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Health Agencies Update
August 27, 2019

Medicare Proposes Coverage of Acupuncture for Lower Back Pain

JAMA. 2019;322(8):716. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11573

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed coverage of acupuncture for chronic low back pain for Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in clinical trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or approved by CMS.

So far, research into chronic low back pain has focused mainly on the working population, according to a CMS “decision memo.” The thought had been that back pain became less common when people reached their mid-50s, but that conclusion might have resulted from heterogeneity in methods used across studies, the memo said.