AAMA Symposium being planned
The theme of AAMA's 15th Annual Symposium will be, Medical Acupuncture in the 21st Century: Balancing the Art and Science of Healing, announces Symposium Chair Roberto A. Jodorkovsky, MD, DABMA, FAAMA.
Scheduled for April 25-27, 2003 in Baltimore, MD, the Symposium will offer a balanced mix of lectures, seminars and workshops addressing both state-of-the-art and traditional knowledge and experience in medical acupuncture from a comprehensive perspective, including basic science research, clinical research and multiparadigm-approach clinical practical acupuncture. Twenty-two hours of CME are available.
The impressive roster of Symposium Faculty includes the following: Prof. Walter Zieglgansberger and Drs. Cynthia Gokavi, Brian Bouch, Ravinder Mamtani, Walburg Maric-Ochler, Michael Arnold, Joseph Helms, Bryan Frank, Charles Moss, Lowell Kobrin, Angelica Fargas-Babjak, Alejandro Elorriaga-Claraco, Stephen Taylor, Zang-Hee Cho, Brian Berman and John Reed.
On April 24, a Pre-Symposium will offer 7.5 CME hours. Concurrents include: Introduction to Acupuncture with Dr. Fargas-Babjak and Ravinder Mamtani, MD, DABMA, FAAMA, Psychosomatic Diseases Based on the 5 Phases in Chinese Medicine: A Phenomenological Approach with Dr. Maric-Oehler, Koryo Hand Therapy with Dr. Kobrin and Neuroanatomical Acupuncture with Dr. Elorriaga-Claraco.
There will also be exhibitors with products and services related to medical acupuncture, a Wine & Cheese Reception with poster presentations, the Annual Membership Meeting, group lunches, research updates, expert panels, opportunities to network with fellow medical acupuncturists and more.
A brochure listing Symposium Faculty, courses, times, etc. will be sent to members and posted at: www.medicalacupuncture.org. Steeped in history and loaded with attractions, shops and restaurants, Baltimore is a pleasure to visit. For more on this revitalized, thriving city, log on to: www.baltimore.org.
The Acupuncture Review Course (offering 22 CME hours) will be held April 22-23, followed by an ABMA Board Certification Exam on April 28, all in Baltimore.
All these events will be held at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel (www.renaissancehotels.com), Baltimore, MD. For a room at $189 single/double, call 800/535-1201 (410/547-1200) by March 24.
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Abstracts sought for posters at Symposium
This is a call for abstracts of research projects or case reports to be presented in poster format at AAMA's 15th Annual Symposium in Baltimore, MD, April 24-27, 2003.
Due by Feb. 15, 2003, abstracts should be a 200-250 word description of the research project and findings or be a summary of the case, treatment approach and outcomes. They will be reviewed by the Poster Committee. Authors of abstracts selected by the committee will be invited to present their work in poster format at the Symposium. Poster presenters will get 50% off their Symposium registration fee.
Posters will be presented at the Symposium's Wine and Cheese Reception and remain up the next day. Poster presenters will be invited to submit their abstracts for publication in the journal, Medical Acupuncture.
Abstracts should be submitted to AAMA offices by Feb. 15, 2003 to be considered for poster presentation. You are encouraged to submit the abstract via e-mail, in Microsoft Word or text format, to: email@example.com. Selected abstracts will be announced by late February.
Call AAMA Executive Administrator James Dowden (323/937-5514) for further information.
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From the President
ABN, CPT and Your AAMA
By Marshall H. Sager, DO, DABMA, FAAMA
Are you confused? I certainly was. I don't mean about our national or international situations, which are certainly disturbing. I'm not talking about impending war or economic catastrophe -- I'm talking about the latest obtuse missive from our government. Yes, fellow Academy members -- our Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has struck again with the Advance Beneficiary Notice (Form No. CMS-R-131-G).
At first glance, I thought it was just another bit of mandatory paperwork to clog my day and my files. Then I read it again. And again. Then my lawyer (wife) read it. Does the ABN apply to acupuncture? Must I present it to all my Medicare patients? What are the consequences of disregarding the ABN? Like many governmental forms, the ABN answer was not obvious, but the consequences of inadvertent incorrect ABN utilization were daunting.
