Plymouth-based nonprofit Fulcrum Health late last week launched a massage therapy health network.
Dubbed “TruTouch,” the network features a list of credentialed massage therapists available to Fulcrum’s members. Providers will serve patients with a range of health conditions, according to the organization.
The move comes more than a year after the federal government recommended including massage therapy as a benefit for several Medicare Advantage plans. Fulcrum CEO Patty Dennis says the new network aligns with the organization's focus on "conservative care" options.
"While there are many conservative, non-pharmacological back-pain management options, these evidence-based options are not always well understood or widely available," she says. "With today's growing emphasis on quality care, clinical outcomes, and cost effectiveness, the conservative care approaches and patient education offered by massage therapists are gaining increased use and attention."
For Dennis, the business case for massage therapy is clear: Around 80 percent of adults will experience lower-back pain at some point in their lives, she notes. That makes back pain the third-largest care expense for health plans, according to Dennis.
The organization plans to work with massage therapists to support massage therapy as a covered benefit for Medicare patients. The network will initially will be available only to Medicare Advantage patients, but Fulcrum aims to expand it "as health plans and employer groups broaden their benefits to include massage therapy," Dennis says.
The new system expands Fulcrum’s existing networks for acupuncture and chiropractic services. Since 1984, the organization has been operating ChiroCare, a network of more than 2,500 chiropractors in the Midwest. The company also operates AcuNet, a network of acupuncturists.
When it launched more than three decades ago, ChiroCare was the first chiropractic network in the U.S.
Fulcrum counts nearly 2 million members in the Midwest. Last year, the organization logged revenue of $26.5 million, up from $24.5 million in 2017, according to Fulcrum’s 2018 annual report.
Fulcrum’s clients include HealthPartners, Allina Health, and Aetna Insurance Co. In 2016, organization rebranded as from Chiropractic Care of Minnesota Inc.