Friday, June 16, 2017

Brain Science and Healing Power of Music

I love how brain science is showing, scientifically, how powerful a healing tool music can be.
I always use music in my treatment sessions.
I use music all day long from waking up my kids to playing with them to helping soothe them to sleep.

Here's the CNN article about music and brain science from April 2013.

If this interests you, see our other posts on the subject and post in the comments any other brain science + healing power of music resources.  Thank you.

Music Therapy is Sound Healing part 1
Music and Healing part 2
Research in Chronic Pain Treatment and Non-drug Therapies
Children--Natural Remedies for Poor Sleep
NIH lecture on Music and Brain Science Dr. Patel May 2013

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Weekend: Remember the Fallen and how to Support Military Families

Memorial weekend is here; when, as a society we remember those who have given their lives in service to our country.  This long weekend may we remember the fallen and support the living.  Support those Gold Star families and our living veterans, active duty military, and their families.  This is a quick list of my favorite nonprofit organizations that support veterans, active duty military and their families.

Blue Star Mothers and the Sew Much Comfort Program
Blue Star Mothers's program, Sew Much Comfort, creates adaptive clothing for injured servicemembers and veterans who request it, whether still in hospital or recovering at home.
Learn more about Sew Much Comfort program and donate to the Blue Star Mothers organization.

NMCRS Visiting Nurse Program
The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Visiting Nurse program does home visits for postpartum mothers and children as well as adults and has a specific program for combat-casualty-assistance.  Our NMCRS visiting nurse, Christine, through her frequent visits, noticed something about my daughter in 2010, made a few referrals, and saved my daughter's life.  Donate to NMCRS visiting nurse program here.

Red Cross and service to Military 
The Red Cross has a special program of chapters in military facilities that provide needed volunteer services and special groups that deploy with troops when needed. The "Red Cross Message" system is still the best, most consistent emergency message system to get word to your deployed soldier/sailor/Marine/airman and vice versa.  Donate to the Red Cross to support this resource for our military families and learn more about Red Cross programs.

AWB's Military Stress Relief Project
Red Cross volunteers are a well-known and welcome sight during a disaster.  Responding to a disaster is important and heart-wrenching work.  What support is there for disaster relief workers?  Acupuncturists without Borders (AWB) has been providing relief to those affected by the trauma of natural disasters, including relief workers (Red Cross, National Guard).  AWB also has a branch of work that specializes in creating and supporting Military Stress Recovery Clinics (MSRP).  
Learn more and donate to AWB to support their disaster relief work and the Military Stress Recovery Project Clinics (stress relief, improved sleep for veterans and their families).

MOAA Supports Military Families 
MOAA, the Military Officer Association, has been a strong advocacy group to support the needs of military families and has particularly taken on important work getting support for medical and school needs for Exceptional Family Members (children and dependent adults of servicemembers who have significant medical and health needs).  Check out the MOAA Foundation site for different ways to donate.


Peace to you as you remember and honor our fallen servicemembers this weekend.  Thank you for supporting the organizations listed above who continue to serve and support military families and veterans.

Megan Kingsley Gale, MSAOM, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)
My mission has been to help make accessible non-drug, non-surgery options (acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, etc.) for health and wellness to servicemembers, veterans, and their families.  Having acupuncture (which is part of East Asian Medicine) and other non-drug, non-surgery options available in medical center and hospital facilities to complement conventional care will help shorten inpatient stay length, decrease pain, improve function, and decrease overall health care costs.
This mission has taken several forms over the past decade or so.
Most recently this has been in building a set of resources to make it easier for facilities and their hospital administrators to hire acupuncturists into their systems and thus have Integrative Medicine (IM) professionals on staff.  Why?  Because, I found that one of the major barriers to getting access to IM is getting IM professionals hired into the system.  People have best access to care when it is delivered in places they are already going, whether it is a mobile wellness clinic at the community center or the VFW or the local medical facility.  In particular, servicemembers and their families have best access and greatest potential for team care coordination when it is available in their facility (MTF).  The next-best is having it covered by TriCare out-in-town by trained and qualified providers.  

Contribute to my work of building this stepping-stone resource over the barriers into the health care facilities at the Hospital Practice Handbook website.
To see the resource I have been building to support this work, see the blog and the spring fundraising page. This work supports the movement of integrative medicine as a part of modern medicine.

Related blogposts:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fundraiser for the Project, making Acupuncture available in Hospitals and Medical Centers

I have spent the past couple years building a resource to connect Acupuncturists and their Hospital Administrators (whom I call "hospital sponsors") to both published resources and the professional community.  I call it the "Hospital Practice Handbook Project" or the longer title "the hospital practice handbook project for East Asian Medicine practitioners (acupuncturists) and their Hospital Sponsors".

What started out as just a basic "intro" resource book that lays out the resources I wish I had in a "handbook" when I had first started hospital practice, has metamorphosed into a series of projects that supports the living hospital practice integrative medicine community.  From a pilot project to collect data on current Acupuncturist professionals to book publications to a record-able webinar series.

To see the resource I have been building to support this work, see the blog and the spring fundraising page.  This work supports the movement of integrative medicine as a part of modern medicine.

Having acupuncture (which is part of East Asian Medicine) and other non-drug, non-surgery options available in medical center and hospital facilities to complement conventional care will help shorten inpatient stay length, improve pain and function, and decrease overall health care costs.

As a military spouse, I started slowly building this resource after I left full-time clinical practice when my husband went back to sea and support my littles (young children).  Check out the progress and support the work.   Thank you.

