Experiences of Nonpharmacologic Providers Implementing the Oregon Back Pain Policy Expanding Services for Medicaid Recipients: A Focus Group Study

Mary Gray, Kate Laforge, Catherine Livingston, Gillian Leichtling, Esther K. Choo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: The objective of this study was to understand the experiences of nonpharmacologic therapy (NPT) providers implementing the Oregon Back Pain Policy (OBPP). The Medicaid OBPP expanded coverage of evidence-based NPTs for back pain and simultaneously restricted access to acute and chronic opioid therapy and some interventional approaches for chronic back pain. Materials and Methods: This study uses a cross-sectional, observational design. The authors conducted three online focus groups with 44 credentialed NPT providers in February 2020. Qualitative data analysis was conducted by a multidisciplinary team with an immersion/crystallization approach. Results: Four themes emerged from the data. Participants reported: (1) a lack of direct communication about the policy and mixed levels of understanding of the policy, (2) belief that expanding access to NPT and restricting opioids was beneficial for patients, (3) implementation challenges that compromised access and the perceived effectiveness of care, and (4) financial challenges in accepting Medicaid referrals, due to reimbursement and administrative burden. Conclusion: The goal of the OBPP was to increase access to evidence-based back pain care, including new coverage of NPT services and decreased opioid prescribing for back pain. This study revealed that although many NPT providers support the goals of this policy, the policy was not communicated systematically to providers and was hampered by implementation challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-875
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume27
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Keywords

  • back pain
  • complementary and alternative therapies
  • Medicaid
  • nonpharmacologic therapies
  • policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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