The Workers' Compensation fund is not an insurance benefit, but is administered by insurance companies. The patient is not liable for treatment expenses at all under the laws governing Workers' Compensation, unless your claim is ultimately found to be fraudulent. The paperwork and contact information should be brought to this physician, including the document that confirms that approval of the initial course of treatment. If you do not have a copy of this document, you may have it sent to my office by fax, either from your primary treating physician's office, or from your claim administrator. A contact phone number and name of the claim administrator should also be provided to me, as well as the claim number and date of injury. This should all be handled before you begin therapy.

Acupuncture and therapies under the scope of practice of the Licensed Acupuncturist are again fully supported legally due to the adoption of specific legal treatment guidelines in California Workers' Compensation law under Title 8 California Code of Regulations, Labor Code Section 9792.2 in 2008. Similar, but more explicit legal support was enacted in New York in 2010, clearly defining the various acupuncture-related treatment protocols such as dry trigger point myofascial needling, soft tissue physiotherapies of mobilization and manipulation (Tui na), and neuromuscular reeducation techniques. The initial course of acupuncture therapy is recommended to include 4-6 treatments, with an assessment of functional improvement then conducted to justify a longer course of therapy.

Functional improvement should be recorded by the patient in a short diary document and included in the primary treating physicians file to help with a report. Functional improvement is defined as increased function with activities of daily living (ADL), decrease of work restrictions, or return to work. When functional improvement is documented, additional acupuncture treatment, if recommended by the primary treating physician, should be legally approved under the treatment guidelines mentioned above.

The history of the acupuncture guidelines is a sad story of denial of this evidence-based, effective and low-cost treatment for injured workers. Prior to these legal treatment guidelines, acupuncture was highly recommended in the Workers' Compensation system by a set of guideline recommendations of the California Industrial Medical Council, formed as a panel of medical experts in the 1986 Workers' Compensation reform act. Apparently, this support for acupuncture was not appreciated by the industry, as the governor of the state of California was recalled mainly with medical industry money supporting this recall, and medical industry money supporting replacing Gray Davis with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who immediately adopted another Workers Compensation Manipulation, er “reform", which dismantled the mandated California Industrial Medical Council as a guideline provider, and temporarily adopted the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) temporary guidelines, which coincidentally did not include any actual significant studies of acupuncture, or input by the acupuncture profession. To delay the implementation of the legally required specialty treatment guidelines, the Workers Compensation Administrative Director was fired and not replaced for years, with the temporarily appointed director delaying the implementation of acupuncture treatment guidelines that were already published and approved by RAND. The California Workers Compensation commission on medical guidelines stated publicly that acupuncture was not a cost driver in the system. The elaborate legal manipulation of acupuncture treatment guidelines has in fact proven costly, as acupuncture and related physiotherapies often decrease the use of expensive and harmful pain medications, as well as decrease the expenses of surgery, corticosteroid injections, and prolonged time off work when they are effective. The long-term benefits to general health and decrease in future workplace injuries when the acupuncture and related physiotherapies are effective also constitute a potentially significant savings for the taxpayer in the long run, as well a benefit to the quality of life of the injured worker.