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Acupuncture 'dose' (number of treatments) and insurance benefits in the USA.

Authors
  • Schwehr, Natalie A1
  • Shippee, Nathan D1
  • Johnson, Pamela Jo2
  • 1 Division of Health Policy and Management School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
  • 2 Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Acupuncture in medicine : journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2018
Volume
36
Issue
2
Pages
88–95
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1136/acupmed-2016-011341
PMID: 29475853
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

An adequate treatment dose, including a sufficient number of acupuncture treatments, is important for the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for common conditions. To examine the characteristics of US adults who used a full course of acupuncture (≥6 treatments), a short course (1-5 treatments) or no acupuncture, including use of insurance benefits for acupuncture among users. We used population-based survey data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the most current nationally representative data including use of acupuncture. We described subgroups of acupuncture users and used logistic regression to estimate the odds of past year acupuncture use versus non-use and completion of a full treatment course versus a short course. Covariates included demographic factors and health status. Analyses used strata, weights and clustering to account for the complex sample design. Among acupuncture users, 38% completed a full course. Acupuncture use was low (1.5%), but odds were higher among women and those with greater education and less poverty. Those who used acupuncture insurance benefits and who had greater education were more likely to receive a full treatment course. Insurance benefits attenuated disparities in use by sex and race/ethnicity. Nationally, most people who use acupuncture do not receive a full treatment course. Considering evidence of effectiveness, low risk and relatively low cost of delivery, acupuncture could play a larger role in non-pharmaceutical treatment of common conditions such as pain. Policymakers should consider that, without insurance benefits for acupuncture, people are less likely to complete a full treatment course, which may contribute to disparities in use and health outcomes. © Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.

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