In pre-Maoist China, acupuncture was community medicine, meaning it was available to everyone. There were no five thousand dollar deductibles, visit limits, waiting periods, or other fine print exclusionary language which is increasingly commonplace in the so-called ‘managed’ care system. As more and more Americans find themselves lacking options for care, the health standard of our nation continues to decline across a broad measurement of international standards. Many people believe that the current system is unsustainable.
At a clinic in Portland, Oregon, Working Class Acupuncture (WCA), founders Lisa Rohleder, Skip Van Meter developed a sustainable acupuncture practice model which addresses the inequities of the current health care system. This has proven to be enormously successful from a community health perspective, with hundreds of people every week receive high quality care.
The WCA founders have organized the principles guiding their mission into a national movement by launching the Peoples Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA), a non profit cooperative organization which seeks to promote the CA principles within the acupuncture profession.
With health care systems in America crumbling, we would do well to heed the advice of Bill McKibben, the noted deep ecologist: “The technology we need most is the technology of community — the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done.”
A point of clarification: Community acupuncture is not “group acupuncture”. Community acupuncture is personalized care with complete respect for the privacy of your personal history, with the treatment conducted in a common area. If you have any further questions about this distinction, please don’t hesitate to ask.