Under a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposal, Medicare would cover acupuncture as an alternative to opioid use for beneficiaries with chronic low back pain who are enrolled in a qualified study. The patient would have to be enrolled in a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health or a CMS-approved study. “Chronic low back pain impacts many Medicare patients and is a leading reason for opioid prescribing,” said Kimberly Brandt, CMS principal deputy administrator of operations and policy. CMS will accept comments on the proposal through Aug. 14.

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