Acupuncture Guild 62:
Who We Are, What We Stand For and What We Do
Thank you very much for having joined the National Guild of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Office & Professional Employees International Union, OPEIU Guild 62, AFL-CIO, CLC. We welcome you with open arms and hope that the Guild can serve you well now and throughout your career. The state and national leaders of the Guild, your fellow licensed acupuncturists, are dedicated to your professional and financial success. Your continued membership added to that of your brother and sister Guild members gives the Guild more power to serve you.
Guild Background and History
Organized labor, most notably the AFL-CIO www.aflcio.org with its 56 member unions, including our own parent union, OPEIU www.opeiu.org represents the evolution of the American social justice movement, which began more than 100 years ago. The combined strength of the 11.2 million members of the AFL-CIO has given groups of professionals like us legislative and bargaining power vastly disproportionate to our numbers. The Guild was formed in June of 2000 and joined OPEIU and through them the AFL-CIO. Our participation occurred after a Supreme Court ruling upheld the right of medical professionals to organize for concerted political action through affiliation with entities like the AFL-CIO. That makes us “pound for pound” far and away the strongest legislative fighters in the acupuncture field and a formidable opponent of those who would undermine or usurp the advancement of our profession.
How we operate and cooperate
The Guild uses legislative and affiliation power to advance licensed acupuncturists in every state. We always seek to actively work with existing state and national associations of acupuncturists to defend and strengthen our profession, and we encourage our members to actively support these organizations.
Guild leaders recently met in a national conference call with the president of the AAAOM, the current and past president of the Council of State Associations, the head of CSOMA, a large California association, and several Board members of AAAOM. We discovered that the positions which the Guild has been fighting for these past 13 years, including educational reform and integration into the medical mainstream, are now the focus of many such groups. The AAAOM is, with some exceptions mainly related to timing, in harmony with Guild initiatives and respects our intentions and our political and legislative power.
The president of the AAAOM and I met in NYC at OPEIU, AFL-CIO headquarters with the national president of the OPEIU and a board of directors member of the national AFL-CIO and Guild 62 New York and New Jersey Chapter vice-presidents. We had an exceptionally good meeting and we agreed to begin discussions to identify precisely how we may be able to work together where we can to pass national and state legislation that will drive revenues, protect the profession and extend the scope of practice of licensed acupuncturists. The Guild has taken the lead in bringing formerly competitive groups into cooperative and synergistic alignment.
Active communication and cooperation with other acupuncture associations gives the field strength through unity, where that unity is possible. Our code of conduct requires a pledge from all our members and leaders to treat everyone in our field with personal civility and respect, even while we may disagree on goals and strategies. We strive to make our conduct and our communications exemplary and courteous.
A brief word about your brothers and sisters of the Guild. The Guild openly accepts all licensed acupuncturists who seek membership, provided they embrace our code of conduct and keep their self-renewing membership dues current. The typical profile of our membership is of a licensed acupuncturist who is thoroughly committed to their profession and who is focused on becoming one of the top performers and income earners in their profession. They are building their practices and supporting their families well. This is not incompatible with the aspiration of those of our members who are involved in “community acupuncture” and are spreading licensed acupuncture services to as many patients as possible at the lowest possible fee. We commend them. We are a diverse professional association that respects diversity and supports many practice models. Acupuncturists should be able to practice as they prefer, e.g., herbs only, needling only, per the legal scope of practice as it is defined in their state.
Our typical member practices acupuncture as a full-time medical profession, cooperates with other medical providers, sees acupuncture as vital to the future of cost-effective, evidence-based medical practice and feels that their profession is the equal of any other medical profession. Many of our members see accepting insurance for major medical, worker’s compensation and auto and personal injury cases vital to the growth of their practices. Many of our members are committed to the additional business training and professional and personal development that are required to be the equal of anyone in the medical mainstream. The Guild helps to provide access to such training at discounted rates.
Guild members are secure in their commitment to a profession that has as much or more to offer the American public as any other form of medicine and are proud to represent their medicine. The Guild leaders, composed of full-time volunteer licensed acupuncturists, are devoted to helping our members succeed in fulfilling that commitment.
How can we help?
