Take Action Now to Require Insurance to Cover Acupuncture!

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Recent attention on the Opioid Crisis has highlighted the incredible numbers of people suffering from chronic pain.  Changes in national and state laws are being made.  Here in Rhode Island, we are nearing votes on bills in our general assembly:

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText19/SenateText19/S0068.pdf

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText19/HouseText19/H5120.pdf

These would require insurance companies pay for non-opioid pain treatments including acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.  If you value acupuncture, and wish to assure its coverage by your health insurance, please consider contacting one or more of our state senators or representatives.  Here are some easy ways, including a sample letter from our Rhode Island Society of Acupuncture:

It’s time to take action.

The bills requiring insurance coverage for acupuncture and other non-opioid treatment modalities are at a crossroads.  We need your help.  Please copy and past this form letter below, modify it to personalize, and send to the Representatives and Senators on this list ASAP.

Urge your friends, and family to do the same!

House Bill H5120

The Honorable Nicholas A. Mattiello, Speaker of the House of Representatives     Rep-mattiello@rilegislature.gov
The Honorable Joseph M. McNamara, Chairman of House HEW                                rep-mcnamara@rilegislature.gov
The Honorable Michael A. Morin, Primary Sponsor of 2019 H5120                           rep-morin@rilegislature.gov

Senate Bill S0068

The Honorable Dominick J. Ruggerio, President of the Senate          sen-ruggerio@rilegislature.gov
The Honorable Joshua Miller, Chairman of Senate HHS                     sen-miller@rilegislature.gov
The Honorable Roger A. Picard, Primary Sponsor of 2019 S0068     sen-picard@rilegislature.gov

The fate of this legislation will be decided in the next week or two, so time is of the essence!  The suggested email to these House and Senate leaders is below:

Please title the email: “Please Support the Non-Opioid Pain Treatment Bill (bill # – insert H5120 or S0068)”

Dear (insert name of legislator)

My name is (insert name). I am writing to request your support for bill # – (insert H5120 or S0068).  This legislation is important because it will help address the opioid crisis by requiring that the safe, conservative, non-opioid pain treatments of massage therapy, acupuncture, occupational therapy, and physical therapy are fully covered by insurance.  Patients must have affordable access to all these therapies to prevent further individuals from becoming addicted to prescription opioids.

This bill is an issue of fairness.  Rhode Islanders of all financial means deserve fuller access to non-opioid pain treatments.  Opioid deaths in the United States continue to increase.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), opioid prescriptions were involved in more than 35% of all opioid related deaths in 2017.1
A research study from Washington State found that patients using non-opioid pain treatments had lower insurance costs than those patients not using such treatments. (If you can reference an insurance claim with costs of prescription or treatment related to opioid use, put your example here).

In 2016, the CDC issued guidelines on chronic pain that recommended that “nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain”3 and that non-opioid therapies are less expensive than opioids due in part to the high costs of opioid addiction and overdose.  Importantly, the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force states “It’s time to change how we treat pain—opioids don’t need to be the first line of defense”.4

(Insert personal story here if applicable)

By voting to pass this bill, you will increase access to better healthcare overall and will help reduce the number of addictions and deaths resulting from opioid prescription use.

Thank you for your support!
(Your name and address)

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/prescribing.htmld
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110809/
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/rr/rr6501e1.htm.
4
 https://preventoverdoseri.org/our-action-plan/.

 
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