I am pleased to remind you that one advantage of Academy membership is our persistence in clarifying confusing issues. The ABN is a perfect example:
I began the endless task of contacting HHS to get to the truth. After many telephone calls, I arrived in the ear of Scott Greer. Amazingly, Mr. Greer understood the confusion, was knowledgeable about the situation and sent me the following clarification (10/31/02 e-mail):
"This is to confirm your understanding that the ABN should not be used to advise patients that acupuncture isn't covered by Medicare. The ABN includes references to appeal rights that do not apply to certain non-covered services such as acupuncture."
In other words, we have it on file and in writing that we don't have to bother with the ABN. In spite of its confusing language and the background threat of governmental reprisals, the ABN does not apply to acupuncture services.
A second coup for our Academy came in early October when we were contacted by the AMA to participate in a meeting to develop new CPT codes for CAMs. The AMA invitation confirms the AAMA position as the spokes-organization for physician acupuncturists.
MAAC Chair Bill Rutenberg, MD, AAMA Executive Administrator Jim Dowden and I attended the Chicago meeting, along with representatives of diverse CAM providers including LAc's, chiropractors who practice acupuncture, massage therapists, therapeutic touch practitioners, homeopaths, etc.
Our specific input concerns CPT codes for acupuncture. The establishment of acupuncture codes, which will delineate and differentiate among specific services, are a necessary precursor if there is ever to be universal reimbursement.
AMA reps explained the CPT code development process and strongly suggested that all parties interested in a particular CAM modality, for example acupuncture, collaborate in the development of a set of codes. They requested us to strive for the goal of submitting a unified compilation of meaningful, descriptive codes for all types of acupuncture services. (Dr. Rutenberg elaborates on this meeting in his MAAC Report on this page.)
Currently, we are in the process of determining strategies with respect to this project and will keep you informed. Suggestions are welcome. Stay tuned; this affects all of us.
We will continue with the profile of AAMA committees in the next issue. In the meantime, I want to wish everyone a joyous and safe holiday season.
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By William D. Rutenberg, MD, DABMA, Chair
MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
In October, AAMA President Marshall Sager, DO, DABMA, FAAMA, Executive Administrator Jim Dowden and I, as MACC chair, were invited by the AMA to attend the CPT coding forum for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This meeting gathered leaders from multiple disciplines of CAM, the insurance industry and the AMA to discuss the process for developing meaningful codes for CAM providers to use.
The need to develop a uniform coding set is driven by the HIPPA regulations. The invitation from the AMA shows the recognition our organization has achieved and strengthens our position as the spokesorganization for medical acupuncturists in this country. Important messages were delivered.
First, we learned that contrary to what I believed, new CPT codes originate from providers needing new or better codes to describe what they do, rather than from the CPT committee.
Second, this provides an opportunity to be instrumental in developing CPT codes that we require -- and if we do not accept the mantle of leadership, then codes will be promulgated by other organizations that may neither be advantageous to us nor accurately reflect the work we do. CPT code development requires a team of diligent and dedicated physicians willing to work together as an investment in their future. I ask that AAMA members who would like to make a lasting imprint on the way medical acupuncture is coded to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More good news! California has approved the continuence of the California Acupuncture Board and retained the physician seat on the board. AAMA members interested in being recommended for this appointment should contact me.
Lastly, I served as a session moderator at the CAM - Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Symposium in November, in conjunction with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting in San Antonio. This was the first major CAM event held by the ACAAI. This again signals the importance our colleagues are placing on CAM and the recognition our specialty is gaining.
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Call for paper abstracts
Members are invited to submit clinical and basic research papers to be presented at AAMA's 15th Annual Symposium.
The papers should be original, clinically or basic science based, relevant to medical acupuncture, and have no commercial intent. Presentations should be 20 minutes long, presented orally. Authors will have the option of publishing their paper in AAMA's journal, Medical Acupuncture.
Please submit paper abstracts to Symposium Chair Roberto Jodorkovsky, MD, 7658 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21236. Paper presenters will get 50% off their Symposium registration fee.
Deadline for paper submission is Feb. 15, 2003. Authors accepted for presentation will be notified by Feb. 28, 2003.
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MARF Research Award entries sought
MARF Research Competition Chair Michael Santoro, MD, announces the call for entries for the annual MARF Acupuncture Research Award, sponsored by Seirin-America. Submissions must be received by Feb. 15, 2003.
