Dr. Jeffrey Behringer has been practicing at Niobrara Community Hospital as an Emergency Room physician and some-times clinic fill in for almost three years. He has watched the shift in the clinical world as more and more facilities and insurance agencies are encouraging physicians to seek alternatives for pain management for their patients outside of narcotics. As pressure has mounted for physicians to find other ways of helping their patients he has sought a different route to treating his patients instead of a transfer of care for those pain management cases to pain clinics, which are often difficult to access for may rural patients. Instead, Dr. Behringer has chosen to go an alternate route and become certified as a practitioner of acupuncture. In 2018 he certified through the Helms Medical Institute, an accredited institute of continuing medical education that has been training physicians about clinical acupuncture since 1982.
Dr. Behringer received the expanded course training that includes not only pain management acupuncture but also additional training and techniques for mental health diagnosis (anxiety, depression), and other expanded diagnosis. While acupuncture doesn’t claim to have all the answers, it is a technique that is considered mild enough for children and non-invasive. It is a good starting point for treatment of many illnesses and side effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes, West Nile, arthritis, and other diseases that cause nerve neuropathy. Acupuncture can also be used to treat for smoking cessation, dental pain, menopause symptoms and insomnia as well as other illnesses and symptoms.
Prior to Dr. Behringer’s services if a patient was seen in the traditional clinic setting they would also need to see a different practitioner for acupuncture. With Dr. Behringer’s services they can combine both the traditional clinic or ER/Hospital visit with the option of receiving acupuncture for their diagnosis or symptoms. He is also willing to include acupuncture in treatment plans for the Extended Care Facility residents if it is appropriate. Many private insurances will cover both the office visit and the acupuncture services and the Niobrara Community Hospital and Rawhide Rural Health Clinic are set up to bill those services directly to insurance. Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare do not yet pay for the acupuncture but they will pay for the office visit portion.
When discussing the future of acupuncture in western medicine clinics, Dr. Behringer is optimistic that acupuncture will continue to gain traction as a viable treatment plan within the western medicine setting. The VA has begun using it and acupuncture has been used for years in theater for treatments in the military field. With the increased demand Dr. Behringer hopes to continue growing his practice from Niobrara County and the surrounding area. While he has not yet been practicing long enough to be Board Certified, that is his goal. Patients with questions or who want to make an appointment may contact the Rawhide Rural Health Clinic during business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (307) 334-4000.