Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to Cover Acupuncture as Alternative to Prescription Opioids

NSC encourages employers to include alternative pain treatment in their benefits packages.

July 17, 2019

Itasca, Ill. – The National Safety Council applauds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for its willingness to start testing payment for acupuncture treatment for patients with chronic lower back pain – many of whom may receive opioid painkillers if alternative treatments are not covered by insurance. Opioid overdose is at an all-time high; a person’s odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose have surpassed the lifetime odds of dying from a motor vehicle crash for the first time in recorded history. We must address this crisis from many different angles, and covering alternative pain treatment options is an important step.

The Council stands ready to support the Department of Health and Human Services as it tests its payment program. NSC encourages all employers to ask for alternative pain treatment options to be covered in their benefits packages. Additionally, NSC urges all insurance providers to follow the example CMS is setting so all Americans suffering from pain have a host of non-addictive alternatives for treatment.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.

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