Will Medicare Cover Acupuncture For Chronic Low Back Pain?

△ After fall of 2019, CMS will decide whether acupuncture will be added to Medicare or not. Photoⓒdizain.

By Namwook Cho, L.A.c.

“Acupuncture (and massage…) should be included in Medicare. My families, and many senior citizens I know, are huge fans of Medicare. They are also cognizant of the fact that their lives would be better if acupuncture and massage were covered.”

-A Senior citizen who supports acupuncture treatment for Medicare.

“Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain is a very effective, none invasive, non- chemical, Positive benefit relieving while helping the whole person feel better.”

-A medical doctor who supports acupuncture for Medicare.

More than 400 comments from patients, acupuncturist, chiropractors, and medical doctors supports that acupuncture treatment for chronic low back pain (CLBP) should be added to Medicare system.

Currently, acupuncture treatment for CLBP is not covered by Medicare. But chances for adding acupuncture treatment coverage in Medicare have surged.

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) surveyed national coverage analysis (NCA) from last January 15, 2019 for 30 calendar days and NCA expecting the review will be completed by October 13th, 2019.

NCA is to complete a thorough review of the evidence to determine if acupuncture for CLBP is reasonable and necessary under the Medicare program.

Low back pain is a common condition affecting many individuals at some point in their lives. Some individuals will develop CLBP, which is an episode of low back pain that has persisted for 3 months or longer.

In response to the U.S. opioid crisis, Health and Human Services (HHS) is focused on preventing opioid use disorder and providing more evidence-based non-pharmacologic treatment options for chronic pain.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), CMS, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are collaborating in this effort. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published a systematic review of noninvasive, nonpharmacological treatment for chronic pain in last June, 2018. This review included assessment of several nonpharmacological interventions, including exercise, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, and multidisciplinary rehabilitation for CLBP.

Actual comments supporting acupuncture treatment for CLBP could be seen https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database.


© Acupuncture Times. All Rights Reserved.