What’s happening, what’s mandatory, what’s mandatory. What’s not mandatory. What can I do? What do I have to do? And who can tell me to do it? So let’s go to the slides and let’s talk about what is mandatory and requirements for an acupuncture provider.
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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors. Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.
Hi everyone. This is Sam Collins, your coding and billing expert for acupuncture and the American Acupuncture Council Network and information network, as well as the insurance company, of course, and welcome to another edition of, to the point and how to make sure your practice is doing well. This time, the topic is not going to be on coding and billing, not this week because obviously with a lot that’s going on very timely because we’re now getting close to October is what’s going to go on with vaccines. What’s happening, what’s mandatory, what’s mandatory. What’s not mandatory. What can I do? What do I have to do? And who can tell me to do it? So let’s go to the slides and let’s talk about what is mandatory and requirements for an acupuncture provider. As far as vaccines are concerned, do I have to get one and who can tell me to get one?
So you want to think about who can mandate, well, several things. There can be a mandate by the government, whether it be the federal, it could be the state, even local. You might have a city or a county. And then of course also private businesses may do so as well. So we have to remember, let’s look at, to see who is doing it, what they’re saying we have to do, and whether or not there’s going to be compliance for it. Because one of the things that’s occurring is a lot of people have gotten misinformation about who’s doing, or when they’re saying it, who they actually are including. So let’s start work first with this misinformation and misinterpretation. So you’ll see here in July 6th, the office of the alphas of legal council mandated that they said, no, we can do vaccine mandate. So there’s nothing constitutional.
We can say, oh, well I have a private citizen, right? And so forth. Well, we have a lot of rights, but do you have to wear a seatbelt? You know, do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in some areas? So it’s that type of thing. So be careful if someone’s saying they can’t do it, they can, we have to look at, are they mandating it for us to do it? So let’s go here and let’s talk about federally, what’s happening for Medicare. So you’re going to see here at president Biden, you know, back a few weeks ago, made this big statement about Medicare, that Medicare is mandating it and they have to in federal and everyone was up in arms like, oh my God, is it going to have to be something we have to do? Well, they made a mandate that it said, yes, the key is, does that include acupuncturist?
Who does it include? And it’s often says facilities and people wonder what’s a facility. Well, facility generally is going to be a facility that provides services within it, such as a hospital, skilled nursing, that type, not generally individual provider offices. So with that said, what about the Medicare part under the federal? Does that apply well currently, of course. And I’m sure you’re well aware. Can an acupuncturist join Medicare? No. So that means absolutely not. Now a quick note, is there a bill right now to get acupuncture, to be part of Medicare? Yes. So make sure you’re supporting it. But as of now, there is no mandate for acupuncturists to even be in Medicare. So we want to be careful. That’s not part of it. There is a mandate that for Medicare facilities and providers, hospitals, that doesn’t include individual providers fee for service providers. So let’s just say you are working in a Medicare facility like within a hospital or a big clinic there you might be.
But for most of us, we’re working in private offices. So even if we were in Medicare, we wouldn’t have to, in fact, look here, it says a spokesperson directly. And this was just a week ago. This regulation does not directly apply to physician’s offices. If these are considered regulated under the provider specific Medicare health and safety regulatory provision, generally referred to as a condition of participation. In other words, in simplest terms as an individual provider, even if you were treating Medicare patients in a private office, you do not have to have a vaccination. So the federal rule actually does not apply to everyone. Now, if you are a medical doctor working in a hospital, yes. If you’re a nurse working in a hospital, if you’re an acupuncturist working in a hospital and there’s a few of you, that could be, but so long as you’re working in a private office, absolutely not.
So that being said, let’s talk about the conclusion of this and really what it means. Acupuncture providers can’t even join Medicare. So the, the mandate really doesn’t match. The only way it would, as I mentioned, would be if you were working inside one of those facilities. So again, from the federal level, nothing to worry about as far as a federal mandate for an acupuncture provider to do a vaccination or have a vaccination. And remember when they’re saying vaccinations, they’re also referring to also staff. So let’s talk about another federal plan. I’m sure many of you have heard or seen the VA made an announcement that they’re going to require vaccinations. And so here is on July 26th, they said the department of veterans affairs, making vaccines mandatory to all VA health personnel, including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and even went so far as to say anyone doing veteran administration through the VA choice program.
