As of the 1st of January 2018 acupuncture will be available in…. Ohio! Ok so it isn’t anywhere near the UK, which is a big shame. But this is great news for acupuncture internationally. Acupuncture will be available on Medicaid for patients with back pain and/or migraine. Ohio will be the first state in the Midwest to bring acupuncture onto its Medicaid provisions.
This is in a response to the developing opioid crisis spreading across America, and arguably the Westernised world as a whole. To see American states paving the way with such provision is promising for us in the UK where opioid addiction as a result of medical conditions is also a concern.
The Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have been pushing for acupuncture’s inclusion in Medicaid programs on the grounds that it has been proven to be safe, effective and cost-effective. They were happy to see acupuncture being included in Medicaid, however, and with this I agree, they do not believe it is an adequate response to the opioid crisis. Backpain and migraine do underlie some of the cases of opioid addiction, however there are many other pain conditions that result in a prescription of opioid-based pain killers. Therefore, they are pushing for acupuncture to be included for osteoarthritic pain, postoperative pain and chronic pain. This will cover a much wider range of conditions and a much larger percentage of opioid prescriptions.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are pushing for acupuncture’s inclusion in Medicaid and insurance policies across America and believe that more emphasis should be placed on safe, effective, non-pharmacological approaches, especially when they have been shown to have minimal side-effects, like acupuncture has. They have been using the growing body of evidence to show that acupuncture ticks all of these boxes.
Acupuncture is already available on Medicaid in 22 states of the 50 states; Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
One can only hope that acupuncture will be rolled out as an alternative to opioid based medicine, for all conditions possible, and that the scourge of addictions from prescriptions can be dealt with effectively both in American and internationally.