Since my post, the NYT published an article identifying that insurers often do not reimburse for complementary medicine treatments for chronic pain, http://nyti.ms/28Thkz7 The impending cataclysm is now becoming the perfect storm with lack of training of caregivers and reluctance to prescribe narcotics being further exacerbated by insurers unwillingness to reimburse for alternative therapies.
While insurers often claim that many complementary therapies are unproven and are considered experimental, their logic is inconsistent. The vast majority of insurers, Medicare and Medicaid continue to reimburse for thousands of "traditional" therapies, surgeries and interventions that have not been shown to provide benefit and are not evidence based ( see http://goo.gl/fH14Y4 ). The subjective nature of pain and need to use the patient as the measure of the value of the intervention must come to the forefront. Pain management is distinctly different than therapies directed at diagnoses such as an infection or cancer which inherently lend themselves to objective measures of improvement.
Once again we turn to patients and the public at large to make elected officials, insurers and policy makers aware of the need to address this impending crisis. The storm clouds are gathering and we need to build shelters to weather the deluge.
Nicolas Argy, MD, JD
Copyright © 2016 Nicolas Argy