On the campaign page, to contribute select "back it" and fill in the amount you choose.
Contribute directly to the website if you want as much of your contribution to go directly to Project costs as possible.

Or, while the fundraising campaign is going, you can choose a "Perk" package.  For a package, some of your contribution goes to paying for the perk items and shipping and the rest goes directly to the Project (minus some processing fees)

Thank you for supporting this work and this community!

Do you want to follow the Project work?  Just contribute to our fundraiser, subscribe to this blog, and join the contact list on the website.

Related blogposts:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Acupuncture, a covered Worker's Compensation Benefit

Acupuncture is one of the therapeutic procedures an East Asian Medicine practitioner (also known as Licensed Acupuncturist) uses when facilitating recovery from injury.  Acupuncture is one of several rehabilitation modalities that speed recovery from injury and help someone return to work more quickly (than not using it).  That is why it is now a commonplace procedure that is covered in worker's compensation laws.

Check your state for its requirements and laws on worker's compensation.  Here is a list of states that cover acupuncture for common workplace injuries under their worker's comp laws or acts (updated March 2016):

States where acupuncture is covered under worker’s comp benefit (29 + D.C.)
New Jersey
New Mexico
Rhode Island
New York
Washington DC
West Virginia

As of March 2016, 29 states and D.C. cover acupuncture services for worker's comp claims
A literature survey of state law was done in March 2016.  This survey noted that the above (in chart) states and D.C. cover acupuncture for at least one condition under that state's worker's comp benefit.

Note:  state law varies.  Worker's comp laws can change each legislative session, so check in with your local office for the latest update.

Related posts:  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Acupuncture
the VetChoice Program

For most recent information on acupuncture coverage by workers' comp, contact the AAC Info Network, which does training for Acupuncturists and their admin and billing staff on coding and billing in the field.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Affordable Care Act and Acupuncture coverage or ObamaCare and Acupuncture

Keywords:  Affordable health care act, “Obamacare”, insurance coverage for acupuncture, non-discrimination in health care, essential health benefits
The patient protection and affordable care act

The Affordable Care Act, (ACA), also nicknamed "Obamacare", while long and complex had some important nods to integrative medicine.
The Act noted that integrative medicine, which includes acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage (not all therapies listed) decreases the overall cost of healthcare.  Integrative medicine decreases complications from surgery, improves recovery rates, and improves quality of life.  It is based on a wellness model and that the maintenence of wellness is paramount to life and prevention of chronic disease.  The Act noted that chronic disease has been on the rise in the U.S. in the past few decades and that a wellness model for medicine is much needed.  [For more about this discussion, I recommend the Escape Fire documentary (rated by Roger Ebert) and the Bravewell Collaborative.]

The conclusion of this recognition of integrative medicine as national way to reduce health care costs was to require integrative medicine therapies be available as an option to all Americans.  This aspect of the federal act broke down when the states were allowed to pick and choose what they wanted to name as essential health benefits as their state version of the federal ACA.  Most states picked only a few of the therapies.  I do not think any state picked all possible integrative medicine therapies.

So, how the ACA/Obamacare works in your state and your access to integrative medicine as covered care varies greatly by state.  The Act directly affects those Americans who are on "the Exchange", the new federal-state insurance coverage (now in its toddler years) versus a private insurer.

Acupuncture is an Essential Health Benefit in 6 states
Essential Health Benefits, Section 2707.
Acupuncture is an Essential Health Benefit (EHB) in 6 states:
New Mexico
New Jersey—but limited to services in lieu of anesthesia

The paraphrased reference from ACA:
Section 2707.  Comprehensive insurance coverage.  (a) Coverage for essential health benefits package.  –a health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market shall ensure that such coverage includes the essential health benefits package required

In Washington state, the EHB is as follows:
Acupuncture 12 visits/year and unlimited for ddx of substance abuse
Chiropractic manipulation 10 visits/year
Rehabilitation 25 visits
Diagnostics—no limits (E&M)
Preventative care—no limits

This is mandatory on individual “exchange” policies.  Non-exchange policies may not have same benefits

In Washington state, the "every category of provider" law also applies:  RCW 48.43.045

The Non-Discrimination in Health Care 2706
Basically, if your health care plan covers acupuncture performed by a physician but not by a L.Ac./EAMP, then that health care plan is discriminating and not compliant with federal law.

Non-Discrimintation 2706—scope of practice (physical medicine and rehabilitation services, E&M, nutrition, etc)
Section 2706 Non-discrimination in health care.
(a)    Providers.  –a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.
2706 applies when:
Payment is equal for services and not based on provider
Services done by an L.Ac. within scope cannot be limited differently from other providers
An insurer or group health plan cannot deny specific forms of care provided by an L.Ac. when those services are within scope and covered with other providers
LAc.s as a profession cannot be excluded as a group from participation in a network’s plan.

Technical jargon
Plenty of technical stuff above.
Generally, the world of insurance can be a maze to navigate.  Paying out of pocket for services is an option and used to be the only option 50-100 years ago in our country.

coverage by insurance--Remember:  insurance companies cover procedures and private insurers do this arbitrarily in the U.S.  CMS (Medicare—a federal insurance) goes through a data collection process to determine code value and then goes through [some process] to determine whether or not it will cover a procedure, etc.

More about EHB and WA state, a link to the Lund Report

Related posts:
Acupuncture covered by Worker's Comp in many states
the VetChoice program

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 111th Congress of the United States, H.R.3590.