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15 Acupuncture Schools with Failing Programs in the 2017 Official Gainful Employment List

  • 20 Mar 2017 3:22 AM
    Reply # 4677298 on 4673350
    MCOM graduate
    Catherine Niemiec, JD, L.Ac. wrote:

    AOM college loan default rates are extremely low, mostly in the single digits. This means our students are able to pay back their loans. "

    Catherine goes on to make the rest of her argument very comprehensively. But I want to point a flaw in the basic logic - just because there is a low default rate does NOT mean students can pay back their loans. I haven't defaulted, and neither have most students - not because I am doing well - but because I am honest and work with the system to get the most reasonable payment possible. I make roughly $36k annually and through my income based repayment plan I pay $150/ month. Unfortunately my annual interest accumulates at a faster rate than I can pay the loan. As a result, after ten years I now owe TWICE what I originally borrowed (I owe over $130,000), and if I didn't have an income based plan my loan payments would be over $1100/month, and I would have to default.


  • 20 Mar 2017 11:47 AM
    Reply # 4677962 on 4671064
    SHS

    Below you will find the income outcomes for the AOM schools as they appeared on the November 2016 GE list. Tri State numbers are notably higher than the others on the list. 12 schools on this list appealed and filed their complaint. On a letter received from the attorney asking the initial post be pulled from this site only 11 schools were copied. Tri State was not included.

    School Name

    avg income

    median income

    COLORADO SCHOOL OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

    20177

    21379

    EMPEROR'S COLLEGE OF TRADITIONAL ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    17688

    10003

    MIDWEST COLLEGE OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    29890

    24579

    TRI-STATE COLLEGE OF ACUPUNCTURE

    52471

    33423

    ACUPUNCTURE AND MASSAGE COLLEGE

    24551

    13598

    AMERICAN ACADEMY OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

    23504

    16251

    AMERICAN COLLEGE OF AOM

    26617

    9797

    AOMA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE

    19747

    14092

    EAST WEST COLLEGE OF NATURAL MEDICINE

    23820

    15424

    FLORIDA COLLEGE OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE

    19960

    8423

    PACIFIC COLLEGE OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    26457

    20665

    SOUTHWEST ACUPUNCTURE COLLEGE

    22590

    17260

    TEXAS HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY

    17316

    10977

    PHOENIX INSTITUTE OF HERBAL MED & ACUPUNCTURE

    25752

    15000

    SEATTLE INSTITUTE OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    24070

    16256

    TRI-STATE COLLEGE OF ACUPUNCTURE

    35012

    24362

    $25601.38

    $15837.5

    The whistleblower case against South Baylo filed by State of California item 32 reads as follows: "J.S. explained that 30% of the students admitted to respondent school were awarded a BSHS. The student are required to have two years of prior college and a minimum of 90 units to be admitted into the MSAOM program. The classes taken while enrolled in the MSAOM program are also applied to the BSHS degree to fulfill the 180 required units for the BSHS. According to J.S. the BHSHS was not an accredited program however, ACAOM allowed the school to issue the BSHS diplomas." Does this mean ACAOM was complicit in executing this academic sleight of hand? Or did ACAOM simply "miss" the trick?

    --Steven Stumpf

    Last modified: 20 Mar 2017 5:48 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)
  • 20 Mar 2017 11:56 AM
    Reply # 4677979 on 4671064
    SHS

    ACAOM saw in 2015 what was coming for the schools. I attended an AOM Leadership Conference in Spring 2015 which was hosted by CCAOM and others. Many school owners and other employees attended. The ACAOM Exec Dir (President?) made one of the first remarks. He announced that in the next few years half of all acu schools would be closed. I understand the next year he revised this figure to a third. I was stunned that he would speak such blasphemy at a conference hosted by AOM schools. I knew he was correct. I had shared conversations with him for at least a year prior. What happened next was even more shocking. Total silence. Not one school rep spoke up or asked a question.


    Last modified: 20 Mar 2017 5:49 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)
  • 20 Mar 2017 2:29 PM
    Reply # 4678288 on 4671064
    Anonymous

    Semmelweiss (thanks for identifying yourself) wrote: 

    " I'm struck by the way that insurers have succeeded in ratcheting down what they'll pay for acupuncture to about 1/4-1/3 of what they were paying 30 years ago in inflation adjusted terms. This appears to be a regional issue, with some states and locales much more heavily impacted by monopolistic corporations leveraging their marketing power than in others. It is not just acupuncture that's affected ... in some regions (like SoCal) a trend towards small independent medical docs selling their practices to local hospitals in order to avail themselves of the bargaining power such alliances provide in negotiating/billing has been the subject of consistent coverage in the press."