First-, second- and third-place awards will be given:
- First Place: $3,000
Paper to be presented at the AAMA Symposium in Baltimore, MD, April 2003, Symposium registration, travel to $500, three nights hotel lodging for the presenting author
- Second Place: $2,000
Symposium registration, travel to the AAMA Symposium paid to $500
- Third Place: $1,000
Symposium registration in Baltimore, MD
Papers for second- and third-place to be announced at the 2003 AAMA Symposium, and authors to be acknowledged.
All submissions must be in English. All proprietary rights to the research work are reserved to the author(s), including future right to publish any and all aspects of the research.
Acknowledgement of receipt of the submission will be sent within 15 working days. The MARF board will assign a panel of judges. Winners will be selected at the sole discretion of the judges and the MARF board. Winners will be notified in adequate time to attend the 2003 Symposium.
For a complete set of rules and more information, contact MARF Executive Administrator Todd C. Royal (818/906-3173, email@example.com) or Dr. Santoro (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Dr. Nakazawa leads seminar in Japan
Hiroshi Nakazawa, MD, DABMA, FAAMA, secretary of AAMA and chair of ABMA, led the third annual educational seminar in Hamamatsu, Japan Oct. 11-14. There were 35 Japanese physicians, including anesthesiologists, pain management physicians and internists, who studied ardently at the conference.
Dr. Nakazawa used the book, Acupuncture Energetics, as a text plus other modalities that are recommended by the AAMA curriculum. Twenty patients were seen and treated impromptu-style, followed by discussion.
Many Japanese physicians expressed an interest in joining AAMA as international members so they can continue to study the Western method of medical acupuncture. Two years ago, Drs. Nakazawa and Bryan Frank led a similar seminar, which resulted in several international members.
Dr. Nakazawa was also invited to lecture at the 61st General Meeting of the Japanese Society of Public Health and the Japanese HHS (HEW). His lectures included the following: American Healthcare System -- From the Practitioner's Standpoint, Its Light and Shadow; Alternative to Integrative Medicine in America -- Its Current Status and the Future, and AAMA -- A New Wind of American Medicine.
More than 4,000 participants attended the assembly at Sonic City Hall in Ohmiya, a suburb of Tokyo, Oct. 23-25.
Additionally, Dr. Nakazawa went to medical schools and spoke to the administration, faculties and students about these topics.
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Nominees sought for Board
AAMA members interested in being considered for nomination to the Board of Directors are encouraged to submit a letter indicating their interest, along with a resume, by Feb. 13, 2003. Full members are eligible to serve on the Board, which is responsible for developing AAMA policies and overseeing operations. Address your letter to the Chairman of the Nominations Committee, c/o AAMA, 4929 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 428, Los Angeles, CA 90010.
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May Loo, MD, announces the founding of the American Medical QiGong Association (AMQA) and invites Academy members to join. QiGong is the ancient Chinese art of working Qi. By learning just a few simple Qigong exercises, practitioners can strengthen their own Qi to prevent Qi depletion and to enhance efficacy of medical acupuncture treatment. For more information on AMQA, contact Dr. Loo (1706 Willow St., Ste. E, San Jose, CA 95125, email@example.com).
If you've read any good books on acupuncture or related products recently, please send that information to AAMA headquarters to be shared with the membership. You can also post a review of the publications in the Academy's online bookstore. Go to: medicalacupuncture.org, click on AAMA Store and then on Order Books. Next click on the book cover (or More Info) and then on Post a Review.
Drs. Yuan-Chi Lin, Joseph S. Chiang, Eric S. Hsu, Yue-Pang Mok, Yung-Fong Sung and Shu-Ming Wang presented an excellent Workshop on Acupuncture at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual meeting in Orlando in October. This half-day workshop was well received by attendees, who also learned of AAMA at the Academy's booth in the exhibit hall.
Members in AAMA's referral program will be happy to hear that 246 calls came into national headquarters (and 3,594 website hits to the referral page) in September and 334 calls (and 3,998 website hits) in October from patients seeking medical acupuncturists. The number patients are calling for referrals is 800/521-2262.
Practice members (associate and full) who are not participating in the patient referral program but would like to, need to notify AAMA by mail (4929 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 428, Los Angeles, CA 90010) or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). To see if you're signed up for this program, check the referral search (Find an Acupuncturist) at: www.medicalacupuncture.org/findadoc/index.html.
