Medicare Patients Using Chiropractic Reduce Costs

The January 2016 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics published a study titled, The Association Between Use of Chiropractic Care and Costs of Care Among Older Medicare Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain and Multiple Comorbidities. The study showed that patients on Medicare who used chiropractic care decreased overall costs compared to those who did not seek chiropractic.

The study’s objective was to determine if seeing a chiropractor saved money in healthcare expenses for Medicare beneficiaries. Researchers conducted a retrospective review of services for chiropractic care on Medicare patients between the years of 2006 and 2012.

The study reported the results of 72,326 Medicare beneficiaries who were 66 years or older and had chiropractic services that were covered by Medicare. Medicare currently only pays for chiropractic care for adjustments of subluxations.

The study compared the cost of total care for patients who received just chiropractic, with those who received chiropractic and medical care, and those who only received medical care without chiropractic. The study also only reviewed those who were seen for chronic lower back problems in order to have consistency in comparing results.

The results of the study showed that those patients who only received chiropractic care had the lowest costs for the care for their problem. This highest cost of care were those who only received medical care. Those who received chiropractic also had a much lower chance of having spinal surgery. Additionally, those who only received chiropractic care had a better outcome in a shorter period of time.

In response to this study, Dr George Curry, president of the International Chiropractors Association commented, “This study highlights the fact that those who receive chiropractic save money on healthcare expenditures. Although this study specifically looked at Medicare patients who were suffering from lower back issues, it should not be a far leap to extrapolate this out to a number of health issues that people seek chiropractic for. Chiropractic care should be viewed as a real solution to the spiraling costs of medical care.”

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