SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Jan. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Crossover Health, a technology-enabled, national Primary Health membership service that integrates both online and in-person care for employers and health plans, announced today the results of a study that found individuals with access to employer-sponsored acupuncture services provided by Crossover Health received opioid prescriptions at a significantly lower rate than those treated in the community.
The study, published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine, was a retrospective evaluation of individuals who initiated acupuncture care in one of 11 Crossover Health employer-sponsored health centers over a one-year period, with a study population of 1,790 patients. Data related to 8,991 visits was collected to evaluate outcomes and compared to similar metrics from providers in the community. The study found that only one in 36 participants undergoing employer-sponsored acupuncture received an opioid prescription, of which 70 percent were for cough suppressants, indicating those were typically unrelated to the musculoskeletal concerns. Compared to the national average of one in five U.S. adults with an opioid prescription, the study showed the potential for onsite acupuncture services to dramatically reduce opioid prescription rates.
"There is a solid and growing base of evidence for the use of acupuncture for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. Yet many providers have been reluctant to integrate acupuncture with primary care services," said Dr. Stephen Ezeji-Okoye, Chief Medical Officer for Crossover Health. "This study not only reinforces acupuncture as an effective tool for managing musculoskeletal pain without the use of opioids, but it also makes the case for offering this kind of service at employer health centers."
Managing musculoskeletal conditions costs the U.S. healthcare system approximately $980 billion annually. In addition, the annual short-term disability payment per claimant is $5,689, and the annual long-term disability payment per claimant is $13,052, with an estimated 49 workdays lost per claimant due to short-term disability. Researchers also found significantly lower copays for patients receiving employer-sponsored acupuncture. The maximum copay observed was $40 per visit, compared to up to $125 for similar treatments in the community. In addition, offering acupuncture services at an onsite health center dramatically reduced wait times, which can exceed six weeks in other settings, to as few as six days for an initial appointment. Increased access and reduced costs contributed to individuals feeling highly satisfied with the acupuncture care they received from their employer-sponsored health centers, with 93 percent reporting satisfaction.
"Musculoskeletal conditions affect more than 124 million U.S. adults and are the leading cause of both short- and long-term disability, so treating these patients as effectively as possible is a top healthcare priority for employers," said Dr. Dena Bravata, a report author, senior affiliate of the Stanford University Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, and a longtime Crossover Health advisor. "Offering acupuncture from an onsite health center helps employers build a healthier and more productive workforce while reducing their healthcare spending."
At Crossover Health, acupuncturists are part of integrated care teams, working closely alongside primary care physicians, nurses, physical therapists, chiropractors, mental health therapists, health coaches, and care navigators to proactively prevent, diagnose, treat, and counsel employees for both acute and chronic health conditions. Utilizing proprietary software and a unique care model, Crossover also delivers comprehensive MSK care virtually through real-time and asynchronous online physical therapy, at-home functional exercise prescriptions, personalized fitness programs, and online education on injury prevention strategies, to provide members with a physical health plan tailored to their condition and fitness level.
About Crossover Health
Crossover Health, a technology-enabled, relationship-driven, national Primary Health membership service, integrating in-person and online care for employers and health plans, delivers personalized care from a dedicated, collaborative care team and a curated network of specialist providers. Crossover takes the complexity out of healthcare by connecting every employee—at headquarters or in remote locations—to remarkable care. Powering this outcomes-focused model is a sophisticated enterprise data warehouse that aggregates a vast array of permissioned health data, and a suite of analytics to identify high-risk and high-cost employees, to help companies take control of their healthcare spending. Dedicated care teams engage members directly through their proprietary software, better managing their conditions, and preventing costly complications. Headquartered in San Clemente, California, Crossover Health serves over 350,000 members and their dependents for some of the largest and most innovative companies across the nation. To learn more, visit www.crossoverhealth.com or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.