Document Detail

Incorporating acupuncture in a university-based family medicine center: lessons learned.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19196055     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the utilization, financial costs, and benefits of incorporating acupuncture into a university-based family medicine center.
DESIGN: Retrospective billing records review.
SETTING: An academic family medicine center located within a university-based medical center.
SUBJECTS: The entire population of consecutive patients seen in an acupuncture clinic from April, 2002 through October, 2006.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient characteristics, number and types of visits, and charges and collections.
METHODS: Analysis of de-identified, electronic billing records.
RESULTS: During the 4(1/2)-year study period, 788 unique patients were seen, accounting for a total of 4953 visits. The most common clinical conditions treated were back pain, headache, and neck pain. Mean charge and collection per visit was $82 and $53, respectively. Mean annual clinic revenues and expenses were $58,653 and $74,223, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The authors' experience with an acupuncture clinic within an academic medical center has been generally positive, but we have not been able to turn a profit within the first 4(1/2) years of operation. Advantages of including physician-acupuncturists include improved patient access to third-party payers for clinical services, and possibly better acceptance by physician colleagues and the larger medical center system. Physician-acupuncturists, however, tend to have higher salary and liability costs associated with their services. Incorporating licensed acupuncturists allows for improved access to patients as well as lower operating expenses. We postulate that patients are generally more willing to pay cash for acupuncture services provided by a licensed acupuncturist compared to a physician, whose services are generally expected to be covered by medical insurance. Our findings suggest that incorporating acupuncture into existing medical practices may benefit patients, providers, the clinic as a whole, and the larger community, but the profit margin associated with providing acupuncture in these settings is likely to be negative or slim.
Yen Lin Loh; Aimee Reilly; Wunian Chen; Remy R Coeytaux
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Evaluation Studies; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)     Volume:  15     ISSN:  1557-7708     ISO Abbreviation:  J Altern Complement Med     Publication Date:  2009 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-03     Completed Date:  2010-11-30     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9508124     Medline TA:  J Altern Complement Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  115-20     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Acupuncture / economics*,  statistics & numerical data
Acupuncture Therapy / economics,  statistics & numerical data*,  utilization
Aged, 80 and over
Ambulatory Care Facilities / economics*,  statistics & numerical data
Family Practice / economics*,  methods
Fees, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
Integrative Medicine / economics*,  statistics & numerical data
Middle Aged
North Carolina
Office Visits / economics,  statistics & numerical data
Pain / economics,  therapy
Retrospective Studies
Schools, Medical
Young Adult

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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