178067 Insurance Coverage and Use of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Cardiac Patients

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hoa Bui Appel, PhD, MPH , School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Amy Ai, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Pittsburg, Pittsburg, PA
The use of alternative and complementary medicine (CAM) has grown dramatically in recent years. Little research has focused on the use of CAM in patients with heart diseases, one of the major consumer groups of health care services. The present study investigates the prevalence, pattern, perceived benefits and predictors of the use of CAM in middle-aged and older patients prior to cardiac surgery. We conducted interviews on 426 participants twice prior to cardiac surgery: One face-to-face interview two weeks preoperatively, and the second was a telephone interview two days before operation. Logistic regression models were conducted to identify users of CAM therapies. Results revealed that 80% of patients confirmed at least one CAM usage. This included, but not limited to, chiropractic, relaxation techniques, lifestyle-diet modification, spiritual healing, megavitamin therapy, massage, and herbs or folk remedies. More than 50% reported using CAM for prevention and better control over their health care. Twenty percent reported low cost as one reason for using CAM. In addition, since most of our sample was middle-aged and older, about 45% had Medicare, followed by Medicaid, and government health insurance. Our findings suggest significant CAM use in our cardiac sample. Therefore, in accordance with increased popular interest in CAM usage and research, this research helps inform future clinical, research, and policy decisions in CAM, especially for cardiac patients. Health care providers are encouraged to learn about CAM and its possible benefits to their patients, as well as about collaborative efforts necessary to enhance comprehensive medical care.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify five types of CAM therapies. 2. State four reasons why patients use CAM. 3. State whether type of health insurance affects CAM usage.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Insurance-Related Barriers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked extensively on the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.