Another push for fpd?

Something I found exasperating in my school's clinic (thanks, Steve Knobler and Cris M. for the idea for this blog) were too many times when there were not enough patients for every student. There was no excuse for that. Those  slots should not have been vacant as often as they were.

We paid a lot of money (and students since then have been paying even more) for the education. The school was located in Berkeley(!), where many people are very open to acupuncture/Chinese Medicine, where there are one or 2 acupuncturists on almost every block! There were no community acupuncture clinics in the area at that time. The clinic should have been constantly full -- overflowing, even.

As far as I knew, the school did no community outreach, no marketing to increase the patient traffic. And this school was supposed to have had a busier clinic than the other one a few miles away! If we were considered "busy', I wonder how much downtime the students in the other school's clinic had?

Now, we have to deal, yet again, with another push for a compulsory doctorate program (with the schools being primary beneficiaries of this misguided, self-serving movement). Is this an annual event?

Yesterday, I had a client with bilateral knee pain which had woken her up from sleep (intensity 10/10) several times in the past week. Thanks to Tan's Balance Method, within a few minutes of needle insertion, her pain was gone. If I had a doctorate, would I have been able to help her better? Would the treatment have been more effective? Would the treatment have been safer? No, No,and No.

Don't make a doctorate a requirement to practice/to be able to continue practicing acupuncture/Chinese Medicine. A doctorate is not necessary to safely and effectively treat many people. The Master's program was, and is, more than sufficient.To be able to treat people safely and effectively with acupuncture, the Master's program is actually 2 years too long.

David Villanueva, Oasis Community Acupuncture, Newark, CA

This story was posted on November 19 2009 by david villanueva.
Tags: fpd

Comments

  • November 19 2009 at 12:29 PM
    Jessica Feltz writes:

    “The Master’s program was, and is, more than sufficient. “

    Thank you, David.  Well said.

      0 likes
  • November 19 2009 at 2:16 PM
    tessmcginn writes:

    All true… well said

    If the annual issue of bringing up the same subject of YET more education for little return and more debt weren’t so aggravating it would be downright funny.  It hurts the profession generally and specifically it hurts community acupuncture because it probably sounds insane to some acupuncturists who are looking at $50,000 in debt to think of charging $15 a treatment.  In fact, it may sound almost cruel, like a bait and switch tactic.  

     

    As counter intuitive as it is to say.  Charging people affordable fees for our services is one of the few ways you can make a living in a profession in which you have racked up so much debt.  I can’t believe what you students are up for.  Even 10 years ago it wasn’t like that.  

     

    Please help us save this profession by stopping the madness of FPD.  It’s bad enough and entirely unnecessary to have this type of degree to practice acupuncture.  

     

    I know this because there are 2 MDs practicing acupuncture within a 15 minute drive from my office.  I get their patients alot (just today…in fact I even got the girlfriend of the patient because she could afford to at least give it a try) because of course when people hear of someone cheaper they are willing to give it a try.

     Almost everyone of those patients have made the switch.  It is not because I am so great but because I can do the job for a lot less.  My patients are not paying for my higher degree AND I prescribe herbs which the doctors do not even know how to do. 

    HIGHER EDUCATION MEANS HIGHER COSTS FOR THE PATIENTS.  And no matter what you think of community acupuncture this is the truth.  And if you charge patients more they will find a reason to stop coming to you.  And if a community acupuncture practice is down the street and you charge high prices, most of your patients will find their way to the cheaper prices.  People don’t need your advice, your moxibustion, your cold laser therapy more than they need acupuncture at affordable prices.  

     

    I love my clientele.  I see about 60 patients a week now and growing steady.  But if I suddenly raised my prices even by 20-30%, I would lose most of them.  No matter my reasoning, as my prices are going up so is a gallon of gas, a copay at the doctors office, price of a loaf of bread.  No matter how useful I may have been, a person’s got to eat, got to get to work, got to see the doctor for their medications…their basic needs come first.  Acupuncture comes second.  And it is folly to elevate our importance to any higher than buying groceries.  

    Most people in alternative medicine do not make a living in the profession.  If someone is making any money I would check into them very carefully because they are probably lying about it.  Primary care doctors are flocking out of their offices because they too are not making a living.  The basics of health care are being neglected.  My patients can’t find decent primary care doctors.  In most places in the US acupuncturists are not even available.

    STOP the madness and let our profession devote itself to other far more pressing problems.  (okay that’s it, now I’m tired) 

     

      0 likes
  • November 19 2009 at 4:20 PM
    Linda inDetroit writes:

    I have a large number of

    I have a large number of patients who are in their early 20s, they are just starting their independent lives, they come in so excited about acupuncture, it’s something they wanted to try, but could never afford it before.  These young people are making acupuncture a part of their lifetime health care, they tell their friends and family, they will most likely bring their future children in.   These people will change our profession from a fringe treatment only used by a few people to a common and normal part of healthcare.  

    Affordable treatments are essential to growth of the profession, people want safe, effective, and affordable treatment, they don’t care if we are called doctor.  I work with chiropractic doctors and if anything it seems like people feel more skeptical of their doctor title, to some it seems like they are trying too hard to prove something, they consider their MD their doctor, any other treatments are an adjunct.  

