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The ASM has some exciting new developments to share with you regarding providing acupuncture to MassHealth members. Members of the ASM Board of Directors and ASM members had a meaningful and productive meeting with MassHealth officials Monday, August 10th, facilitated by Liz Gipson, Managing Director of Clinical Policy at MassHealth.

We discussed the provision of physician supervision which currently prevents many acupuncturists from providing services to MassHealth patients. While MassHealth has had coverage for acupuncture, acupuncturists were not able to bill directly, and needed to be under the supervision of an MD in order to have treatments covered.

This meeting has taken years to facilitate. The ASM started advocating for this change in policy in 2013, under the leadership of ASM past chair Rebecca Schirber. In continued efforts, please see Linda Robinson Hidas’ letter to Governor Baker in 2015: here

We had a significant and productive conversation Monday that gives hope for policy revisions within MassHealth. Masshealth is working to include coverage of acupuncture, billable by licensed acupuncturists who are working as independent clinicians, for July 2021. The policy is to include coverage for 20 acupuncture visits without prior authorization for the treatment of pain, nausea (from the causes of chemotherapy, pregnancy or surgery), and substance use disorders. These are the same conditions the ASM has asked for coverage from the Division of Insurance ASM Response to DOI and which are covered under bill S1283, now in the Ways and Means Committee of the Senate.

This marks an exciting new opportunity for our profession to show the incredible value of our medicine. The current provisions within MassHealth reduced access to care for the more than 1.8 million people who are currently enrolled in MassHealth. Many people who did not have access to acupuncture will now be able to seek treatment. This is a great opportunity for our profession to show the incredible value of our medicine.

Thank you to our members for your continued support and advocacy for our profession! We could not do this work without you.

How can I help?
Please understand that advocacy is all connected. The work that we have done with the MassHealth and the Division of Insurance influences legislators and vice versa. Please  contact the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Senator Rodrigues and tell him to report S1283 out of the Ways and Means Committee favorably and to a vote on the floor. This would increase access to acupuncture for patients experiencing Pain, PTSD, Nausea or Opiate addiction.

Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.com, 617-722-1114 
also CC his legislative aide Jeremy Spittle: Jeremy.Spittle@masenate.gov

Participants Included:
MassHealth Officials:
Liz Gibson, Managing Director of Clinical Policy
Dr. Monica Le, MD, MPH, Senior Associate Medical Director
Hai Nguyen, Fee For Service Program Manager
Jacki Chalas, Physician Program Manager

ASM Board and members
President Emilie Gerber-Kunicka
Secretary Naomi Alson
Past Chair Linda Robinson Hidas
Amy Mager, Vice Chair Public Policy ASA
Neil Pregozen