinese herbs dealing the pandemic diseases. After a brief intermission, Megan Bielinski began to host Dr. Dandridge’s talk, titled “Community Centered Care - Addressing Racial Battle Fatigue," which she addressed the racial and cultural gap among our profession and how might one use music therapy (e.g., Drumming) to close the gap. Due to the extreme informative nature of both lectures, the time allocated went slightly over the expected frame, so during a shortened lunch break, Dr. Jin showed his 2019 theatrical documentary-short that was made in Milwaukee: “The Point Is, Alternatives for Opiates”. It garnished much attention from the public in a recent poll (1200 votes) and was eventually chosen by NCCAOM/ASA panel of judges to best embody Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Video Contest celebrating Acupuncture Medicine Day 2020.

In the afternoon business meeting, following Dr. Jin’s “State of the WISCA” address, each present BOD and committee co-chair took their turn and provided committee summary reports for the attendants, respectively. Then, the Treasurer and primary WISCA delegate to ASA, Michelle Meramour gave a comprehensive WISCA 2020 financial report with a preliminary budget for 2020-21, which showed that there was a 35% increase in membership between 2019 and 2020 and the society’s legislative fund is soundly in black. Later, Alison Werner, secretary of WISCA, introduced the upcoming election of several candidates for two Members at Large positions, a new student liaison position as well as a replacement for her own position as the new secretary. During the last 15 mins, the mics in the meeting were unmuted so all attendees could interact and discuss various issues related to ASA, VA, Medicare with the BOD members, drawing a wonderful conclusion to the meeting. Special thanks to outgoing Secretary Alison Werner and Student liaison Rachel Laclair for a job well-done as well as the tremendous work by the rest of the 2019-20 BOD (Louis Jin, Megan Bielinski, Michelle Meramour, Phil Stamos and Elizabeth Eberius) along with the rest of the Committee co-chairs, especially Carolyn Micek of Membership and Chanta Van Laanen of Education for putting together countless hours in organizing the event! Thanks to the presence and long-standing support from past leaders of WISCA Kelly Hora, David Bock, Kate Behrens, Doreen Giles, Heather Eldridge and many others. Looking forward to 2021, if and when the pandemic is over and allows us to gather around once again, for face-face meetings.
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