      0 likes
  • November 19 2009 at 5:16 PM
    david villanueva writes:

    “I work with chiropractic doctors

     and if anything it seems like people
    feel more skeptical of their doctor title, to some it seems like they
    are trying too hard to prove something”

    This reminds me of what several clients have told me when the subject of referrals has come up. Several have said that there are people they have talked to about coming to my office but they’re “afraid of doctors.” It always felt good to say, “Oh, I’m not a doctor. I’m an acupuncturist. Tell them there’s nothing to be scared of.”

      0 likes
  • November 19 2009 at 6:08 PM
    LarryG writes:

    i hear you, david

    At my school, the Tri-State College of Acupuncture, we did student clinic one day a week, on either a Friday or a Saturday.  I can honestly say, that there was not one clinic rotation where I did not treat a classmate.  I graduated with 48 people and we worked in teams of three.  There were times when we would have NO patients,  Most often, at least one and sometimes two people in the team got treated.  FPD stalwart Mark Seem is the president of TSCA.

    We were assured that student treatments “counted” in regards to their legitimacy toward what was required of us by state standards.  But the ironic part of treating my classmates, was that in the white coat environment that is TSCA student clinic, treating my fellow classmates was the closest thing to how I treat in clinic today: no playing at doctor, no patient counseling, quick and easy treatments and a relaxed interpersonal interaction without the otherwise forced and uncomfortable hierarchical patient-practitioner relationship. 

    There are over 1.6 million people on the island of Manhattan.  Robbie Benhuri and the punks at City Acupuncture of New York are crushing at their clinic, located 2 blocks away from TSCA.  Crushing.  And charging less than the TSCA student clinic.  That Mark Seem is one of the loudest proponents of the FPD, and his clinic doesn’t fill should turn heads. 

    But maybe we are the only ones really looking.

      0 likes
  • November 20 2009 at 12:34 PM
    david villanueva writes:

    Interesting to read your positive

    outlook on not having enough patients in school. I see your point. However, there is a big difference, as I see it. In school, we already knew our classmates before the treatments. In our own clinics, the relationship with clients grows over time.

    So the main voice behind this annual fpd drive is the president of your former school. And the schools stand to make a lot of money if this passes. Of course most of the schools are for it. Many are in almost constant financial crisis—they might have to close because of insufficient enrollments. I was reading an article he wrote on his school’s site. He writes as if this fpd is a done deal—that it’s now just a matter of time before he and a good number of other presidents of schools get their way. That’s enough right there to work to defeat it, yet again. The survey he writes about makes no mention of any input from patients, as if they’re non-existent. (I know that’s been written about before, on this site.)

      0 likes
  • November 23 2009 at 11:59 AM
    tessmcginn writes:

    actually David, I noticed

    from snooping on your website that you graduated from the same school as I.  It was Meiji College when I graduated in ‘99.  Benjamin Dierauf is a major proponent of the FPD as well. He has been pushing to raise clinic hours for years.  I sat in on a group other acupuncturists he gathered together years ago to get opinions on this.  As I recall, we all thought it ridiculous because the schools were not reliable sources for learning anything but the basics anyway.  But Ben does not give up easily I can assure you.  My google alert brought me to a  discussion he was having with Tatyana and others about the merits of a doctorate and that is something we “rightfully deserve” is the phrase he used I believe.

     At meiji, we also spent a fair bit of time treating each other as students.  Now that community clinics like Tatyana’s and Julia’s are nearby, the impact should be felt even more obviously.  At ACTCM, treatments by students were so expensive I was surprised anyone bothered to go there at all.

    I recall that some schools in southern California have relationships with hospitals and detox centers where students are trained off-site but who knows how that works out.  As Keith points out, the numbers of acupuncturists even practicing is so low that student clinic training quality or quantity is irrelevant once they are done with school because most of them will not be in practice 5 years after they graduate.

    I just hope that the activism we are practicing right here and now on this forum will inform prospective students doing their homework on the acupuncture profession.  Maybe the drive to affordable schools will be driven by them because maybe now they will be able to demand that schools have something to offer students beyond graduation in the form of employment.

      0 likes
  • November 25 2009 at 7:01 PM
    david villanueva writes:

    Hi, Tess. So we have the same

    alma mater. Yes, I do know of B. Dierauf and his backing of fpd that goes back years. I read the 1st article he wrote on Tatyana’s blog page (Acupuncture Channel) on this and it was so ridiculous. He broke down per year, over a period of 30? years, how much (or how little) investment someone would have to put in to get a doctorate. (It’s all about the money.)Of course, if you break something down over decades, you can always come up with a ridiculously small amount of monthly payment. But the point is, is it necessary? Does the profession need it? Does a doctorate need to be mandatory to be able to practice acupuncture? 

    As a side note, I think this blog—http://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/blog/chiropractors-perspective-fpd 

    (“A chiropractor’s perspective on the fpd”) is an excellent one and it would be a good idea to keep it way up on the CAN blog page.

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