Kelly Boutwell 0

Acupuncture services on the Florida Adult Cystic Fibrosis Waiver Program

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ISSUE: Acupuncture for people with Cystic Fibrosis is currently a professional service available on the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Waiver Program. The Adult Cystic Fibrosis Waiver Program has made the decision to eliminate this critical medical service for Floridians with Cystic Fibrosis. POSITION: Acupuncture services by licensed Florida physicians should continue to be a choice available for consumers on the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Waiver Program that meet the federal and state criteria of medical necessity for this professional service. This professional medical service should not be eliminated from the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Waiver Program without a qualified examination of the service and its benefits to people with Cystic Fibrosis by the appropriate medical experts in the field to include licensed Acupuncture Physicians. DISCUSSION: Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease that causes certain glands in the body to not work properly and damages the lungs, pancreas and other organs. This causes thick, sticky secretions in the lungs, digestive tract, and reproductive system that can result in lung infections, respiratory failure, nutritional deficiencies, and infertility. There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis and currently Cystic Fibrosis is a fatal disease. Today, the average life span for people with CF who live to adulthood is approximately 37 years. With treatment, most people with Cystic Fibrosis grow up and lead active, full lives. The most serious effects of Cystic Fibrosis are on the respiratory and digestive systems. Lung transplants are a treatment option for people with severe lung disease due to Cystic Fibrosis. Most children with cystic fibrosis are fairly healthy until they reach adulthood. They are able to participate in most activities and should be able to attend school. Many young adults with cystic fibrosis finish college or find employment. Lung disease eventually worsens to the point where the person is disabled. Death is usually caused by lung complications. Acupuncture can benefit a person with Cystic Fibrosis by strengthening their compromised immune system and by improving their respiratory, digestive, and cardiovascular systems, the main issues for Floridians with Cystic Fibrosis. Typically acupuncture is a private pay professional service that may not be affordable to a person with advanced Cystic Fibrosis living with limited financial means. The National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Acupuncture (1997) concluded that the “Data for acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies” and “The incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.” Acupuncture is an evidence-based complementary medical service that is one of the most well researched medical approaches. • Duke University Integrative Medicine Center: The Duke Encyclopedia of New Medicine includes a medical protocol for Cystic Fibrosis that includes acupuncture. The protocol states that acupuncture “can decrease the amount of pain experienced by Cystic Fibrosis patients without causing any side effects or complications.” Duke University Integrative Medicine Center has Acupuncture Physicians on their interdisciplinary health team. Dr. Janet Shaffer, Acupuncture Physician at Duke University Integrative Medicine Center, reports that Acupuncture can benefit a person with Cystic Fibrosis by improving the respiratory system – clearing phlegm better; improving the digestive system - reducing phlegm production; improving cardiovascular circulation thereby improving the efficacy of pharmaceutical treatments. Acupuncture can assist in improving sleep and appetite, lowering stress levels and fatigue, problems common to people with chronic Cystic Fibrosis. Acupuncture can provide some protection from infection for people with Cystic Fibrosis by strengthening their immune system. Dr. Shaffer also states that acupuncture is an excellent pre-surgery preparation for a lung transplant. • Harvard Medical School, Yale Medical Center, John Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center, and other major research university medical centers are providing acupuncture services, conducting research on acupuncture, and some are providing training in acupuncture for medical doctors. • Mayo Clinic: Acupuncture has been in use at the Mayo Clinic since the 1970s and they report that “Acupuncture has proven to be a safe and effective therapy.” • World Health Organization: “Found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for 28 conditions and there is evidence to suggest it may be effective for several more.” SUMMARY: Acupuncture is an evidence-based professional medical service that can provide significant benefits to Floridians living with Adult Cystic Fibrosis and improve their quality of life while potentially extending life while waiting for a lung transplant. The ACF Waiver Program has stated that Acupuncture can be eliminated because it is difficult to provide the legislature justification on why this service is beneficial and should remain on the ACF Waiver Program. This legislative brief is written to address that concern. There is a need to educate health professionals and people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families and care systems on the potential benefits of acupuncture services for people with advanced Cystic Fibrosis. We ask the Florida legislature to 1. Continue this critical medically necessary service as a choice available for Floridians with Cystic Fibrosis enrolled on the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Waiver Program 2. Appoint a committee of qualified professionals, certainly to include licensed Florida Acupuncture Physicians, to prepare a position paper on the use of acupuncture for people with Cystic Fibrosis.

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