The National Institute Of Health has just published the results of its 2007 survey on the usage of CAM ( Complementary and alternative medicine). Its last one was published in 1997 and there have been some signifigant changes in acupuncture usage, CAM usage and what we spent our out -of – pocket health care dollars on in 2007.
The survey is a big one and came from the conducting of personal interviews with 23,393 adults . It was conducted by the CDC and the Center for Health Statistics and considered a relatively well designed and executed survey by those doing designing and executing those things!.
I will summarize a little of the contents of the survey that may pertain to CAN members.
Americans spent 33.9 billion dollars on CAM practioners, products, classes and materials in 2007.
This represents only 1.5% of total health care expenditures in the US in 2007.
Approximately 66% of this was spent on products , classes and materials (self-care, visits and supplements)
33% was spent on visits to CAM practitioners.
38.1 million Americans made 354.2 million visits to CAM practitioners in 2007.75% of these visits were to manipulative and body based therapies (chiro, MT mostly I surmise)
Each person who used CAM spent about $121.92 on visits to CAM providers in 2007 and paid $23.37 out of pocket for each visit. The majority of visits amounted to less than $50.00 per visit with only 20% paying more than $75 out of pocket per visit . Chiropractic accounted for the least out of pocket outlays.
11.9 billion was spent on visitors to CAM practitioners which represents only 25% of out of pocket spending on physicians visits
There was an overall drop in visits to CAM practitioners in 2007 compared to 1997 but visits to acupuncturists went up by 3X their 1997 levels from 27.2 visits per 1000 adults to 79.2 visits per 1000 adults. The study attributes this to “a progressively more regulated and professionalized CAM practitioner group” and ” large numbers of articles in the lay press about the benefits of acupuncture and increasing awareness in the general public” as well as “increased insurance coverage for these therapies”.
So I will leave it for others to tease out meaning from this survey but a few things that struck me were:
- The decrease in visits to CAM practitioners since the last survey.
- The small drop in the bucket that is the 1.5% of the total health care expenditures of 2007 that was spent on CAM practitioners, products, classes and materials.
- I wondered if CA could be a small or more significant part of the rise in Acupuncture visits.
- The reasons cited for the jump in acu visits could come right out of an acu establishment press release.
- There are a lot of people out there not getting any sort of acupuncture.
- CA usage is only out-of-pocket .
- How can CA contribute to raising the amount of visits to acupuncturists in the next 10 years? We still need exponential growth to even start to meet the need out there for acupuncture in our communities.
- There is a deep vein of information in this survey to be mined by someone in CAN. We wanted some data and here is some to ponder over.
- So people saw more acupuncturists…… but in significantly fewer numbers than they saw MTs and Chiropractors (75% of all visits to CAM providers were to manipulative or body-based therapies). All CAM provider visits were only 25% of those to physicians in general.