AAMA President Marshall Sager, DO, DABMA, FAAMA, was featured in "Roenick takes aim at back problems" in The Philadelphia Inquirer (www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/hockey/nhl/philadelphia_flyers/41 85319.htm) after treating Flyers hockey players for tightness in the sacroiliac joint (or SI), concussions and headaches.
In October, Drs. Shu-Ming Wang and Yuan-Chi Lin presented an acupuncture workshop for pediatricians at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Expo in Boston. The workshop generated a lot of pediatrician interest in acupuncture.
Susan G. Kaplan, MD, was invited to lecture to the Fellows of the Beth Israel Medical Center/Continuum Integrative Medicine program on Integrative Urology, talking about medical acupuncture and herbal/nutritional medicine. She also was recently interviewed for Self magazine (November 2002) on medical acupuncture and urology.
Christi Bonds, MD, integrates her love of art and medical acupuncture. She recently exhibited in a gallery at a college with, "Ghost Medicine: A Visual Experience of Hidden Meaning." Chinese medical concepts explored include the 13 Ghost Points used in the Shang Empire (pre 1122 BC) to subdue illness caused by evil Wind, Five Elements, Yin-Yang theory and more.
The October issue of the American Journal of Public Health features a collection of articles on the role of CAM in public health. Topics range from research and practice to commentaries on CAM. Visit the journal's website: www.ajph.org.
Drs. Alejandro Elorriaga-Claraco and Mark Scappaticci, both main faculty of the McMaster Contemporary Medical Acupuncture for Sports Injuries Programs, will present four workshops and two lectures in December in Gramado, Brazil, during the Bi-Annual Symposium of the Brazilian Medical Acupuncture Society (SMBA or Sociedade Medica Brasileira de Ackupunctura), an event attended by more than 500 medical acupuncture practitioners. Afterwards, Dr. Elorriaga-Claraco will travel to Rio de Janeiro to teach a two-day seminar on medical acupuncture for sports injuries to a group of SMBA physicians. He will try to recruit some international members for the Academy as well as promote AAMA's 15th Annual Symposium.
Bryan L. Frank, MD, DABMA, FAAMA, presented a four-hour workshop and a plenary session at the 4th International Symposium of Auricular Therapy and Auricular Medicine in San Juan, Puerto Rico from Oct. 31-Nov. 3. The Symposium was hosted by the Academy of TCM of Puerto Rico, in collaboration with the E'cole Internationale Paul Nogier and the Groupe Lyonnais d'Etudes Medicales in Lyon, France. During the Symposium Gala, Drs. Raphael Nogier, Frank, Carlos Nater and Li-Chuan Huang were honored for lifetime contributions to auricular acupuncture.
In November, Drs. Brenda Golianu and Yuan-Chi Lin presented a successful acupuncture workshop for pain management in adult and pediatric patients at the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Fall Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. They taught acupuncture techniques for pain relief without side effects.
Please send your news to: email@example.com.
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Call to exhibit at Symposium
Space is available for companies/suppliers to exhibit during AAMA's 15th Annual Symposium, April 25-27, 2003 at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, Baltimore, MD.
Information, including fees and deadlines, is available on AAMA's website: www.medicalacupuncture.org or you may contact Tracey Dowden, exhibits manager, to receive a package via regular mail (323/937-5514, ext. 24, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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Medical mission opportunities available
Bryan L. Frank, MD, DABMA, FAAMA, served
in the village of Silamgal, Nepal in October, providing conventional and acupuncture care to villagers for the week. Additionally, Dr. Frank taught at the leprosy Mission Hospital in Anandaban, south of Kathmandu. He is returning to Nepal in February and October 2003 and June 14-28, 2004. Interested persons are encouraged to apply for the medical missions (www.medicalmissionpartners.org, email@example.com, 972/489-4286).
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Details set of Differential Diagnosis in TCM
The Academy's Education Committee is pleased to announce that dates have been set for a new educational workshop approved for AAMA sponsorship (offering 14 CME hours).
Differential Diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine will be presented twice by Michael Arnold, MD:
- Feb. 15-16, 2003 at Marriott San Francisco Airport, 1800 Old Bayshore Highway, Burlingame, CA. Call 650/692-9100 or 800/228-9290 and ask for AAMA Education Workshop room rate of $79 single/double, good until Jan. 24, 2003.
- March 29-30, 2003 at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport Marriott South, 4151 Centreport Drive, Ft. Worth, TX. Call 817/358-1700 or 800/MARRIOTT and ask for AAMA Education Workshop room rate of $99 single/double, good until March 7, 2003.
