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IBN&R Poll Results: How critical to CAM-IM is 3rd Party Reimbursement? PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

IBN&R Insurance Poll Results: How Critical to CAM-IM is 3rd Party Reimbursenment?

Summary: Nearly 80% of participating IBN&R readers view CAM-IM inclusion in 3rd-party payment as essential to optimize the CAM-IM role in healthcare. The findings are very close to a similar poll conducted in 2001 - though this one found stronger negatives. This poll was posted as part of the IBN&R series on the Future of Yoga Therapy, sponsored by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Insurance coverage has always been the rubber-meets-the-road zone in CAM-IM's integration with the dominant delivery system. For "integation," read "collision." Most agree that both whole person, prevention-oriented care and typical payment practices should equip themselves with airbags to cushion the impact.

Yet, despite disparaging and disdainful comments, most involved with CAM-IM believe that inclusion in 3rd party reimbursement is key.  In this IBN&R poll, 78% agree that "inclusion in 3rd party payment is essential to optimize (CAM-IM's) healthcare role."  Over 3 in 5 (60.2%) "strongly agree." These data reflect the views of roughly 5% of total IBN&R readers during the period of the poll.

__________________________________

Statement:
CAM-IM inclusion in 3rd-party insurance payment is essential
to optimize its healthcare role.

 

 Response    Number 
  Percent   
 
I strongly  agree    
59  60.2%

I agree somewhat
17   17.3%
 
I neither agree nor disagree
5  5.1%
 
I disagree somewhat
 
5
 
5.1%

I strongly disagree
 12  12.2%

IBN&R survey results as of July 5, 2006.
__________________________________

Comment: These data line up with other findings in a pre-Summit survey for the 2001 Integrative Medicine Industry Leadership Summit. Respondents were asked their agreement level on the following:
Significantly increased CAM participation in 3rd party payment structures is critical for the success of CAM's mission.
Responses: strongly agree (55%), mildly agree (26%), neutral/no opinion (7%), mildly disagree (10%) and strongly disagree (1%).
In that sample of leaders of CAM-IM initiatives - integrative clinics, academic medicine, professional associations, CAM networks, HMOs, etc. -- 81% registered on the positive side. This is very close to the finding here.

I find myself intrigued by those who strongly disagree - significantly higher in these new data.
Registering this black X against inclusion may express a desire to maintain integrity in what is rightly viewed as un-godly system. Some believe that instruments such as Medical Savings Accounts allow a kind of payment which is not corrupted.

Bob Dylan captured the polarized choice on his Tangled Up in Blue album: "...  you gotta serve somebody/it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord ..." 

But what if you are tangled up in US health care in which, to have your services accessed by those who haven't the cash to pay,
3rd party payment is necessary? Which Devils, Bobby? Which Lords?

Note: An excellent, forthright discussion of the impacts of insurance on the development of CAM fields - in particular the chiropractic profession - is in the IBN&R interview with Tino Villani, DC, CEO of Triad Healthcare, a managed care firm which focuses on pain management. Villani offers fascinating perspectives on the way that reimbursement can shape all aspects of a profession's behavior. The interview is Part 2 in a series of IBN&R article on the Future of Yoga Therapy, sponsored by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

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