Dr. Dein M. Shapiro provides medical acupuncture at Hunterdon Family Medicine at Bridgewater.
“Acupuncture is a powerful treatment modality that can help many people with a wide variety of problems. In China, acupuncture has an oral tradition 4,600 years old and written medical texts dating back 2,200 years. French physicians began extracting acupuncture information from China over 300 years ago. Today, acupuncture in France is taught in medical school and is considered part of conventional medicine. In France, there is about one trained physician acupuncturist for every 12,000 persons.
“French Energetic Acupuncture was brought to the United States in the 1970s by Dr. Joseph Helms. In combination with other techniques, it is known in this country as Medical Acupuncture. It is taught to U.S. physicians primarily through Dr. Helms’ course at the UCLA School of Medicine. I received my acupuncture training under Dr. Helms at UCLA. Though interest in the U.S. is growing rapidly, medical acupuncture has been taught to less than one percent of American physicians. In the U.S. today, there is barely one medical acupuncturist for every 250,000 persons.
Credentials and Hospital Privileges
“I am one of a very small number of medical acupuncturists who have privileges to perform acupuncture in an inpatient setting. I am a member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture and licensed for acupuncture in Pennsylvania. New Jersey does not have a separate license for physician acupuncturists but requires physicians to have extensive training. I practice acupuncture in my office and at the Hunterdon Medical Center where I am co-chairman of a Task Force on Complementary Medicine. I also participate in the hospital’s Pain Management Program.
“Because of a growing body of scientific evidence in support of acupuncture, several important US government agencies have recently endorsed acupuncture. In 1996, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) classified the acupuncture needle as a “medical device.” In 1997 the NIH (National Institutes of Health), recognized acupuncture as a safe and effective modality for a number of conditions and recommended extending its use into conventional medicine. And in 1998, HCFA (Healthcare Financing Administration) listed the first insurance codes specifically for acupuncture.
Costs and Insurance
Initial Consultation: “At your first office visit a fee of $84.00 to $130.00 will be charged to evaluate your problem and to determine if acupuncture is appropriate for you. The amount depends on the complexity of the problem and the time involved. This fee is billed to your insurance whenever possible. Otherwise, it is self-pay. Please remember to bring reports of any previous evaluation including consults, imaging study reports (not the images themselves), and lab tests.
Acupuncture and Electro-acupuncture treatments: “The cost per treatment is $75.00 to $125.00. The amount depends upon the complexity of your treatment, i.e. the number of needles and stimulators, and whether the treatment can be set up all at once or must be done in stages. Multi-stage treatments require additional time. This fee is always self-pay unless pre-certified by your insurance company. Please allow sufficient time in your schedule. Most treatments require you to be in the office for about an hour. Each treatment takes 20-30 minutes of physician time and an additional 20-30 while you rest with the needles in place.
Follow up visits: “In addition to your acupuncture, office visits are charged periodically as part of the ongoing process of evaluating your progress, and whenever we are providing allopathic treatment (i.e., medication, imaging, referrals, etc.) in addition to your acupuncture. These are billed to insurance whenever possible. Otherwise, they are self-pay.
All self-pay balances are due at time of service.
Safe and Virtually Painless
“All my acupuncture needles are disposable stainless steel devices that are used only once. The insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless and has a relatively low complication rate. In fact, if an acupuncture needle causes significant discomfort it is removed or replaced. The vigorous and often painful manual manipulation of needles commonly used in China and elsewhere is replaced with a mild electrical current produced by a modified TENS unit attached to specific needles. This produces a mild sensation usually perceived as pleasant.
“My goal is to provide a medical procedure that is relatively painless and shows significant benefit within the first three treatments. Most patients find acupuncture therapy quite relaxing, not unlike massage, yoga, or meditation.
Uses of Acupuncture
“Acupuncture is useful for pain management and a variety of medical conditions including: anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, chemotherapy side effects, diabetic neuropathy, depression, headache, heel spurs, irritable bowel, menstrual disorders, neck pain, obesity, sinusitis, smoking cessation, tennis elbow and trauma pain (including fractures and lacerations).
“Actually, acupuncture can be used to treat almost any medical condition. Like any other therapy, its safety, efficacy, and cost should be weighed against other treatment options. Most commonly, it is used along with other modalities in an effort to promote healing quickly and effectively.
“Medical acupuncturists are physicians, they feel patients should first have a proper medical evaluation and diagnosis. If you have been evaluated elsewhere, it is helpful to bring your medical information with you. Once a proper medical assessment is completed, a recommendation will be made regarding the usefulness of acupuncture for your condition.
“As your medical acupuncturist, I will integrate your acupuncture therapy into an overall treatment plan that may include a variety of other modalities. Whether you are seeking help on your own or by referral by another doctor or other health professional, you can usually continue under the care of those who have been treating you. With your permission, I will communicate with them periodically to keep them apprised of your progress. If other problems arise during the course of your treatment, I will refer you back to your personal physician for further evaluation and treatment.”
Dein M. Shapiro, MDPrimary Care Physician
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