On January 21, 2020, in response to the opioid crisis, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a decision to cover acupuncture for Medicare patients with chronic low back pain.

Chronic low back pain is defined as (from Medicare.gov):

  • Lasting 12 weeks or longer
  • Not having a known cause (for example, not related to cancer that has spread, or an infectious or inflammatory disease)
  • Pain that isn’t associated with surgery or pregnancy

You must get acupuncture from a doctor, or by another health care provider (like a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) who has both of these:

  • A masters or doctoral level degree in acupuncture or Oriental Medicine from a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • A current, full, active, and unrestricted license to practice acupuncture in the state where you’re getting care.

Note: Being a licensed Medical Doctor and Acupuncture, Dr. Elizabeth Chen Christenson, MD, LAc is fully accredited to do this work.

For more information please visit:
1. Article from NIH, Click Here

2. Article from Medicare.gov, Click Here