Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) launches first-of-its-kind comprehensive alternative treatment benefit package

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Washington Community Health Plan:


The Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) is the first and only Medicaid carrier in Washington State to offer its members a comprehensive and flexible package of alternative treatment benefits including 20 combined visits of acupuncture, chiropractic and of massage therapy. With this package, CHPW Medicaid members now have coverage for non-invasive treatment options to manage chronic pain and other conditions such as headaches, allergies, anxiety, and depression. CHPW members can decide how and where they want to use these treatments and can see any approved provider in Washington without needing prior approval from their primary care provider (PCP) or the CHPW. The Alternative Treatments benefit, which costs CHPW members nothing, is aligned with the health plan’s approach of supporting all aspects of its members’ health and well-being (physical, mental, behavioral, social and environmental). CHPW’s offering is unique in that it serves Medicaid recipients, giving them access to these alternative health services typically found only in commercial health insurance plans. It is also unmatched in the recognition that many cultures value these three treatments as traditional medicine.


With CHPW’s first set of Alternative Treatments benefits, its Medicaid members now have more non-invasive, drug-free treatment options to help relieve conditions such as headaches, allergies, back pain , anxiety and depression. The package provides members with 20 free visits for acupuncture, chiropractic and massage therapy.

“This benefits package is a way for the Washington Community Health Plan to provide less expensive options for treating pain than more invasive treatments like spinal injections or surgery and safer options than prescription opioids. or other pain management prescriptions,” said Dr. Paul Sherman, CHPW’s Chief Medical Officer.

Now, CHPW members receiving Medicaid have the flexibility and choice to allocate 20 visits to the three treatments they deem necessary. This allows individuals to stick with these alternative treatment plans for longer term treatment and use what they find most effective. Additionally, members can choose to see any licensed provider in Washington for these services and do not need prior approval from their primary care provider (PCP) or CHPW.

“CHPW is a partner in our members’ health journeys – listening to them and supporting them – because they know their health best,” said Dr. Sherman. “We have worked hard to empower people from all communities and walks of life to have more options so they can meet their own health needs and those of their families. While CHPW is a leader in providing this alternative treatment delivery to Washington Medicaid members, this is another step in our journey to break down barriers to care.

CHPW has introduced the benefit of alternative treatments as part of its commitment to meeting the holistic needs of the diverse communities it serves and based on feedback from its members, its network of Community Health Center (CHC) providers and in consultation with chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists. therapists to better understand the needs of their patients to propose an effective treatment plan. Typically, alternative treatments are found in commercial health insurance plans, but CHPW now offers these options to its Medicaid beneficiaries, many of whom identify with minority communities in which acupuncture, chiropractic and therapies massage are traditionally and culturally valued.

In addition to leading the charge to provide optional alternative treatments to Washington Medicaid members, Washington-based CHPW staff work in all communities to support members with other necessities like housing and access to food and has case managers to guide them every step of the way.

With breakthrough benefits and continued support at the community level, CHPW continues to advocate for Medicaid members to be the decision makers in their health care.

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About the Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW):

Founded in 1992 by a network of Community Health Centers (CHCs) in Washington State, the Washington Community Health Plan is a community-run, nonprofit health plan created to help coordinate care and to defend people who were not served by traditional insurance companies. CHPW’s mission is to provide accessible managed care services that meet the needs and improve the health of Washington communities and to make managed care participation beneficial for community-minded providers. CHPW serves approximately 280,000 members through Medicaid (income-based program called Apple Health in WA) and Medicare (age- and disability-based program) statewide. CHPW connects members to a variety of physical, behavioral, and social support services, and reinvests surpluses back into the community to help advance health equity and improve access to high-quality care for all. Its parent, Community Health Network of Washington, serves nearly one million people across Washington through its federally qualified member community health centers in Washington State, and now offers individual and family plans. on the Washington Health Exchange.

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