    In California every major insurer has outsourced the processing of claims to a group such as Priority Partners (MCO), Med Risk (TPA), Coventry (MCO), Regal Medical Group (MCO) and Align Networks (MAA). These are the main players in the California MAA market.  Align is probably the largest. They bundle reimbursement for 4 codes at $40; total, not per code. You can start out higher but you will end up at this rate. This is a Calif phenomenon that is not necessarily the case in other states. However, you can expect to see things go this way eventually. Of course this a basic issue that LAcs should be rallying around. Teaching practice management and business practices falls short of what is needed. A state centric approach to insurance regulations and practices seems like a good target to me.

    What about clinical training? Opioid abuse is a big story. How do LAcs get in front of this? IMO this is a great opportunity. My personal acupuncturist has told me she had to get all her useful education after she graduated; in seminars on how to bill, work with and when to refer to MDs and more. She got the DAOM because she believed she needed to "keep up."

    Clinical training post-grad is commonplace in mainstream health professions. You can be sure family docs and internists have access to training on opioid addiction recovery. These subjects should be standard in entry level acu programs.

  • 20 Mar 2017 10:10 PM
    Reply # 4679026 on 4671064
    AAAOM GRAD

    Angelika Krohn the Director of admissions at AAAOM Roseville, MN disagrees with the information in this article and states "They didn't get the metrics from AAAOM. AAAOM GRADS are working-median over $50K."


  • 21 Mar 2017 12:39 AM
    Reply # 4679232 on 4671064
    Hospital-Based LAc

    Ok everyone.  Reality check.

    Cash-based solo-practice with limited insurance reimbursement opportunity is not equal to (and cannot be compared to) “employment.” 

    Jobs (employment) for graduates are NOT readily available because the institutions who hire health care professionals depend upon insurance industry reimbursement.

    As for opioid epidemic - greater majority of opioid prescription-related accidental fatalities occur:

    • in populations disabled by chronic pain (a demographic dependent upon Medicare/Medicaid) 
    • in populations who serve our country (the demographic dependent upon TriCare and/or VA system)

    AAAOM is doing something about the opioid epidemic, job creation, and school closure threats.  Our “Acupuncture for Heroes & Seniors Act ” is written to ensure access to licensed acupuncturists by these specific populations and it generates employment opportunities for our profession.   

    Marilyn Allen and the American Society of Acupuncturists continue to voice their opposition to our lifesaving legislation courageously written by AAAOM visionaries in 2010http://goo.gl/v0Y3fu ) and at long last introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu in 2015 (https://aaaom.wildapricot.org/Federal-Legislation).  

    While we continue to be under-employed and pay $0/month on Obama’s IBR plan dreaming of a brighter tomorrow, or give up and leave the profession, two people die every hour en wait for our AAAOM federal legislation to become law!  Over 100,000 people have lost their lives since 2010 waiting for the 40,000 licensed acupuncturists to want it, and endorse it! 

    Many of us want to utilize our gifts and acquired skills, become gainfully employed providing specialty acupuncturists services in a variety of health care settings (or independently), pay off our $280,000 medical profession student loan debts, and save lives; however, for that to become a reality, the vocal majority need crusade loudly for LAc Medicare inclusion – the ultimate endorsement that validates our profession as legit/real and worthy of paying for.   

    Jobs for graduates will enable high quality schools to stay afloat. The Council of Colleges of AOM (CCAOM) was on Judy Chu's list of supporters of the AAAOM federal legislation during it's debut in Congress.  It appears that the schools, as a whole, see need for Medicare inclusion.  Now, it's time for the profession, as a whole, to want it as well.

    Thank you all who have devoted your lives (and made great sacrifice) to move this amazing profession forward for our grandchildren!  All hands on deck together!






  • 21 Mar 2017 1:33 AM
    Reply # 4679344 on 4671064
    Steven Stumpf

    i APPRECIATE THE INPUT AND AGREE THIS IS A TIME TO SUPPORT THE JUDY CHU BILL AND GET ON BOARD WITH MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT.

    THE STATEMENTS MADE BY "hospital LAc" CAN BE DEVELOPED FURTHER: "Cash-based solo-practice with limited insurance reimbursement opportunity is not equal to (and cannot be compared to) “employment.” THERE ARE MANY INDEPENDENT PRACTITIONERS WITH CASH BASED SOLO PRACTICES INCLUDED IN THE GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE; E.G., BEAUTICIANS, MASSAGE THERAPISTS, CHIROS...

    "HOSPITAL LAc WROTE: "Jobs (employment) for graduates are NOT readily available because the institutions who hire health care professionals depend upon insurance industry reimbursement." THERE ARE VERY FEW JOBS FOR ACUPUNCTURISTS IN HOSPITALS, CLINICS OR MEDICAL GROUPS, LIKELY FEWER THAN 10%

    HOSPITAL LAc WROTE: "As for opioid epidemic - greater majority of opioid prescription-related accidental fatalities occur:" IMO THE BETTER OPPORTUNITY IS TREATING WORKERS ADDICTED TO PAIN KILLERS; RETURN TO WORK, REDUCTION OF MED USE...

