Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Medicare Benefits & Veteran Support

NCIRE - The Veterans Health Research Institute (Northern California Institute for Research and Education) has submitted a formal request to the 12th US Congressional Districts’s Citizens Oversight Panel to fund the “Resilience and Wellness Center for the U.S. Warfighter” project. The NICRE supports medical research at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC) and works in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), VA, DoD, and industry. The project seeks to develop treatments for military injuries and deploy them worldwide. This includes training healthcare providers and researchers methods to approach wellness for warfighters and veterans.

Primary areas of focus are psychological health, reintegration, post-traumatic stress, brain trauma, Gulf War illness, heart disease, cancer, infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and chronic kidney and liver diseases. The project seeks to build a prototype resilience and wellness mental and physical health center in San Bruno, CA. A direct benefit to the San Francisco Bay Area military and veterans, this project includes standard medical care combined with complementary and alternative medicines. Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and nutritional resources are included in the project. Research at the center will focus on patient outcomes and determine methods for disseminating medical care worldwide. The NCIRE receives support from recording artist John Mayer. Proceeds from his concerts have helped to fund the NCIRE. Mayer’s latest contributions will come from his collaboration with Tickets-for-Charity in his upcoming Battle Studies World Tour. This high-profile support helps to bring treatment and awareness for comprehensive recovery and recuperation methods to warfighters and veterans.

In related news, Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York’s 22nd Congressional District continues his work to get the Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act passed in the US House of Representatives.  Hinchey’s bill, the Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act, adds acupuncture therapy to the Medicare and Federal Employees Health Benefits programs. Hinchey notes that "Passage of this bill would provide 52 million Americans with health coverage for acupuncture services. This is the humane thing to do and I encourage my colleagues to pass this important piece of legislation…. The majority of private insurers cover acupuncture, yet the federal government's health plans continue to ignore this very valid and effective form of medical treatment.  In a country as great as ours no American should ever be denied access to any legitimate forms of medical care that can make them healthier and more comfortable."

Hinchey’s support for acupuncture dates back to 1976 when he wrote legislation as a New York State Assemblyman that licensed acupuncture professionals. An early pioneer in acupuncture legislation, now almost every state licenses acupuncturists. As US Congressman, Hinchey now has over 51 supporters for the Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act.

Another early adopter of acupuncture licensing is California’s gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. In California, acupuncturists were commonly arrested and prosecuted for engaging in the practice of acupuncture. In 1972, the CA Board of Medical Examiners began regulating acupuncture for use in medical schools. In 1975, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law legalizing the practice of acupuncture by licensed acupuncturists.