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Medicaid Reimbursement for Alternative Therapies

Publication Abstract

Steyer, T.E., G.L. Freed, and Paula M. Lantz. 2002. "Medicaid Reimbursement for Alternative Therapies." Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 8(6): 84-88.

Context - A growing number of complementary and alternative therapies are eligible for reimbursement by third party payers in the United States. No studies have examined current trends in the use of public funds for the payment of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Objective - To determine the reimbursement polices of state Medicaid programs for CAM. Design - Cross-sectional study. Participants 46 state Medicaid reimbursement specialists. Intervention Telephone survey. Results - Of the 46 states participating in the study, 36 Medicaid programs (78.3%) provide coverage for at least 1 alternative therapy. The most commonly reimbursed therapies are chiropractic by 33 programs (71.7%), biofeedback by 10 programs (21.7%), acupuncture by 7 programs (15.2%), and hypnotherapy and naturopathy by 5 programs each (10.8%). Conclusions - Many Medicaid programs are paying for the use of CAM. Further research is needed to determine if Medicaid recipients are aware of these reimbursement policies and the extent to which recipients are using CAM for their healthcare.

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