Information regarding – ‘Congressional Bill — H.R. 3133 — the Acupuncture for our Seniors Act’
For the many Medicare patients who value Acupuncture treatment for low back pain, it’s frustrating when they find that their local Acupuncturist cannot bill their Medicare insurance for this treatment.
Explanation of Medicare and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Let’s clarify; our senior healthcare system is divided into two distinct camps, 1) Medicare and 2) the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
1) – The Medicare group creates the template for healthcare coverage, i.e. what’s covered in the plan.
2) – CMS decides who can participate in this healthcare coverage and currently, CMS does not recognize Acupuncturists as Medicare Providers.
Introduction of Bill H.R. 3133
Through state Acupuncture groups like the ‘Acupuncture Society of America’ (ASA) and our national organization the ‘National Certification Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’ (NCCAOM) our lobbyists have endorsed H.R. 3133.
Below are highlights of the current status.
1.) ‘H.R. 3133 the Acupuncture for our Seniors Act’ Bill was reintroduced to the 118th Congress on May 9, 2023
2.) The Bill has bipartisan support: Judy Chu (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the bill
3.) approximately 100 Acupuncturists met with the staff of 60 congressional representatives from 25 states
4.) the Bill would authorize CMS to recognize Acupuncturists as Medicare providers, and therefore allow our profession to provide direct billing for services
5.) under this Bill, only Acupuncture services related to low back pain have been referenced, additional ICD-10 requests are many years in the future, and until the profession is recognized not needed.
I was fortunate to be in Washington DC, along with a hundred-plus other Acupuncturists from around the country, to attend the launch of this Bill, and meet with congressional representatives’ offices to request support.
This launch was the opening foray of which there will be many more.
The Bill will go to committee to determine the next step.
We’ll update you as more information becomes available.