And so of course, everyone’s like, oh, what does this mean? Is this something that it’s going to be mandatory for me? And of course they had to make a clarification because everyone were all upset. Like, no, and you’ll see here. It says, and this is something the VA has posted. They are not requiring community providers, which is where acupuncturists fit. If you are working in your office as a community provider on a standard episode of care, where they refer a patient, there is no requirement for you, whether you belong to the Optum on the east coast or try west on the west coast. Now they do say they strongly recommend that you should have the vaccine, but there is no mandatory requirements. So both on the federal level of Medicare, the federal level of the VA, there is no requirement for vaccinations unless you’re working within a facility doing those services.
So by example, there are acupuncturist who work in the VA hospitals, or work in the big VA centers for those acupuncturist. If you work there, you will be vaccinated as every provider within that. Heck if you’re a janitor in those types of facilities, you are going to have to do, um, a vaccination. Well, let’s move the next step. What about state rules can states make that happen? So the first one I’ll point out here is for California. Now this is just an example of one for California. The department of health first came out and said they issued a mandatory vaccine for offices. And of course, everyone was like, what lost their mind going crazy? And I always will say, make sure that you understand the full rule read in detail. You’ll notice here. They made it mandatory. But however it says, we have exemptions which include acupuncture offices.
And in fact, this includes all types of facilities that are not covered under this order. So this means acupuncture offices. And of course all the rest of these meaning chiropractic as well as natural paths and almost every individual office occupational therapy, okay. Optometry offices, podiatry offices, physical therapy places. So in other words, it’s really, again, kind of going back to the facility areas, not the individual providers, again, facilities. So California does not have a mandatory facility for you even first days. If you work at a theme park, some people that if I’m a theme park nurse, I have to do it. So pretty much exempt except facility. So I will go back to kind of California followed the mandate of the federal government, which said facilities. However, we have to be careful. Some states are pushing it. So by example here, what about the state of New York?
Well, New York has made a mandate that says as of August 25th, their regulations include a broad vaccine mandate for New York health care facilities. So again, I want to use this term broadly and say facilities. And so here are the emergency regulations apply to each of the following types of categories in the state of New York, which is going to be general hospitals, nursing homes, okay. Diagnostic and treatment centers, including without limitation, community providers and birthing centers, again, big places. And then along with that certified home agencies and so forth, but I will highlight again, home health in person hospices, but this does not include acupuncture, adult care. So notice again, kind of the facilities area of this. That is where it applies. But while California New York don’t what about the state of Washington? Now, Washington is a bit different now you’re thinking, well, Sam, I’m not in one of those states.
What I’m going to implore you to do is make sure to check your state. There’s only a few that are, but definitely Washington is making an issue Washington as had a proclamation by the governor that on August that they’re requiring it. And within this, this means that you are mandatorily required to have vaccinations. And it has to be by October 18th. So this status includes again, acupuncture offices. It includes every employee providing healthcare. So it means everyone in your office, which means this is going to be difficult. Every one of us has to be within this. And it does mean acupuncture providers are included. So Washington’s going to be a bit tough. Now, are there exemptions you might be able to have absolutely. There can be exemptions, but it’s mostly religious exemption. So I would be careful, I would say, make sure, make sure that you verify within your state.
Cause I’m going to tell you for Washington right now, they’re pushing the issue. Now what’s going to be interesting is how are they going to enforce it? Are they going to require each licensee to send information? And they may, well, what if you don’t send it, could they suspend your license for a while? Possibly. So something I would look at well beyond the state of Washington there, again, as I mentioned, there’s exemptions, but I want to highlight Oregon is doing the same thing. Oregon is requiring it by October 18th, as well with no exemptions other than religious. So again, know your state. So if we go down just the west coast, Washington, Oregon, yes, California, no New York says no, at least for us, but you’ve got to be careful. So again, on a state level, if your state is enforcing it, please look at your licensing board, make sure, check with legal counsel to make sure am I in a position where I’m willing to fight back on this or do I just have to get the vaccination?
