revised and updated 12.08.2015
keywords: credentialing, privileging, hospital
admin, PCMs, peer record review, supervision, licensed independent practitioner
(LIP), ACAOM-accredited programs
related topics: dual-licensees, professional
practice evaluation (FPPE, OPPE, peer record review), recognition as an LIP
The Ideal Hospital
Sponsor Relationship for an L.Ac.
To get started in a
hospital, it has been the experience of successful hospital-practice L.Ac.s to
date that they need a Sponsor.
A sponsor is a
hospital physician, already established at your medical center, who is willing
to support you to be hired. This person advocates for you through
the credentialing process. This may even be the same person who
writes your position description (job duties). The Sponsor takes on
responsibility for you and your potential for better or worse.
understands hospital culture, navigates it easily, and protects you from the
political intricacies while mentoring you to work within it.
Ideally, you have
more than just your Sponsor who advocates for you at your hospital. It
is your job to make your Sponsor’s “advocacy” as easy as possible.
Eventually, the ideal
is that the hospital will see what a wonderful asset you and your medicine are
and more L.Ac. providers will be hired and incorporated in more departments and
areas of patient care and admin and research. And someday, enough
that an Acupuncture/EAM department may be useful, if such is the case that the
hospital is large enough to have physical therapy department or a
psychology/behavioral health department.
How are Hospital
Sponsors/Advocates grown or cultivated?
is a wide variety of examples.
However, one common
thread I hear through all these shared stories and experiences is that they
(sponsors) believe in what we do. Usually through personal experience
or from hearing and seeing positive feedback and results from patients who
receive care from an East Asian Medicine Practitioner/Acupuncturist.
Some physicians have
also taken a medical acupuncture course or auriculotherapy course. This
is not, however, the majority.
A small number of
sponsors are also L.Ac.s. These are our rare MD-L.Ac.s or DO-L.Ac.s
or ARNP-L.Ac.s. For easier terminology, I will call them “dual-licensed L.Ac.s
Peer Record Review,
LIP, and the Sponsor
L.Ac.s, as licensed
independent practitioners (LIP),
administrative supervision, not practice supervision. L.Ac.s can, by
education and training standards, receive practice supervision from someone of
the same level of ACAOM-accredited education, another L.Ac. This is
consistent with being an LIP. LIPs, in the hospital setting, must participate
in peer record review, a professional performance evaluation standard
(FPPE/OPPE). If an L.Ac. is the only L.Ac. at a facility, this is a
challenge. See related posts on Who supervises the work of an Acupuncturist
, Peer Record Review
, Occupational Code
, and the Meridians article
The Sponsor, if he is
a dual-license L.Ac., could also be the peer reviewer, by virtue of his
ACAOM-accredited training and L.Ac. licensing. This would be a
work-around until more L.Ac.s could be hired. See Dual-licensee post for more information.
Example of Hospital
A PCM with a medical
staff appointment (usually a physician) at a medical center takes an interest
in wanting to hire an L.Ac. This person will hereon be called
the “hospital sponsor”. This usually comes from one (or more) of the following
- Interest in non-drug
pain management options (possible push from Joint Commission’s standard if med
center has a pain management program)
- Interest in
integrative medical therapies
- Has had patients
request Integrative Medicine (IM) therapies, particularly acupuncture, and is interested in bringing
related staff on-board as employees to help fill the need and patient requests
- Is interested in a
PCMH model that incorporates IM
- The state’s
interpretation of the Affordable Health Care Act includes insurance coverage of
acupuncture as practiced by L.Ac.s [affordable health care act post/worker’s comp coverage of acupuncture post]
- Great need (or
interest) in medical center for non-drug treatment option such as acupuncture
that decreases ER return rates, inpatient hospital stay length, and surgery
recovery statistics [see Allina example of incorporating EAMPs/L.Ac.s in the ER]
Sponsor is Innovator and Synergist, more than your average Administrator
The hospital sponsor
is usually a physician who has some administrative time allowed in schedule or
is incredibly motivated. The hospital sponsor will next do one of
- Request to hire one
L.Ac., in her area of hospital. For example, the hospital
sponsor is main provider at a OB clinic and wants to add an L.Ac. to her staff.
- Request to hire
multiple L.Ac.s as part of a creation of a specific Integrative Medicine (IM) clinic
or healthcare system-wide creation of IM clinics, such as for pain management
and/or IM rehabilitation clinics
Among other things,
the hospital sponsor will have to do the following:
Get idea approved by
Create a position
description for the L.Ac.
Create a hiring
package with HR for the L.Ac.
credentialing package for L.Ac., working with the credentialing department
As part of hiring
process, present credentialing packet and drafted delineation of clinical
privileges to the hospital credentialing committee on behalf of the soon-to-be
hired L.Ac. employee
When working with
Credentialing department specialist to create packet, the following is often
Useful items when
working with the credentialing department and credentialing committee:
state’s scope of practice for practitioner
description created for L.Ac.
Once L.Ac. is hired,
and if she is the first L.Ac. ever to be hired by this medical center, the
Works with the L.Ac.
to develop basic SOP (standard operating procedures) based on her industry
standards and experience.
The L.Ac. is able to
direct her hospital sponsor to her national standard organizations to find the
best and most current standards and regulations that may apply. Contact your national EAM/AOM standard organizations and see your EAM/L.Ac. Hospital practice group on social media
IM = integrative medicine
PCMH = patient-centered medical home
L.Ac./EAMP = state license titles for Acupuncturist. "Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.)" and "East Asian Medicine Practitioner (EAMP)". Most common state title is L.Ac.