Brendan Kelly, L.Ac President
Shane Burras, L.Ac Vice President
Diana Vachon, L.Ac Secretary
Dianne Barclay, L.Ac Treasurer
Carol Price, L.Ac Board Member
Ann Ramsay, L.Ac Board Member
The VTAA is a non-profit association, representing practitioners and consumers of Oriental Medical therapies including Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Asian Bodywork, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. As our health care system in Vermont faces ever-escalating costs, along with the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and other chronic health care issues, we'd all benefit by educating Vermonters of the advantages of Oriental Medicine. Everyone agrees that solutions to this crisis need to focus on prevention, and the low cost treatment of chronic conditions. Oriental Medicine, because it doesn't rely so heavily on expensive high tech solutions, and due to its personalized care, stands out in each of these areas. Additionally, the market has validated the effectiveness and efficiency of Oriental Medicine. Let me explain further:
Oriental Medicine Excels at Prevention
Oriental Medicine survived for thousands of years in the Chinese culture where physicians were paid only when the patients were well. Talk about incentivizing prevention! You can imagine that acupuncturists became quite good at preventive medicine! Today, we know that early detection and education are two keys to prevention. Acupuncturists excel in these areas. In a climate where doctors are rushed and we suffer from a shortage of nurses, acupuncturists routinely spend at least an half hour with patients at every office visit. In addition to treating the main complaint, this enables us to explore underlying problems that are often warning flags for developing chronic health problems We also make the time to personalize education, addressing lifestyle issues that may be putting patients at risk for further problems
Effective Solutions for Chronic Conditions
Many of the conditions for which Oriental Medicine is most efficacious are chronic in nature. (For a list of conditions treated by acupuncture, click here.) Patients with chronic problems are bounced from specialist to specialist, receiving expensive high tech diagnostics. Many patients have already received tens of thousands of dollars of care, to later find that a small fraction of that spent on Oriental Medicine makes their problems manageable.
Efficient, Market-Tested Health Care
In an environment where very few Vermonters have health insurance policies which cover Oriental Medicine, practitioners survive and thrive because the work we do is effective from a cost-benefit perspective. We require fewer support staff than conventional doctors. Our malpractice premiums are very low, due to our excellent safety record. We're under constant pressure to achieve tangible results, because our patients' budgets are finite. Our new patients go everywhere else first, because it is paid for by their plan. Then, we have to show results in just a few visits or they give up. Even given this scenario, our profession has grown in leaps and bounds. Simply put, our patients would not continue to spend out-of-pocket monies if they weren't receiving something of value in return. Isn't that the ultimate test of value in the marketplace? The market, when unencumbered by over regulation or 3rd party payors, has ensured that the most efficient and effective product or service survives and thrives. Others should have access to this form of treatment. Acupuncture is growing rapidly in our state and the entire country. In fact, many other professionals, including chiropractors, podiatrists, dentists, and medical doctors are seeking to add it to their scopes of practice. (Unfortunately, often with very little training.) If acupuncturists were not effective and efficient, how else could we explain these trends?
Modern Research Validates Ancient Traditions
While practitioners and patients of Oriental Medicine see the beneficial results of our treatments each day, we support the need for high quality objective research which documents the efficacy of our work and assists us in identifying the best clinical practices. It is important that research be not only methodologically sound, but also reflective of the actual clinical practices they seek to evaluate. For example, well designed trials must include Oriental Medical pattern differentiation rather than blindly prescribed treatment protocols based on western medical diagnoses. Individualization is inherent to Oriental Medicine, and quality trials must include this in order to be relevant. We are pleased that the trend in research has been that the higher quality, larger trials are supporting the efficacy of acupuncture and other Oriental Medical modalities.
Let the VTAA work for you
Whether you are a veteran practitioner or a brand new patient, let the VTAA work for you.
We're working to:
Promote greater access to Oriental medicine through education and advocacy work targeted to consumers, employers, insurance companies, and political and governmental institutions.
Improve the quality of Oriental Medical care by educating consumers and professionals of the best clinical practices.
Protect patients' access to all forms of Oriental Medicine, and their right to receive it from a properly trained professional.
Remember, our advocacy can go only as far as our resources. We don't have any large corporations, drug companies, or insurance companies funding our efforts. We have only the individual contributions of supporters who know firsthand what Oriental Medicine can do. I would urge you to join us by becoming a member of the VTAA (click here to find out how).
Brendan Kelly, L.Ac
President of the Vermont Acupuncture Association