Lindy Camardella, L.Ac., president of the Illinois Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ILAAOM), visited the Lombard campus in February to discuss updates to acupuncture licensure in Illinois and the group’s other initiatives in today’s health care landscape.
“The field of acupuncture continues to progress,” Camardella said. “Effective this year, there has been exciting updates to the Acupuncture Practice Act in Illinois.”
In Illinois, acupuncturists are no longer limited to performing acupuncture every time they treat a patient. Their scope has now been expanded to include various other treatments like diet, exercise and herbal medicinal recommendations, cupping, moxibustion, etc. During a state of emergency such as a natural disaster, acupuncturists licensed outside of Illinois are now able to treat patients, if needed.
Camardella also discussed the opioid epidemic, which continues to be high priority for ILAAOM. With many health care officials turning to acupuncture and other alternative medicine treatments as possible solutions, ILAAOM is currently working with the American Society of Acupuncturists to support lobbying efforts that will get acupuncture treatment to more patients.
“One of the biggest barriers is insurance,” Camardella said. “Even if acupuncture is covered, the paperwork involved can been burdensome for many practitioners.”
Camardella is also working directly with Elmhurst Hospital to eventually offer acupuncture treatment not only for outpatient care, which is currently available, but inpatient care, as well. Today, Elmhurst Hospital is one of many hospitals that hire acupuncturists or refer to patients to acupuncturists for pain and other ailments. ILAAOM’s goal is to expand acupuncture offerings for patients that are admitted to hospitals for surgery, childbirth and other procedures.
With the Joint Commission’s new pain assessment and management standards requiring hospitals to provide alternative medicine treatments like acupuncture, or educate patients about them, “more hospitals in the local area and beyond are expected to offer acupuncture,” Camardella said.