The types of healthcare available for veterans in this country may be about to include Traditional Chinese Medicine, as a new veterans bill is on the docket.
A measure to increase veterans’ access to acupuncture was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. Sponsored by Californian Rep. Judy Chu, the bill is entitled “Acupuncture for our Heroes Act” and aims to expand existing healthcare veteran services to include acupuncture.
This would mean that all health care facilities and clinics which offer care to veterans would be legally required to hire an acupuncturist. Chu herself is a supporter of acupuncture after having witnessed how effective it is in treating numerous health complaints.
“But I’ve also seen how stigma or lack of understanding of acupuncture and traditional Asian medicine has put it out of reach for many as insurance won’t cover the treatment,” Chu told NBC News. “This means fewer options at exactly the time when we need more.”
The act would treat, at the minimum, the following conditions:
(1) Chronic and acute pain.
(2) Cancer pain.
(3) Postoperative nausea and vomiting.
(4) Postsurgical gastroparesis syndrome.
(5) Opioid-induced constipation.
(6) Opioid-induced pruritus.
(7) Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.
(8) Aromatase inhibitor-associated joint pain.
(9) Neck dissection-related pain and dysfunction.
(10) Stress management.
(11) Mental health conditions.
(12) Substance abuse.
(13) Symptoms relating to traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.
Chu’s enthusiasm for the bill stems from a desire to steer veterans towards “non-addictive alternates” to opioids. This makes sense as the percentage of veterans suffering chronic pain is 81.5% according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. While the opioid epidemic continues to spread, there are actions being taken to prevent more Americans becoming addicted:
* the FDA recently removed one from the market, and
* several ERs are treating patients with acupuncture instead of painkillers.
“I’m hopeful that this legislation will mean more available healthcare for our veterans while also helping to improve the image and understanding of acupuncture in America,” Chu added.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs states that, as of its last count at 2014, there are 558,000 veterans in the state of Washington. If you’re a veteran seeking relief from any of the above symptoms, please call the clinic today and schedule an appointment.
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