Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Embraces the Triple Aim

Its association has been invited by Dr. Bruce Goldberg to participate in a new advisory group on how to integrate complementary and alternative medicine into the state's healthcare programs.


OPINION -- Six months into presiding over the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM), I see an organization in the midst of enormous transformation and professional opportunity. Today we are at a pivotal moment for balancing the needs of the future with the lessons of the past.

I am proud to be an Oregonian; the state is at the forefront of a healthcare revolution. By embracing the "triple aim" of the Affordable Care Act — better health and better care at lower cost — Oregon has created a robust and well advertised exchange to increase options, access and quality. This includes exciting options like the Oregon Co-op, which offers competitive prices and unprecedented access to complementary care. As a testament to the Oregon Exchange's efforts, the number of hits on the Cover Oregon website on opening day represented about 21 percent of the uninsured in the state — and that was in spite of a federal government shutdown!

What does this unprecedented emphasis on health promotion, access and integration mean for Oregon's acupuncturists and their patients? One example is the passage of HB 5030. This bill will lead to a projected increase of 180,000 people receiving Oregon Health Plan (OHP) benefits in 2014 and a total projected increase of 240,000 by 2015. This significant expansion in Medicaid access has special meaning as a direct result of the OAAOM / OCOM collaboration on submitting evidence to the state of Oregon. Gains in OHP coverage for acupuncture are doubly rewarded as thousands more Oregonians now have access to acupuncture through OHP.

On the collaborative front, OAAOM leadership has been invited by Bruce Goldberg, Director of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to sit alongside biomedical and CAM peer professionals as members of a newly formed Integrative Medical Advisory group. This group was created to provide advice to the OHA about how to best integrate a variety of complementary and alternative medicine practices into our state's healthcare programs, assure access and choice of care to clients, promote and assure quality of care, and appropriately credential practitioners.

With AOM Day just around the corner (October 24!), there is much to reflect upon and celebrate. Yet how do we really make the most of today's opportunities? OAAOM's first ever strategic planning process generated five directions for change and puts the association on the path to meet future challenges and templates for meaningful action.

The "elements" of the OAAOM's new strategic plan

I look forward to sharing our plans and initiatives with all of our community stakeholders. The OAAOM is committed to empowering its member LAcs, building community throughout Oregon and strengthening the association's foundation to secure access to AOM care and enhance the well-being of individuals, providers and communities across Oregon. I hope you can join us in this vision.

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