H.R. 3133 - Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act of 2023 was introduced by Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in coordination with the ASA in Washington, DC. Over 150 members of the TCM community stayed for an additional day after the 2023 ASA Annual Conference to meet with their representatives in Congress in support of the bill.
What does the bill do?
In 2020, U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added acupuncture as a covered service for chronic lower back pain. However, CMS is not able to authorize new providers, meaning that acupuncture can only be covered if provided by a physician, physician's assistant, or nurse.
H.R. 3133 would recognize qualified acupuncturists as healthcare providers. Medicare recognition would enable qualified acupuncturists to provide covered services to Medicare beneficiaries—over 60 million Americans.
What is the impact?
“Medicare beneficiaries are projected to increase from 63 to 80 million in the next seven years, so this bill is critical in removing barriers to the increasing demand for a safe, non-pharmacological option to pain and improved health. The ASA applauds Representative Judy Chu, Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, and all involved for understanding the need to solve the opioid crisis while also decreasing healthcare costs and improving long term outcomes,” Olivia Hsu Friedman, DACM, L.Ac., ASA Chair - read the full ASA and NCCAOM press release here.
What can I do to help?
We at Treasure of the East enthusiastically support H.R. 3133 - when the bill was initially introduced to the 2022-2023 congress, we worked along with the other hosts of the World Chinese Medicine Forum to create a system for contacting representatives in support of the bill. We also attended the 2023 ASA fly-in to advocate for Medicare recognition of Acupuncturists.
If you want to get involved, contact your representative expressing your support for H.R. 3133 and your hope that they will support the bill. You can write your own letter or email, or use our template:
Support the H.R. 3133 - Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act
As your constituent, I encourage you to support or co-sponsor H.R. 3133 along with Representatives Judy Chu
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began covering acupuncture for chronic lower back pain in January 2020. However, patients still need to pay out of pocket for the treatment and are unable to get reimbursement from the CMS because qualified licensed acupuncturists are not listed as healthcare provider within the CMS system.
H.R. 3133 would authorize CMS to recognize qualified acupuncturists as Medicare providers, as well as enabling acupuncturists to bill Medicare directly for their services. Over 60-million Medicare beneficiaries could have direct access to acupuncture treatment from the most qualified providers of acupuncture service as a result.
Evidence-based research has proven that acupuncture is a safe, effective, low-cost treatment for pain. Acupuncture therapy can effectively reduce the dependency and abuse of opioid analgesics in patients with chronic pain, thereby reducing the related serious social issues.
As a licensed acupuncturist, [YOUR PERSONAL STORY HERE]
I ask that you please support Judy Chu’s bipartisan H.R. 3133 bill to make licensed acupuncturists Medicare providers and benefit the people of our district and beyond.
Print Name: ___________
I hereby express that I fully understand the above and authorize the uses, disclosures and re-disclosures of my testimonial and the specific information as set forth above with legislators, lobbyists, policy makers, acupuncture organizations or the public, only to promote the HR 4803, and to encourage the acupuncture in seeking legislative and other changes as well as any other promotional or educational purposes.