The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Is acupuncture a complement to or substitute for medical services?

    It’s an important question for insurers, healthcare practitioners, and policy makers, say researchers from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York.

    Here’s what they found.

    First, the details.

    • Managed care claims from a midsize metropolitan insurance company from 2002 were elected for study.
    • Medical and drug claims for every eligible acupuncture user (~1600) and every 18th eligible nonacupuncture user (~16,000) covered by the insurer were evaluated.
    • Using statistical equations, the influence of acupuncture was assessed independently on each conventional service of interest.

    And, the results.
    Acupuncture complemented the following services

    • Chiropractic
    • Physical therapy

    Acupuncture was a statistically significant substitute for the following services.

    • Primary care
    • Outpatient services
    • Pathology services
    • Surgery
    • Gastrointestinal medications

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Acupuncture is an economic substitute for some medical services and pharmaceuticals… The fact that acupuncture has an effect on other medical services needs to be explored more fully with an emphasis on how this substitution impacts patient health.”

    OK, that’s how most of us might look at it.

    But in an earlier post, Dr. Hans Baer explained the economic and political ramification of such findings. In Australia, which supports CAM, “complementary services are generally not covered by Medicare but must be paid for either out of pocket or by a private health plan.”

    For politicians it’s simply a way to manage healthcare costs.

    12/30/07 14:24 JR

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