Message from the AAMA Board

Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act – H.R. 4803

In January 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) declared that Medicare would cover acupuncture for patients with chronic low back pain under specific criteria ( The acupuncture must be performed by a physician or a licensed acupuncturist (LAc) under the supervision of a physician. The supervising physician then bills Medicare for the treatment.

In July 2021, U.S. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4803, the “Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act” ( The bill was developed in conjunction with the American Society of Acupuncture (ASA), the major organization for licensed acupuncturists in the U.S.

H.R. 4803 calls for CMS to recognize LAcs as primary providers of acupuncture for Medicare beneficiaries. An LAc would not require physician supervision for the treatment. The LAc would also be able to bill Medicare directly.

Last month the AAMA sent a letter to Rep. Chu in support of H.R. 4803. We also voiced our concern that medical acupuncturists must still be authorized to provide Medicare-reimbursable “qualified acupuncture services.” In early July, Gavin Elliott and I, the AAMA Legislative Committee’s co-chairs, met with Rep. Chu’s aide to ask that wording be included in the bill to ensure that trained physicians be included in the definition of “qualified acupuncturist.” The aide felt that this would be best accomplished as the bill passes through the Committee on Energy & Commerce,  the Committee on Ways & Means, and the Subcommittee on Health later in July.

The AAMA Legislative Committee will be following the progress of this bill which currently has 10 Democratic sponsors and one Republican sponsor (see the list below). We encourage you to contact your representatives in support of H.R. 4803 and perhaps even suggest that they sign on as co-sponsors of the bill. The spirit of goodwill and cooperation between the ASA and the AAMA will help to promote acupuncture as a covered treatment for other conditions in the future.


H.R. 4803 Sponsors:

  • *Judy Chu (D – CA)
  • Earl Blumenauer (D – OR)
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (R – PA)
  • Barbara Lee (D – CA)
  • Joseph Neguse (D – CO)
  • Grace Meng (D – NY)
  • Grace Napolitano (D – CA)
  • Eleanor Norton (D – DC)
  • Jimmy Panetta (D – CA)
  • Chellie Pingree (D – ME)
  • Thomas Suozzi (D – NY)

Submitted by Donna Pittman, MD, FAAMA, Co-Chair, AAMA Legislative Committee

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

2022 AAMA Annual Symposium Recordings
Affordable Medical Acupuncture CME
On-demand recorded sessions

Workshop: Treating Musculoskeletal Pain and Dysfunction without Drugs and Surgery: Integrating Dry Needling, Osteopathic Manipulation and Muscle Testing
October 8-9, 2022

35th ICMART World Medical Acupuncture Congress
From Research to Clinical Practice: towards Integrative Medicine
Bologna, Italy
October 14-16, 2022

AAMA Website: Education Listings
The AAMA maintains an ongoing calendar of educational events and professional development opportunities related to medical acupuncture. The calendar is accessible on the AAMA website. Members are encouraged to share events and calendar items from their regions and about educational topics that may be of wider interest among peers and fellow AAMA members.

AAMA News & Announcements

Welcome Our New & Returning AAMA Members

Last month was a BIG month for member recruiting! Please join us in welcoming the following new members who became part of the Academy in June 2022.

  • Virginia L. Alvord, MD, of Lyme, NH
  • Rebecca L. Campos, MD, of El Paso, TX
  • Lois Deaton, MD, of Richmond, IN
  • Margaret A. Irish, DO, of Thornton, CO
  • Amy Johnson, MD, of Lyons, CO
  • Cara Beth Lee, MD, of Seattle, WA
  • Juliet M. Schmalz, MD, of Indianapolis, IN
  • James Scott, DO, of Lewisburg, WV
  • Mark S. Wood, MD, of Hattiesburg, MS

Welcome our members who have returned to the AAMA:

  • Veronica Escobar, MD, of San Antonio, TX
  • Marguerite Evanoff-Jurkovic, DO, of Erie, PA
  • Henry Kenkel, MD, DABMA, of Cincinnati, OH
  • Gloria Liu, MD, of Chapel Hill, NC
  • Simon Yu, MD, of St. Louis, MO

If you have peers or colleagues who aren’t currently members of the AAMA, please encourage them to learn more about the benefits of membership by visiting the website or contacting Janice Brown, the membership committee chair.

Physicians Complete 10-Year Re-Certification Process

Congratulations to the following physicians who have completed the process ( set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) to be re-certified as a Diplomate for another 10 years:

  • Howard Chen, MD, FAAMA of Reno, NV
  • Yuan-Chi Lin, MD, FAAMA of Boston, MA
  • Daniel A. Smolen, DO, DABMA of Boothwyn, PA
  • Nader E. Soliman, MD, FAAMA of Rockville, MD

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

The Legislative Committee continues its work monitoring and responding to legislation relevant to our members and their practice of medical acupuncture. Currently, the committee is monitoring 36 bills regarding acupuncture, chronic pain, substance use disorder, and dry needling. Activity of note includes:

  • Hawaii bills HB1679 and S2276 with practice updates for LAcs are officially dead. Our AAMA member in Hawaii has proposed that multiple parties meet to discuss goals before the legislation is reintroduced next session.

  • Bills to include dry needling in scope of practice for PTs in Hawaii and Washington and athletic trainers in Maryland were defeated.

  • Gavin Elliott, MD, FAAMA, co-chair of the Legislative Committee, will be meeting with an aide for Rep. Judy Chu. While the AAMA supports HR4803, we have asked for an amendment to ensure that physicians will continue to be recognized as qualified to provide acupuncture services to Medicare clients.

