WASHINGTON, March 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® is pleased to announce that NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™, who are also state licensed, now have an established qualification standard for employment positions within the VA Health Administration, according to the newly published Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Handbook.  This revision establishes the Acupuncturist occupation under VA’s title 38 Hybrid excepted service employment system in accordance with the authority established under the “Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010”.

Acupuncturists in the VA now have a government standard (GS) range of GS 9 -12, depending on the Acupuncturist’s level of education, training, and experience. This allows for an Acupuncturist to grow within their job title or have advanced placement within the system, depending on their experience and education; however, all Acupuncturists must be actively NCCAOM National Board-Certified. This news comes at a crucial time when the U.S. is facing a national opioid epidemic and acupuncture has emerged as a powerful, evidence-based, safe, cost-effective, and available treatment modality suitable to treat pain and has also been shown effective for reduce the use of opioids.1 “The opioid epidemic has significantly affected many of our veterans,” stated Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, NCCAOM Chief Executive Officer. “A report by the American Public Health Association in 2011 found that the fatal overdose rate among VA patients is nearly double the national average. This new government occupational standard will enable the most experienced and qualified acupuncturists to treat the thousands of veterans who are suffering from debilitating pain and addiction to overprescribed opioids at the many Veterans hospitals and medical centers.”  

Acupuncture Earns Distinction from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The NCCAOM also celebrates another achievement this year as the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification Manual published by the Office of Management and Budget now features “Acupuncturists” with its own classification as a federally-recognized labor category based on measurable data that confirms growth in the industry. This recognition earns Acupuncturists a distinct Standard Occupational Code (SOC) which also means specific job classification with U.S. Department of Labor, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Census Bureau. The new designation is the result of a decade-long initiative spearheaded by NCCAOM in conjunction with other leading acupuncture professional organizations. You can now access the entire 2018 SOC Manual and User Guide via the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

About NCCAOM
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization established in 1982. NCCAOM is the only national organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) through professional certification. NCCAOM certification or a passing score on the NCCAOM certification examinations are documentation of competency for licensure as an acupuncturist by 46 states plus the District of Columbia which represents 98% of the states that regulate acupuncture. All NCCAOM certification programs are currently accredited by the National Commission for Certification Agencies (NCCA).  To learn more about the NCCAOM, or about acupuncture and national board certification visit www.nccaom.org. To find an NCCAOM National Board-Certified Practitioner™ in your area, click on Find a Practitioner at www.nccaom.org.
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1 Bolash, B., Bauer, M., Camardella, L., Koppelman, M., McDonald, J., Meade, L., Miller, D. (2017) Acupuncture’s Role in Solving the Opioid Epidemic: Evidence, Cost-Effectiveness, and Care Availability for Acupuncture  as a Primary, Non-Pharmacologic Method for Pain Relief and Management.


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Valerie Perez
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