>Do you really think the corporate bean-counters at an HMO' would allow the
>use of alternative practices--on their nickel--if it didn't provide the
>similar results at lower costs for them?
Yes, in a word. Right now, it ain't about making patients better _in fact_, it's about making them _feel_ better, and right now, it's also about keeping customers.
When someone stays on a useless regimen that makes them feel good, but is ancillary (at best, and most 'alternative' treatments are _adjunctive_ to scientific medical treatment, in fact, in the case of homeopathy, no different than placebo at all levels), and the HMO is getting extra patient co-payments on a continuing basis, then yes, it is in their interests to keep the customer and _not make them any better_, but keep them by making them _feel better_ and _feel better treated_.
And that, in a nutshell, is the one thing, and the only thing, that works in 'alternative' medicine.
But I have no objection, in fact I encourage, any and all clinical and chemical trials of 'folk' and 'traditional' and 'home' and 'old-wive's' cures and medicines and such. There _is_ wisdom there.
>So how would you respond to the HMO's doing clinical trials to see if some
>"alternative" treatments can provide the same results to patents at lower
>costs to them?
As long as it ain't on my dime, I have no objection. So far, the HMO I belong to, does not do clinical trials of such treatments, although they are aligned with a separate clinic that does acupuncture and such. I did expressly ask whether or not any of my standard fees were going into supporting such a clinic, and I am confident they are not. I am still disturbed by the actual referral to such charlatans, however, and I said as much.