Once again, thank you very much for joining the Guild. We are doing our best to repay you the cost of membership many times over, by enhancing your revenues and securing the future of profession. Two powerful benefits accrue to each Guild member from these relationships: financial and legislative. More on this in a bit. First, we need your active participation to make certain that you get the most from the benefits, professional and financial, to which your membership gives you access.
We want to keep you fully apprised of what the Guild is doing on your behalf. Would you help us stay in closer touch so that we can involve you more fully in Guild activities? We have attached your NGAOM business card in Outlook. Would you kindly fill in any missing fields?
In the Notes area, would you kindly let us know:
- If you are willing to serve in any state or national leadership position; or
- If you have any areas of political or educational expertise which you would be willing to share with your fellows in the Guild?
- Also please also add to the Notes section your licensing information,
- Including your license number,
- The states and jurisdictions in which you are licensed
- And the expiration date.
- Finally, in the Notes section please indicate if you accept insurance in your practice
- And; if so, what percentage of your practice is represented by insurance. For all of these fields, please keep us informed of any changes.
- Next, in the notes section, please also let the National Guild know if you have a received your Perk’s Card, WellDyne Card and Identity Protection letter from the Guild’s parent union OPEIU.
- Each of these benefits can save you many times the cost of your membership if you use them! Carefully read the entire section on Guild Benefits ngaom.org/member-benefits/ to see the excellent benefits available.
- To receive updates on all the benefits and saving offered daily, we strongly recommend that you receive email updates by registering your Perk’s card with
Would you also let us know how you feel about Guild initiatives and by answering our questionnaire? The link to our site is ngaom.org/national-survey/
Benefits of OPEIU and AFL-CIO union affiliation
I mentioned that two powerful benefits accrue to each Guild member from these relationships: financial and legislative. Financially, working with the members of the each state’s AFL-CIO and their families nearly all of whom have good major medical cover, represents a huge opportunity for each of us to significantly enhance revenue. In my home state of Connecticut, for example our members, as union members, have special access to the 220,000 members of the Connecticut AFL-CIO and their families.
Access to the unions within each state requires networking. We encourage each Guild member to join their local Central Labor Council and to develop professional relationships at the monthly or bi-weekly meetings of these Council. Each Guild member has a letter of introduction to their local Central Labor Council from the President of the National AFL-CIO which can be downloaded, printed out, and distributed to each of the members of their local Central Labor Council. The procedure is to locate on Google the state AFL-CIO website and then search for the local Central Labor Council nearest you. Next, contact the president of the local Central Labor Council requesting permission to be a delegate to the local Central Labor Council. Next, the president will ask that a letter be sent from the national office of the Guild, and I will then send that letter. The whole process takes very little time, and the rewards of networking and deal making (thread in Basecamp) State and national leaders will blog extensively on the NGAOM project management website BASECAMP and send you an invitation to be part of that discussion, which has up to now been limited to our leadership across the country in the 14 states where we have Chapters. You now have the access to BASECAMP and will find the thread at https://basecamp.com/1969037/ where a great deal of support and background information is available to you.
Legislatively, we have remarkable resources available to us. We have access in each state to the leaders and the lobbyists of the National AFL-CIO, with the power of the 11.2 million members across the country backing up our efforts.
Our legislative agenda for 2013 in states in which we have members is to push ahead as far as we can go with the following initiatives and inclusions:
- Inclusion of licensed acupuncturists in all state employee health benefits plans
- Inclusion of licensed acupuncturists as state worker’s comp providers
- Authorization of licensed acupuncturists to order laboratory, blood, urine and saliva tests and imaging studies (x-rays & MRI’s) to document patient conditions and our progress in resolving them
- Inclusion of licensed acupuncturists in the state Health Insurance Exchange mandated benefits
If you want to get involved in these or other initiatives which you would like to propose for your state, would you please let us know?
Our state Chapters of the Guild would very much like to cooperate with all the State Associations of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, so that we are aligned with the same initiatives. We will continue trying because our profession needs to be unified and it needs to act and act promptly, given the requirements the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the fact the State Insurance Exchanges, which will serve 17% of the population, is being formulated and regulations set within the next 3 months!
The time to protect and expand the scope of licensed acupuncturists is now.
I very much want to speak to you about these issues. When have you time to speak and what number can I reach you on? If you prefer to call me, my office number is 860.413.2118 and my cell is 860.693.4948
Steve Paine, OMD