Dr. Arnold has successfully presented a basic TCM workshop for the Academy over the last two years and with this workshop, expands the study of TCM for a more in-depth evaluation of the discipline. This workshop will teach participants how, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, to proceed from the signs and symptoms to the differential diagnosis and then to the specific diagnosis. The objective of this workshop is to teach the participants how to proceed from the clinical picture to the specific TCM diagnosis in clinic.
Watch for details on a second new workshop to be presented by Bryan L. Frank, MD, DABMA, FAAMA, that will focus on one of the most requested topics for education activities - pain management. This workshop, Pain Management - A Comprehensive Approach, is designed to reinforce the use and application of common acupuncture techniques, as well as to explore various approaches less commonly employed though very effective in their use.
Registration information will be mailed to members and posted at: www.medicalacupuncture.org.
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Fellowships available for clinical researchers in TCM
Fellowships are now available to support AAMA members with doctoral level degrees who wish to become clinical researchers in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at NIH has sponsored the Minnesota Program in CAM Clinical Research. This 2-3 year program includes coursework in clinical research methods, with a focus on applications to the unique problems posed by CAM modalities. It also includes a practical training component in which Fellows participate in a CAM research project either currently underway, or of their own design. The Program leads to an MS degree either in Clinical Research, or in Health Services Research and Policy, with a Graduate Minor in Complementary Therapies and Healing Practices. Degrees are granted through the University of Minnesota Graduate School.
The program is offered by the Minnesota Consortium for CAM Clinical Research, which is a collaborative association among researchers, professors, medical doctors and alternative medicine professionals, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The Consortium's mission is to foster rigorous, high-quality, scientific, clinical research in CAM. Consortium members serve as mentors to Program Fellows. Twin Cities' institutional affiliations of Consortium members include the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research (the lead organization), Hennepin Faculty Associates Alternative Medicine Clinic, Northwestern Health Sciences University, and the University of Minnesota.
A limited number of NCCAM-NIH Fellowships are available each year to support participants while they complete the program. Fellowship support includes yearly stipends that for 2002-2003 ranged from $31.1K to $48.9K, depending on years of post-doctoral experience. The Fellowship also pays for a significant portion of tuition and fees. Fellowship support is limited to persons holding doctoral-level degrees granted by accredited institutions, and to US citizens or non-citizen nationals admitted to the US for lawful residence.
Participation in the program is an excellent way for qualified medical professionals to obtain the training, credentials, experience and connections necessary to embark upon successful careers in CAM clinical research. For more information, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Rocky Mountain Chapter recently had an informative presentation by Mark Painter, general manager of Relative Value Studies, Inc., regarding insurance coding and billing issues that can help providers maximize reimbursement. Members learned about fee surveys used to determine the relative value scales that insurers use to set fees. The relative values published by RVS, Inc., which is based in Colorado, are used mainly in the Western region of the country.
Painter wants members to complete his survey because it will help update the relative values published by RVS, Inc. This is important because the current codes and relative values are not reflective of the complexity and intensity of treatment that AAMA members provide. This is, in part, due to the fact that most fee surveys submitted in the past are not from medical acupuncturists. The paucity of CPT codes that pertain to acupuncture is another problem because they do not provide a means to code for the lengthy, involved treatments medical acupuncturists must provide for chronic patients.
A new system of billing codes entirely for CAM, called ABC Codes, has been developed by Alternative Link Systems, Inc., which relies on relative values produced by RVS. The system of ABC Codes has been presented to government committees with some support in Washington. One thing different in this system from CPT is that acupuncture is coded by time of treatment (i.e., in 15-minute increments).
These companies have websites (www.rvsdata.com and www.alternativelink.com/ali/home) with more details and helpful links. Websites will soon be available that can help a practitioner with individual coding and billing issues at a reasonable fee.
Any member who would like to complete a fee survey or who has questions can contact Chapter President Craig Anderson, MD (email@example.com, 303/915-9283). Also, members can contact RVS, Inc. at: www.rvsdata.com.
Ed Garbacz, MD, spoke to the Georgia Chapter in November. The topic, San Jiao Energetics, was well received by the audience of physician acupuncturists and licensed acupuncturists.
Lynsay Tunnell, DOM, Dipl. Ac., from Southwest Acupuncture College, will conduct a workshop on scar unblocking in Atlanta in March 2003.
