Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
In an effort to reduce the use of prescription painkillers, Ohio Medicaid will start paying for acupuncture to treat certain types of pain in 2018 (Source: “Ohioans with Medicaid can get Acupuncture for Pain Next Year,” Dayton Daily News, December 25, 2017).
State officials and medical professionals are increasingly aware of how opioid overdose deaths tend to follow high use of prescription painkillers. However, as new rules curb access to prescription opioids, people with chronic pain still need treatment options and acupuncture could be part of the solution, the state Medicaid office says.
“After further research on acupuncture, we saw the greatest degree of effectiveness in controlling symptoms for low back pain and migraines,” said Brittany Warner, spokeswoman for Ohio Medicaid.
The Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team released new guidelines in January 2016 that recommended treating pain without opioids when appropriate, which prompted Ohio Department of Medicaid to look at alternative options.
Ohio Medicaid started covering acupuncture in 2017 when performed by a physician for lower back pain and migraines. Starting in 2018, Medicaid will broaden its rules to cover the practice when performed by acupuncturists and chiropractors, and to also cover acupuncture with electrical stimulation.