A unique partnership between a health system’s insurance plan and the Integrative Medicine Department benefits patients and helps control costs

Maureen M Anderson, Karen Armstrong, Katherine Nori Janosz, Michael Tocco, Nancy A DeVore, Geoffrey Stachura, Linda Styczynski, Karen Stachura, Hallie Armstrong, Gail Elliott Patricolo


Health care costs continue to increase, affecting patients and insurance providers. Complementary health approaches are increasingly used to augment traditional medicine, and integrative medicine (IM) incorporates these complementary approaches into traditional patient care. The IM Department was established in our institution in 2004 and now offers a wide range of services to patients. Our institution offers health care coverage to all benefit-eligible hospital personnel and their eligible dependents. The use of IM has had a surprising and beneficial effect on the health care costs of this small, self-insured health plan. We found that the coverage of certain IM modalities for specific conditions had positive clinical results and resulted in significant cost savings to the insurance plan. At the same time, this partnership supports patients by providing appropriate and effective care, and we have seen success in terms of patient recovery and patient satisfaction. Here, we present the history of the relationship between the insurance plan and the IM Department, how the coverage of IM modalities has expanded, and the current practice at our institution. We demonstrate that this innovative relationship has benefitted patients and resulted in cost-savings for the insurance provider. Therefore, this partnership will continue to expand, thus providing patients with a wide range of treatment options and effective care.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jha.v5n4p61


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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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