January 30, 2020

Medicare Fighting Opioid Crisis by Covering Acupuncture

In an effort to  find novel solutions to the opioid abuse issue, CMS announced January 21 that it will cover up to 12 acupuncture sessions in any 90 day period with a possible additional 8 sessions for those with chronic lower back pain. While, acupuncture has been widely recognized as a successful nonpharmacologic therapy for various conditions, including chronic lower back pain, CMS has not historically considered the treatment reasonable and necessary, and has not covered acupuncture previously as a benefit for Medicare recipients. A recent review and analysis of the evidence concerning the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic low back pain presented CMS with sufficient evidence to conclude that acupuncture does improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic low back pain.