(AOMNCC’s membership is currently around 1200, most of whom are licensed acupuncturists, with some educators and patients also.)
Having been involved in the field of AOM since 1985 as an apprentice under Dr Robert Sohn PhD LAc and as a practitioner of Oriental medicine since January 1997 and Florida Legislative Chair for the AOM profession from 1998 through 2002, I have been and continue to be a key stakeholder in the successful practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in this country.
I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to the development of additional scheme standards for yet another dream degree to be called the “first professional doctorate” in acupuncture and/or in Oriental medicine.
The present Masters Degree is already the equivalent of a PhD according to Florida’s Department of Education (Sam Ferguson). The 60 college credit pre-requisite entrance requirement added to the 2,800+ hrs of didactic and clinical education equals the credit hours of a Bachelors, Masters and PhD.
Why doesn’t ACAOM: 1) streamline the present Masters Degree; and 2) then simply rename the Masters degree already in place as the entry level Doctorate and stop this game to drain additional money from students and practitioners alike which will immediately cause much higher patient treatment fees?
Since 1986, Florida practitioners of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine have been primary care providers SUCCESSFULLY diagnosing and treating illness and injury based upon traditional Chinese medicine and modern Oriental medical techniques. More importantly without the excessive need for courses in biomedicine. The operative word being EXCESSIVE.
In Florida, from 1986 through 1997 (eleven years) the didactic and clinical education for Acupuncture Physicians (LAc’s) was just the two year (1,900 hr) program.
It is a testament that during that period over 1,300 practitioners with just a 1,900 hour education were capable and successful as primary care providers.
Since it has been accomplished in Florida it can be accomplished anywhere in the USA.
ACAOM’s propaganda appears to omit these Florida facts.
In the whole USA, just a handful of states contain the majority of acupuncturists in this country who are primary care providers and who successfully treat their patients without any safety problems or for that matter without any referral or communication problems with allopathic doctors.
Furthermore it appears that all the patient safety issues have arisen from untrained MDs, DOs and DCs with 100 hours of training or less.
There appears to be no patient safety needs to have an additional night-trade-school dream degree (FPD), which will definitely cost current students and already licensed practitioners exorbitant amounts of additional money….placing ALL in deeper debt.
As a side note such additional degrees fail to: guarantee regional accreditation acceptance; fail to guarantee full parity with medical doctors; and fail to guarantee healthcare reimbursement.
In 1994 in Florida, the ACAOM Master’s Degree cost students $15,000.00 for the full four year course of study completed in 36 months. Without any substantial changes in the program the cost QUICKLY rose to over $50,000.00 for the same night-trade-school Masters degree.
Today this Masters degree is still not recognized by the regional accreditation system. More accurately this Masters degree is LAUGHED at! Unfortunately it’s a joke on the graduates having to take second jobs to pay off their student loan debt if they are lucky.
It is my and many other colleagues opinion that the current level of training (already the credit hour equivalent of a PhD) creates safe and effective practitioners capable of functioning as entry level acupuncture physicians diagnosing and treating illness and injury. Today, Florida has over 1,965 licensees which prove this point since no new FPD has been necessary and during the past thirty years no Masters was necessary.
Anything beyond the present Masters Degree is nothing but a scheme to burden students and licensees alike with exorbitant additional educational costs and more importantly will translate into higher patient fees.
This FPD scheme will deter new practitioners from entering the field while causing cost prohibitive patient fees from the graduates of an FPD.
So far it appears from the few polls taken that at least 40% of the licensees are against an FPD.
CONSENSUS means group solidarity in-agreement and so far it appears that the profession is a long way off from the true meaning of consensus.
That being the case it is expected that ACAOM will immediately drop the project for any kind of FPD.
With kindest regards,
Richard A Freiberg, OMD DAc AP LAc
Oriental Medicine Practitioner
Board Certified in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Family Practice – AOMNFP
Distinguished Acupuncture Physician – AOMNCC
Founding Director AOMNCC – Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine National Coalition, Corp.
Dr Paul J Reinhardt, MD, OMD – Director AOMNCC
Dr David N Sontag, OMM AP LAc – Director AOMNCC