Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Medicare Won't Let Massage Therapists Prescribe Drugs Any More

Medicare Won't Let Massage Therapists Prescribe Drugs Any More
Photograph via Getty Images

A Florida massage therapist ordered 3,756 prescriptions filled by Medicare’s drug plan in 2009. The cost: $183,132.

The unidentified masseuse was among 2,780 professionals who didn’t have the authority to prescribe medication and nonetheless ordered drugs for Medicare patients, according to a review (PDF) last year by the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General. The tally included 713 dietitians, 398 athletic trainers, 240 massage therapists, and 20 veterinarians, among others. Medicare plans and patients paid more than $5 million for the medications. The report found 7,679 prescriptions for frequently abused drugs such as oxycodone, written by people with no prescribing authority.