That’s gonna be a tough choice for some obviously, well, let’s move on to the next thing here. If the healthcare provider works in a healthcare setting, they must register request accommodations for the operator, which means, again, be careful of these exemptions. If your staff says that they can’t be there certainly could be healthcare concerns that do it. If they have a healthcare issue that doesn’t allow them, but be very careful. Am I really doing things that are vaccinated? It says if an individual does not qualify for an accommodation, they must get vaccinated. And notice it says, testing, not allow. There are some states that will say, Hey, no vaccine, but get tested. California is doing that. But of course that means for us, it doesn’t matter. Cause it’s not a requirement. But if you’re working in a facility, they would require this testing. So others are pushing back.
Well, what’s the next place. Okay. So we went from state and I get I’m an employee to look at your own state. What about local employers? Can they do it? According to legal side, a private company is allowed to mandate vaccines. You know, kind of private company mandate a lot of things, dress code, and otherwise in the United States, you’ll see here in the second box, mostly our employers and employees are at will. And this employment means you can be dismissed for anything, which could be, Hey, you relate to times this week, but if you won’t get vaccinated, so it becomes one of those ones. If local is doing it, meaning an employer, they could enforce it. Now could you try to bring a lawsuit? I’m sure you could. But in the, between of the lawsuit, would they allow you to continue working? Probably not. So I want you to be very conscientious of knowing within the rules of what is having to be done.
I’m not finding for us, that’s going to apply as much because you’re the employer. But let’s say you’re employed by someone. What if you work in an office where you’re with an MD or a chiropractor or anyone else and they mandate, Hey, we want you to have that. Well, I’ll give you an example. Take a look at this. Does Disneyland. If you work for Disney, can you have facial hair? Do you know up into 2000 at Disneyland, you could not have even a mustache. Even though Walt had a mustache, Disneyland wanted to be clean cut and no one could have facial hair. So that meant if you wanted to grow a beard, you can, you’re just not working for Disney. And so Walt had one, but up into 2000, you could have a very small trimmed mustache. Now the rule is you can have facial hair, it’s allowed, but notice what they say.
Employees are allowed to have beards as long as they’re kept shortened and trim. So what I’m bringing this up for is that always understand who has the right to do it as an individual. Do you have a right to say, I don’t want to do something. Sure. But that could mean you don’t have a right to like come into the business. For instance, could you say, I don’t want to wear clothes and go into a store or I don’t want to wear a shirt. Let’s not even go that far to just say no clothes at all. And we all know that no shoes, no shirt, no service. So the same thing applies. What I want to make sure is I hope most of you were on board with this, but I will tell you many of you have not. And I’m going to ask you, where are you getting your information?
This is the webpage of the American acupuncture council network. And I want you to see, I put it in red here talking about federal vaccine mandates do not include acupuncture offices. We’ve put in three times this. So if you haven’t already go to the American acupuncture council network page, go to the new section and sign up for our newsletter. Cause we keep you constantly updated as to what’s going on. And I want to just as a little tease, do you see that one I highlighted in blue? It says ICD 10 updates happen. October 1st include new new codes for back pain. How many of you were aware of that? So a week from Friday new codes for back pain, are you on top of that? The American acupuncture council, we’re here to be your resource, the network, especially seminars, our network service. If you don’t have a place to get this information correctly, you’re going to be lost.
Remember the internet is not your friend when it comes to this information because there’s just as much bad information come to the trusted resource, go to our site. If nothing else, at least get into the new section. Because if you don’t, we’re going to have some problems. Please make sure you’re always set to understand what’s new, what’s changed. And we’re always that resource. So be careful. Do I have to get a vaccine on a federal level? No VA level, no. Some states, yes. I gave just a few examples. So make sure, and of course, if you work for someone, it could be from them. If you need to know more information about that, we are the place to go. So what I’m going to say to all of you is thank you very much. If you want the resource go to our website, it’s just simple AC info network. We’re going to help you. We do continue education and much more than that. And for next week next, our host will be Poney Chiang. Remember the American Acupuncture Council is always your resource. And if you don’t have the right information, you’re likely not getting paid. And of course we want you to get paid. See you next time, everyone. Thanks for being with me.