A Policy Statement from Northwestern Health Sciences University

As our population ages and the opioid crisis continues to ravage our communities, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries need access to safe and effective pain management. While chiropractic care and acupuncture are increasingly recognized as effective non-pharmacological treatment options for pain, arbitrary limits on interventions and visits applied discriminately to those services restrict access for beneficiaries. Limitations to conservative care services and discriminatory cost containment measures threaten the effectiveness and viability of both Medicare and Medicaid.

This policy statement explores how expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage of high-value, conservative care options – specifically chiropractic and acupuncture – could improve patient outcomes and lower costs. Closing coverage gaps will allow chiropractic physicians and licensed acupuncturists to serve patients at the top of their licenses as they provide evidence-based care to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. This pertains especially to those seeking conservative, non-pharmacologic treatment for acute and chronic spinal pain while avoiding opioid medication and the risk of addiction.