A new study by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield suggests that people who seek chiropractic care for common spinal diagnoses have a 10-23% cost savings over traditional medical care.
Over the past decade or two there have been occasional studies investigating the effectiveness of chiropractic care. I’ve reported on some of them in the past. In general the studies look at low back pain. They usually find that chiropractic care is at least as effective as traditional care in results without the side effects. Very few have looked at costs. As expected some of the studies are less favorable and some are more. The preponderance of the evidence points to good outcomes, few side effects and cost savings over the traditional care.
With the public eye on health reform and cost savings; here are some numbers that should be considered. At any given time about 15% of the US population suffers from back issues. In 2005 we as a nation spent $85.9 billion on back treatments, yet only 8% of Americans have used chiropractic. To extrapolate out from this study and these numbers there is an annual health care savings of about $9-20 Billion to be had just by referring all back pain patients to chiropractors. (That could pay for numerous Cash for Clunkers programs or actually save the taxpayers money.)
So, call your congressman or the White House. Tell them if they have to pass some sort of health insurance reform to make sure it includes the cost saving advantages of chiropractic care. Go to http://www.chirovoice.org/ to find out how to support chiropractic politically, or directly here to contact your representatives.
From what I can tell the major players are all fighting to get the most power from “Health Care Reform” that they can through positioning. I get a sense of urgency from everyone in more ways than one. There’s the hurry to the reform table or we won’t get a seat. That may be true, there are groups trying to cut people out now. Second I feel like this reform is being pushed so fast so that no one will be able to see what it really is, kind of like the “Stimulus Bills” that no one even could read.
Here’s what I’ve seen at the meetings I’ve been too and in the news. (I’m not even going to cite these things. If anyone wants to link a story, feel free.)
The medical doctors are fighting a political battle to take away physician status from others. They are doing this by trying to make it illegal to refer to yourself as a doctor unless you have the MD or DO degree. This affects dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, chiropractors, lawyers, PhDs, etc… They say it’s a public safety issue and they don’t want people confused, but in reality it goes to healthcare reform. You see the “national health care” is to be modeled after medicaid/medicare (Oh that’s a good idea, they run great.) which places control with the physician. If your a non-physician provider then you have less control and pay. MD’s don’t go to management school, they are no better suited to be in charge of a musculoskeletal patient than they are to be in charge of a a patients teeth. MDs have no extra special training. It’s a power grab.
Physical Therapists are trying to become doctors for the same reason. They don’t like being technicians and want some of that market share, so without really adding education they are trying to take the title or responsibilities. Here in Utah recently they tried to sneak the term diagnose into their law, it’s just a term they said. Well, doctors diagnose because they have the training, PT’s don’t have the training.
I know these turf wars are going all over throughout healthcare. I’m just more aware of the chiropractic ones. There are battles for control going between providers and insurance companies, and insurance and government officials, the only group that I don’t see fighting is the patients. Why is that? Why won’t the people speak up and take personal responsibility? It’s your health take care of it! Here’s one way you can: ChiroVoice it’s the voice of patients.
I’ve always tried to avoid talking politics on this blog, which for me is difficult, as I’m very patriotic and interested in the function of our government. However, I thought today I would weigh in on how the election may effect the profession of chiropractic, without trying to give away my leanings.
Regarding chiropractic, President Elect, Barack Obama has recently said, in a letter to the American Chiropractic Association,
“We need to expand the range of chiropractic services covered by Medicare, facilitate integration of doctors of chiropractic into the health care systems of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, and allow commission of doctors of chiropractic as officers in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service”
This may be a prime time for chiropractors to get some good policies in place, to push for commissioning of chiropractors in the military and getting all of our troops the chiropractic care they need and deserve. I urge all chiropractors, patients, friends and family to look into your newly elected officials. What ever their policies and agendas may be they are our elected officials, and represent us, and now may be a prime season to move the cause of chiropractic forward.
Election day is not the only day that we should participate in our government. It is a government by the people. Our representatives need to hear from us now as they are preparing for the transition. If we let them know what we want done now we may be able to get something done before they start running for re-election.
There are still two resolutions sitting in committees in congress. Let’s get chiropractors commissioned in this election cycle!
Exactly 4 weeks ago I applied for a civilian position with the US Navy. I figured that this would be one step closer, and put me in a better position to talk to people about commissioning chiropractors. So far, no news. The application says that they will let me know one way or another, but 4 weeks, wow. I guess that’s good news. They would have sent me a letter already if I wasn’t even in the running, right? So, to keep up my optimism I thought I’d let everyone else know how great it is to not know if I’ll be heading to Hawaii soon.
Even if I don’t get the position with the Navy I plan to keep up with the goal to get chiropractors commissioned. I have sent letters/email to every candidate for president asking their position on the topic, and why they haven’t signed up to cosponsor the current resolutions. The current senate resolution is in the Armed Services Committee which both Hillary Clinton and John McCain sit on. I would hope that they would respond regarding a resolution that is before them at this time.
The house bill is faring a little better. The committee there has co-sponsors of the bill in the committee. A congressman from my state sits on that committee, but will not respond to me because I am not in his district. My call to everyone else out there if you have a Senator or Rep. who represents you please contact them, find out their position on this topic and urge them to co-sponsor the resolutions (HCR 294 & SCR 75). Then, report back to me so I can post their responses.
To find who your representatives are visit www.commissionchiropractors.com. The get involved section there will link you to find your reps. There is all sorts of other good information there also.