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.