At the December meeting of the Illinois Chapter, which convenes quarterly, members will discuss Chapter-sponsored continuing educational offerings for 2003 as well as final details for their website.
In October, the Chapter sponsored Toshikatsu Yamamoto, MD, for Yamamoto New Scalp Acupuncture for beginner, intermediate and advanced practitioners. The workshops were hugely successful. Participants came from all over the country. The Chapter is considering making an annual YNSA offering part of members' educational program.
The New Jersey Chapter had a well-attended meeting in November, attracting 50% of the state's members. It was a "clinical pearls and stump the chumps" meeting, along with Chapter business. They are planning an all-day seminar in spring 2003.
The North Carolina Chapter has begun to alternate monthly meetings between Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill areas. So far this fall, members have had three wonderful sessions on chronic fatigue syndrome, the techniques of the Victoria Pain Clinic presented by Dr. Larry Burk, and acupuncture combined with Qi Gong Therapy. The December session, which will be in Chapel Hill, will be an open forum discussing mutual interests and challenges.
Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Kimber Rotchford, President-elect Stan Whittemore and President Paul Allen met with representatives of the state's largest physician liability insurer, Washington State Physician Insurance Exchange (WSPIE), to open dialogue.
Their goals were to provide information, attach faces to names, hear concerns, etc. They learned that one of their own medical acupuncturists is on the WSPIE Board, and they are developing an information-gathering tool to collect data on physicians who perform acupuncture. WSPIE has larger problems at this time related to the liability insurance field. WSPIE is not accepting new physicians because it does not have the necessary contingency funds.
Obtaining liability coverage for physicians performing acupuncture remains difficult in Washington State.
The membership drive continues, and they ask local AAMA members who have not yet joined the Washington State Chapter to contact President Paul J Allen (360/352-8800, firstname.lastname@example.org, please put "acupuncture" in the subject line). Their winter meeting is planned for Saturday, Jan. 18, 2003.
Chapters are urged to send in updates (email@example.com).
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Members achieve Board Certification
These AAMA members recently met the stringent requirements of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) and have achieved Board Certification in medical acupuncture. They have earned the designation DABMA (Diplomate, American Board of Medical Acupuncture):
Benjamin T. Brown, MD, Arlington, VA; Thomas Burgoon, MD, West Chester, PA; Joon J. Lee, MD, Powell, OH; Roberto J. Lee, MD, Wytheville, VA; Stephen Ray, MD, Spring Water, NY; David S. Rho, MD, La Crosse, WI; Rekha V. Shah, MD, Chandler, AZ and Gregory Reid Toothman, MD, Newburgh, IN
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Dr. Lu leads trip to China to study QiGong
In October, Tony Lu, MD, led 17 people, including AAMA member Martha M. Grout, MD, MD(H), to the Chinese International Ba Gua Institute of QiGong in Beijing, PRC.
The Institute is directed by Master Wan Su Jie, who is both an MD and a QiGong Master. It is simultaneously a school of QiGong and an orphanage. Master Wan takes children from poor villages and from the Shao Lin Temple, where abandoned or orphaned children are taught the traditions of Daoism and martial arts. He brings them back to the Institute, cares for them, educates them and trains them to become QiGong doctors, so they can go back to their provinces and practice their art. The school is supported largely by groups of visitors who come twice a year, to learn about QiGong and to see the sights of China.
China is a land of extraordinary contrasts -- fierce mountains and exquisite gardens, huge palaces and tiny hovels, beautiful clear air in the mountains and unbelievably bad air pollution in the valleys and plains. There is construction everywhere, but hardly any big machinery.
"We stayed mostly in Beijing, although we did take two side trips to ChengDe and Datong, both cities in China which are near areas with particularly good Qi," Dr. Grout noted. They had QiGong treatments every day, and Dr. Grout witnessed the rapid healing of her roommate's bad grade II ankle sprain.
QiGong is used in two ways: To help the individual practitioner clear his own body of tension or congestion, so that the body is relaxed and energy flows freely; and to use that energy to assist in the healing of others.
A return visit is scheduled for Oct. 2-17, 2003. Members can sign up for only the Beijing portion, Oct. 2-9, 2003 and still enjoy the lectures and QiGong treatments. For more on the 2002 trip, as well as the 2003 itinerary, log on to: www.medicalacupuncture.org (click on Current Events). Sign up early, as the limit is 25 people.
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