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Medical Board Bars Relief Efforts By Volunteer Acupuncturists
by Acupuncturists Without Borders Saturday, Mar. 04, 2006 at 7:41 AM
info@acuwithoutborders.org

The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners has made a decision barring the organization Acupuncturists Without Borders from bringing free community acupuncture to the people of New Orleans.

Medical Board Bars Relief Efforts By Volunteer Acupuncturists Citing the “Absence of a Demonstrated Need”

  New Orleans, February 20, 2006 -- Diana Fried, Executive Director of Acupuncturists Without Borders, announced that the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners has forced AWB to immediately terminate all of its humanitarian relief efforts in Louisiana.   The Board, in a letter dated February 17, 2006, gave as its reasoning, the “absence of a demonstrated need” for relief work by out-of-state volunteer acupuncturists.

  AWB volunteer out-of-state licensed acupuncturists have been providing free acupuncture treatments for stress, trauma, and insomnia at numerous locations in New Orleans and surrounding areas, from health clinics to emergency operations centers.  To date over 4000 free treatments have been performed.  AWB planned to continue providing thousands more over the coming months. 

  Director Fried stated: “The Board’s failure to recognize the continued need for free acupuncture treatments is puzzling, at best.  We know of only one Louisiana-licensed individual who is willing to do this work in New Orleans and that person can only commit to one day a month.”  AWB’s free acupuncture treatment program is the only known acupuncture program offering free stress relief treatments to Hurricane victims in New Orleans and surrounding areas.

  AWB will be seeking relief from DHH Secretary Cerise and the Louisiana Medical Board.  John MacDonald, AWB’s Director of Policy and Planning, expressed his doubt whether the Board will address this issue in a timely fashion .  “We wrote the Board in December.  They met in mid-January but did not inform us of their decision until their letter dated February 17th,,  I contacted the Board today and was told that the Board required 72 hours notice and would not look at our response until their meeting in late March.  The Board’s apparent lack of any sense of urgency is puzzling given the desperate need for health services of all types.”

  AWB has provides free treatments on a walk-in basis to residents, National Guardsmen, EMT's, workers and officials for FEMA and the Red Cross, policemen, firemen, utility workers, contractors, volunteers at emergency facilities, food kitchens, health clinics, and other locations throughout the city.  After the February 17th story about AWB in the Times Picayune, and the February 20th story on WDSU-TV, AWB has received hundreds of phone calls and emails from residents about where people can get treatments (many are urgent cries for help). At every clinic people desperately ask when the organization will return.

Please visit the AWB website at http://www.acuwithoutborders.org for up to date news and to sign the petition urging the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners to allow free acupuncture back into New Orleans.

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