The Legislative Committee will continue to watch for bills that affect AAMA members and respond to the authors and co-sponsors appropriately. We will also contact YOU when legislation in your state may affect your ability to practice acupuncture. In that event, we ask that you write your representatives and senators since they prefer to hear directly from their constituents. If you learn of relevant legislative activity, please connect with the committee by email:

Don’t Lose Your AAMA Member Benefits

The AAMA membership year ended June 30, 2022. Don’t let your membership benefits expire! If you haven’t done so already, please take a few minutes and renew your membership today! 

Your AAMA membership comes with valuable benefits, including:


LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER: AAMA Annual Symposium Recordings Expire 8/31

On-Demand 2022 Symposium Recordings

Nearly all of the virtual Symposium sessions were recorded and are available for on-demand viewing. If you were not able to attend in-person, you can now purchase access to the on-demand recording package! Access is available through August 31, 2022.

Topics include:

  • pediatric acupuncture
  • physician wellness and acupuncture
  • perioperative acupuncture
  • facial pain
  • allergies
  • foot and ankle pain
  • battlefield acupuncture
  • hand acupuncture
What Does the On-Demand Package Fee Cover?
  • Symposium Session recording access
  • Up to maximum of 20 CME credits (must complete quiz for each session for credit where applicable)
  • Review of all symposium documentation and materials
  • Exhibit hall access

Workshop: Treating Musculoskeletal Pain and Dysfunction Without Drugs and Surgery: Integrating Dry Needling, Osteopathic Manipulation, and Manual Muscle Testing

October 8-9, 2022
Presenters: Dr. Jay Sandweiss and Dr. Joseph Audette

AAMA members are invited to attend a new workshop presented by Drs. Audette and Sandweiss, which will present a highly effective approach for diagnosing and treating common musculoskeletal problems, such as tennis elbow, golfer elbow, rotator cuff syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee pain, ankle pain, neck, hip and back pain. Attendees will learn to integrate osteopathic manipulation, dry needling and manual muscle testing. Space is limited. Early registration discount expires August 15, 2022.

ICMART 2022 – New Agenda Details Released

Reminder: AAMA members are invited to attend the 35th ICMART World Medical Acupuncture Congress in Bologna, Italy, October 14-16, 2022. The AAMA’s organizational membership in ICMART extends to all AAMA members, who can register for this event at the discounted member rate. This year’s theme is From Research to Clinical Practice: Towards Integrative Medicine. 

Two AAMA leaders are scheduled to present:

  • Nader E. Soliman, MD, FAAMA: “SAAT (Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment) Technique for Treating Allergies A New Magical Auricular Approach”
  • Kendra Unger, MD, FAAMA: “Acupuncture for the Knee”

Learn more and register.

Annual Symposium — Photo Gallery

After two years of COVID-19 interruptions, we were finally able to meet again in-person at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, in Cincinnati, OH, from May 6-8, 2022. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Healing Through Acupuncture. Needed Now More than Ever.” Attendees were happy to see familiar faces again and do some much-needed networking and in-person education. The outstanding program focused on a diverse array of topics that are of interest to health care professionals engaged in, or interested in, incorporating medical acupuncture in their practice. A number of popular annual events returned for this meeting, including the Founders Lecture, Poster Presentation session and plenty of opportunities for networking with colleagues and exhibit companies. View photos from the event.

Are You Following Us?

Join the conversations online with fellow physician acupuncturists from around the country! You can find AAMA on:

There’s even a closed group on Facebook for discussion between members:

In Case You Missed It Last Month

Submit Ideas for 2023 Annual Symposium

2023 Symposium – Save the Date!

Next year, the AAMA Annual Symposium will be held April 13-16, 2023, in the Dallas, TX area. Please add the dates to your calendar now and make plans to join your medical acupuncture peers from around the country.

Do you have ideas for lectures, presentations or workshops for the next Annual Symposium? Reach out and let us know now so the Symposium Committee can consider your topic proposals. Submit a proposal.

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 

Cessation of group battlefield acupuncture visits due to COVID-19: a pilot study
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
Conclusions: Our results suggest that participants may have believed that BFA, camaraderie, and input from nutrition and health psychology services were important contributors to their pain control. The results also suggest that veterans may have suffered worsening pain, used more pain medications, and had worsening quality of sleep and daily function during the COVID-related clinic disruption, and that they were interested in resumption of the program.

Acupuncture in Arterial Hypertension: Evaluation of its Efficacy with Both Office and Ambulatory Blood Pressure Measurements
[High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Prevention]
Conclusions: We found a significant reduction in office, 24 h and day-time ABPM SBP determined by a 6-weeks twice weekly acupuncture cycle that lasts at least for the first two months after its completion.

Research Progress on the Mechanism of Acupuncture Treatment for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
[Gastroenterology Research and Practice]
Conclusions: In many cases, acupuncture is often defined as a “macro” treatment option rather than a “specific agent” targeting a particular disease. However, currently, such a comprehensive, multilevel, and multi-target treatment appears to be better aligned with the characteristics of NAFLD, a disease characterized by complex mechanisms. Based on current clinical evidence, acupuncture treatment has been identified as an effective approach to treat NAFLD.

Acupuncture for Patients With Chronic Tension-Type Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial
We aimed to examine the effectiveness of acupuncture with a follow-up period of 32 weeks. The 8-week TA treatment was effective for the prophylaxis of CTTH. Further studies might focus on the cost-effectiveness of the treatment.


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