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Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Military Health System


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Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) comprises a large number of therapies that developed outside the conventional biomedical model of care. Fairly well-known examples of such therapies include acupuncture and chiropractic care. CAM is used by about one-third of the general populationincluding services administered by a CAM provider (e.g., acupuncture)and therapies that can be practiced outside of a health care setting and/or are self administered(e.g., yoga). Its use has been found to be higher in some populationsincluding active-duty military members and those with particular conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CAM is known to be offered within the military health system (MHS). However, this report provides the first systemwide look at the CAM services offered in the MHS. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) asked RAND to conduct this environmental scan and data collection effort in order to obtain initial data on the availability, documentation, coding, credentialing and privileging practices, and demand for CAM services across all military treatment facilities (MTFs). These data on current CAM practices will be used to inform policy decisions on the use of CAM in the MHS, on credentialing and privileging of those who provide CAM, and on documentation of its use to support ongoing monitoring and assure safety, quality, and consistency of these services.



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