Chiropractic Valuable in Accountable Care Organizations

In a release dated June 26, 2013, The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) issued a report titled, “Accountable Care Organizations Optimize Outcomes, Cost Savings and Patient Satisfaction with Chiropractic Care.” This report demonstrates the value that chiropractic care offers in the new Accountable Care Organizations.

According to the website for the Centers For Medicare & Medicaid services, “Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.”

“Chiropractic care represents a non-invasive, evidence-based, drug-free approach that should serve as a key deliverable in the ACO model,” states Gerard Clum, DC, spokesperson, F4CP and lead author. “With ongoing positive outcomes for successfully addressing low back and neck pain, DCs are well positioned to help ACOs contain costs. Avoidance of surgical procedures and associated hospitalizations will have a profound impact on ACO achievements.”

Included in the report are statistics comparing costs to health plans for “Individuals With and Without Chiropractic Coverage.” When compared for costs and patient satisfaction, chiropractic groups with chiropractic consistently performed better than those plans that did not include chiropractic. For example, the average cost of lower back pain care was 12.5% lower for the group with chiropractic coverage inclusion.

Injured workers with lower back problems have a 42.7% chance of having spinal surgery if their primary caregiver for this condition was a surgeon. However, if chiropractic was used, the percentage of patients who eventually have expensive spinal surgery drops to only 1.5%.

In the report the authors summed up their findings when they stated, “The addition of a chiropractic benefit to a person’s insurance profile did not increase the cost of healthcare; rather, it was associated with a lower cost of healthcare on a global level.”

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