New Law Includes Acupuncture!

Rarely does a new law get me as excited as our new health care law, the Affordable Care Act. I had largely steered clear of the political bantering, or of learning much about the law until I attended a billing conference recently. I was incredibly pleased to come away learning that the law actually benefits Californians who seek acupuncture.

According to California’s interpretation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare as some people prefer to call it), acupuncture is considered to be an Essential Health Benefit. What this means, quite plainly, is that any insurance company that provides benefits for California residents must cover acupuncture.

One of the main questions that potential patients ask me is: “does my insurance cover acupuncture?” Prior to January 1, 2014, I would have to look up each individual plan to find out. Now I can very clearly state: Yes.

Now, is anything, particularly related to insurance, that simple? Not quite. Plans are still unique. Some plans will have deductibles to satisfy. Other HMO plans such as Kaiser or Brown & Toland here in San Francisco, though they do have to pay for acupuncture, have a small number of in-network acupuncturists. It remains to be seen what will happen within the HMO system. My hope is that the increased patient demand will force Kaiser and Brown & Toland to pay for out-of-network acupuncture. If you have Kaiser or any other HMO, do not despair.  There are still affordable options available to you.

The exciting bottom line is that the Affordable Care Act essentially removed a few barriers to receiving acupuncture. Not only does it increase access for millions of Californians, it validates acupuncture as a useful, effective and ESSENTIAL method of treating a variety of conditions.

Ready to make your next acupuncture appointment?


Come on Downtown for some Acupuncture!

I am excited to share the news that I have moved my office to downtown San Francisco!

The time was right for making a change. After nearly a decade in my home office, I decided it was time to rejoin the bustle of downtown. I am now working with Peggy Newcomer, DO, Board Certified Family Physician.

My new office is located on the 12th floor of the historic Mills Building. Centrally located, there is a parking garage beneath the building and under adjacent buildings for your convenience. Arriving by transit, the Mills Building is just one block from Montgomery Street station (BART/Muni).

I look forward to seeing you downtown!

Boland Family Acupuncture
220 Montgomery Street, Suite 1212
San Francisco, CA 94014

Acupuncture, Your Health, and the World Series

Tomorrow is Game 1 of the 2012 World Series–the San Francisco Giants against the Detroit Tigers!

Not everyone reading this post is a baseball fan, but keep reading to see how similar we are to all of the Giants and Tigers players.  Professional baseball players have gotten where they are for a variety of reasons: talent, luck, and physical conditioning, among other things. You may think that you have nothing in common with  professional athletes, but you do. One of the key elements of their success is their team of health care providers both on and off the field. Without this team of medical professionals, these athletes would not be where they are today.

What does this mean for the rest of us? We all have our own team of professionals. Look around you — who are the ones who keep you going on a daily basis? Who helps you out when you’re hurt or ill? More importantly, who helps keep you going when you are well? Wellness care is equally essential, if not more, than intervention during illness. In fact, in ancient China, doctors were often fired when their patients became ill!

Western medicine is designed to treat illness, and in a lot of ways it excels in its endeavor. However, can you imagine a life with minimal pain or illness? While we all hold different keys to our own health, here are some ways to bring your health back to your consciousness:

1) Sleep. It can be as simple as knowing your natural circadian rhythm. As much as you can, allow yourself to fall asleep naturally, then see what time you wake up, without help from an alarm. You’ll learn a lot about your internal clock, and may not have to fight the pillow as much if you can keep to your natural rhythm.

2) Exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to work out 5 times per week in a gym. Look at your day-to-day patterns. Are you sitting for 9 hours at work and then another 4 -6 at home? Stand up more, walk the halls, get outside at lunch, and take the breaks that are provided to you.

3) Gather your friends. Maintain your friendships, be active with them, make meals together, enjoy cups of coffee or glasses of wine, and be sure to laugh on a regular basis.

4) Gather your health team. Keep up on your regular dental appointments, get acupuncture monthly even when you feel fine, see a great chiropractor or Pilates instructor to keep up your physical alignment. If money is a concern, stagger your appointments so that you have something every other week. The bottom line is that health is cheaper than illness.

And, for those Giants fans, go team!