Legislative Action

May, 2015

MAAOM is pleased to announce that a bill for a pilot program using acupuncture to treat Substance Abuse Disorders sponsored by Rep. Deborah Sanderson received an “ought to pass” vote from  the Joint Health and Human Services Committee with only 1 dissenting vote.

Yesterday, the Joint Committee of Health and Human Services recommended LD1090, a bill for a two year pilot detox program using acupuncture with the amendment that only Licensed Acupuncturists would administer the acupuncture. Under this bill Medicaid Reimbursement would cover acupuncture treatment in this detox pilot. The start date may be as early as January 2016.

We  are very grateful to Rep. Sanderson for being such a champion for non-toxic recovery. She has been determined to reduce the use of dangerous and addicting medications in the state detox programs and she felt it was important that MAAOM supported that effort. Acupuncturists will be asked to help with designing and implementing the pilot program.

The bill must still pass a few hurdles.  The CMS office has to grant waiver and a program has to be established to run the pilot. It must, of course, be passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor.

We view this as a recognition of the significance of acupuncture for recovery of substance abuse and it is the first time Medicaid fund have been included in a bill to cover acupuncture treatments. Although as a pilot program it is limited in both scope and length of the project, this is good news for Maine. If the report to the committee after the two year trial is positive and can show a reduction in cost for the state in the area of cost of treatments, for example, the trial could be made a permanent part of the state’s recovery program.

MAAOM was represented by Meret Bainbridge and Jolinda Rockett.

Acupuncture Fact Sheet for Legislators

Essential Health Benefits – MAAOM Position Paper

It is time for acupuncture services to take their proper place in the broader system of health care delivery.

Let’s make Acupuncture an Essential Health Benefit!

Read more on Acupuncture efficacy and cost-effectiveness…
Please click below to read the MAAOM position paper on this topic.

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