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Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
January, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 01
Economic Evaluation of CAM/CIM Practices
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by MK Brennan MS, RN, LMBT; Jolie Haun, PhD EdS, LMT, April Neufeld, BS, LMT
In this month's review, the Massage Therapy Foundation's writing group selected a study done in 2012 that evaluates the economy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), also referred to as Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM).This review is timely given the non-discrimination section of the Affordable Care Act is set to go into effect on January 1, 2014. Section 2706 provides a possibility for insurance reimbursement for massage therapy: "A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider's license or certification under applicable State law."
The objective of the review done by Herman et al., was to establish the value of complementary and integrative therapies within the health reform context. Numerous sources including PubMed, CINAHL, AMED, Psych Info, Web of Science and EMBASE, were searched for information published between 2001 and 2010. The Cochrane complementary and alternative medical group was used for determining the criteria for studies and all of the sources reporting economic outcomes were reviewed with the terms "integrative," "integrated" and "collaborative" medicine added to the search. Three hundred, thirty-eight (338) economic evaluations were identified and 204 of those were published between 2001 and 2010. One hundred, fourteen (114) of the 204 were full economic evaluations with 90% of those being studies of single therapies. Only one study compared usual care to usual care with access to CIM practitioners.
Surveys done in 1990, 1997 and 2007 show estimated out of pocket expenditures of $14 billion, $27 billion and $34 billion for CAM to treat principal medical conditions. This indicates an increase in the use of CAM for healthcare and the willingness of individuals to pay for it. The cost-effectiveness of CAM use, however, has not been well defined. As the authors explain, "Economic evaluations allow costs to be included, alongside data on safety and effectiveness, in healthcare policy decisions. As healthcare costs rise, the availability of these economic evaluations becomes increasingly important to the formulation of disease management strategies which are both clinically effective and financially responsible." This type of evaluation provides massage therapists and other CAM practitioners information that is valuable when meeting with conventional healthcare providers, insurance providers, policy makers, consumers and other stakeholders.
Articles were categorized as full or partial economic reviews. A full evaluation compared the costs, as well as the outcomes, of two or more therapeutic treatments for the same population. A partial evaluation was one that focused on cost-identification or cost-comparison. The authors used the 35-item British Medical Journal checklist to capture components of internal validity and transferability of information. They "also chose five quality criteria by which to identify a subset of full economic evaluations to highlight as being of most interest to policy makers." These include a comparison of CAM to usual and customary care; use of at least one recognized perspective such as hospital or third-party payer; randomized control studies or non-randomized ones that are adjusted to address baseline differences; a measured outcome unless the study was a modeling one that used the data from previously published studies; a sensitivity analysis since assumptions made can factor into uncertainties in economic evaluations.
Items reviewed from the studies that met the above criteria included: "treatment and study duration, primary clinical and economic outcome measures, the setting in which treatment took place, study design and sample size, the type and perspective (i.e., the point of view used to define costs) of the economic analysis, and incremental cost effectiveness of the CIM alternative compared to usual care."
Results of the analysis are mixed. Thirty-one of the full economic studies were considered a higher-quality than the others because they met all five of the study criteria. These indicate potential cost effectiveness and even cost savings across a number of CIM therapies and populations. "Of the 56 comparisons made in the higher-quality studies, 16 (29%) show a health improvement with cost savings for the CIM therapy versus usual care. Study quality of the cost-utility analyses (CUAs) of CIM was generally comparable to that seen in CUAs across all medicine according to several measures, and the quality of the cost-saving studies was slightly, but not significantly, lower than those showing cost increases (85% vs 88%, p=0.460)."
Other studies reviewed provide information for specific practices and/or settings. For example, cost savings were seen with acupuncture for breech presentations in pregnant women and also for low back pain. Other cost savings were found with some supplements, naturopathic care, Tai Chi and manual therapy.
The methods used in this article are comprehensive and applied multiple measures of study quality in the review of the articles. However, the authors recognize some study limitations, including: 1. The reviewers not blinded to journals and article authors; and 2. Publication bias was not assessed. However, the authors suggest for the purposes of this review, it is not clear if either of these limitations is relevant.
This report and those like it are valuable to those interested in making a case for the inclusion of CAM in healthcare settings or insurance reimbursement as well as consumer awareness. As the use of CAM increases and policies change to increase reimbursement of CAM care, economical evaluations of this type are needed to determine the use and cost effectiveness of CAM in the healthcare setting.
To learn more about the economic impact of CAM, you can review the Massage Therapy Foundation article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search Pub Med for CAM/CIM cost analysis studies.
Click here for more information about Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor.
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