March Update from John MacDonald
I am writing this update because Executive Director Fried, who has worked tirelessly over the last six months, is taking a much needed short vacation. To date, our wonderful volunteers have provided over 4000 free treatments. The number of acupuncturists that we have sent into Louisiana exceeds the total number of people licensed to practice acupuncture in Louisiana.
Sadly, correspondence from the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners forced AWB to temporarily cease providing free acupuncture treatments, although several dedicated individuals are providing ear seeds and qi (see communication from Quang Huynh, below). AWB is working on this issue and I am the point person. Our initial request, the Board’s response, and our reply to the Board can be found on our website.
Briefly, the Board stated that it will not reconsider allowing out-of-state acupuncturists to continue to provide treatment until the Department of Health and Hospitals inform that there is a need for acupuncture treatments that is not being met by Louisiana licensees.
We have initiated a petition drive and a petition form is on the website and many of you have already filled it out. We are circulating physical petitions in the New Orleans area. We also put out a flyer which identified contact individuals at DHH and the Board. It is no longer necessary to contact the individual at DHH. We are finding DHH to be very cooperative.
Our biggest obstacle will be reaching some accommodation with the Board on the supervising physician provisions in Louisiana law. We are hoping find a creative solution that the Board is willing to accept. We are only seeking permission to use the NADA protocol of five needles in each ear. The Board’s next meeting is in late March and we expect to be on the agenda. If you know of acupuncturists, physicians, or government officials or other individuals in Louisiana that might be of any help, please let me know immediately.
We continue to have a great need for donations to continue our efforts in Louisiana and to position us to respond to future disasters. Some of our members have been creative in raising donations such as sponsoring small fund-raising benefits with a New Orleans theme, giving Powerpoint presentations to local organizations, or placing donation jars in their offices or local stores. We can instruct you on how to do this in your community. Others have been successful in getting articles published in their local papers.
If you can volunteer a couple of hours a week, we can use your help no matter where you are located.
From Quang Huynh, who is still going to AWB clinics in New Orleans, and providing ear seeds to people, and asking them to sign our petition:
“Valerie and I had a busy day today , we give ear seed to about 50 people at love kitchen [Emergency Communities kitchen, also known as Made With Love Café, or we call it the Love Kitchen!]. They respond to ear seeds great !! very great ! with our skillful hands and Qi , we still help Louisiana people.”
We are grateful for all your support. The need for the healing power of acupuncture in times of crisis is monumental. Let’s continue to build an acupuncturists’ organization capable of meeting the need.