  • 21 Mar 2017 1:51 AM
    Reply # 4679374 on 4671064
    Steven Stumpf

    Angelika Krohn the Director of admissions at AAAOM Roseville, MN WROTE she disagrees with the data presented.

    GREAT. I SUPPORT TRANSPARENCY. PLEASE SHARE YOUR DATA.

  • 21 Mar 2017 11:04 AM
    Reply # 4680033 on 4677962
    Anonymous
    SHS wrote:

    Below you will find the income outcomes for the AOM schools as they appeared on the November 2016 GE list.

    School Name

    avg income

    median income

    COLORADO SCHOOL OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

    20177

    21379

    EMPEROR'S COLLEGE OF TRADITIONAL ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    17688

    10003

    MIDWEST COLLEGE OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    29890

    24579

    TRI-STATE COLLEGE OF ACUPUNCTURE

    52471

    33423

    ACUPUNCTURE AND MASSAGE COLLEGE

    24551

    13598

    AMERICAN ACADEMY OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

    23504

    16251

    AMERICAN COLLEGE OF AOM

    26617

    9797

    AOMA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE

    19747

    14092

    EAST WEST COLLEGE OF NATURAL MEDICINE

    23820

    15424

    FLORIDA COLLEGE OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE

    19960

    8423

    PACIFIC COLLEGE OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    26457

    20665

    SOUTHWEST ACUPUNCTURE COLLEGE

    22590

    17260

    TEXAS HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY

    17316

    10977

    PHOENIX INSTITUTE OF HERBAL MED & ACUPUNCTURE

    25752

    15000

    SEATTLE INSTITUTE OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE

    24070

    16256

    TRI-STATE COLLEGE OF ACUPUNCTURE

    35012

    24362


    $25601.38

    $15837.5

    The whistleblower case against South Baylo filed by State of California item 32 reads as follows: "J.S. explained that 30% of the students admitted to respondent school were awarded a BSHS. The student are required to have two years of prior college and a minimum of 90 units to be admitted into the MSAOM program. The classes taken while enrolled in the MSAOM program are also applied to the BSHS degree to fulfill the 180 required units for the BSHS. According to J.S. the BHSHS was not an accredited program however, ACAOM allowed the school to issue the BSHS diplomas." Does this mean ACAOM was complicit in executing this academic sleight of hand? Or did ACAOM simply "miss" the trick?

    --Steven Stumpf


    South Baylo isn't the only school allowing students without a BA in to a "graduate" program.


    Also, FWIW, those number aren't anywhere close to what was advertised at many of the programs I looked at (they are lower)...The numbers are also not enough to ever pay back the kind of loans students are leaving school with.


    Misrepresentation and failed programs are glaringly apparent. Schools know what they've done. What they've done is appalling.
  • 21 Mar 2017 10:32 PM
    Reply # 4681547 on 4671064
    Michael Barr

    Although the self-reporting aspect of this seems a bit arbitrary and lacking in accountability (please correct me if I am mistaken), the only feature about this list that surprises me is that it is so short.

    I have been a student at 3 different acupuncture schools, in New York and California, 2009-2014. I was continually transferring in a vain attempt to find a program that felt like a real medical education. I am also in contact with many graduates both further out than and behind me. I know of very, very few who have managed to make a living. These schools simply do not prepare competent acupuncturists. (Nor, in the case of the New York City school, do they tell you during the admissions/discovery period that all the insurance networks are closed to new acupuncturists.)

    I fault the curriculum and have been quietly lobbying for the abolition of the current acupuncture curriculum in this country. (Nor would it hurt to institute minimal admission requirements! As the system is currently structured, anyone with a pulse --and able to sign a promissory note-- is admitted. The inevitable result is a dumbing down and needlessly mind-numbing repetition of just about everything. No one is allowed to fail. What ends up happening, as happened at my first 2 schools, is that the rally good people leave because they are so fed up.)

    We really have to burn these programs down to the ground and start from scratch. I am embarrassed weekly by my profession, starting with what passes for education (and continuing education programs), and extending to all the stories I see vulnerable patients told, with great earnestness of course, about their conditions-- and then talked into coming back for an interminable series of treatments when they very likely could have been helped in a handful of visits.

    If I didn't believe so strongly in the power of and need for this medicine (both acupuncture the CHM), I too would throw in the towel and return to my former profession. Are there others out there who agree on the problem and would like to work on a solution? The time is long overdue.


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