Research Shows Chiropractic as a Cost-Effective, Value-Based Benefit Option

A news release issued on May 22, 2012, by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) notes that a growing body of evidence shows that chiropractic is an affordable choice within emerging value-based health plans and may represent a significant advancement in cost and clinical effectiveness.

The release cites a research study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, titled, “A Hospital-Based Standardized Spine Care Pathway: Report of a Multidisciplinary, Evidence-Based Process”. The evidence shows that, “…of 402 low back pain patients treated exclusively by doctors of chiropractic at the low back pain program implemented at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Mass., achieved successful clinical outcomes in an average of 5.2 visits at the low cost of $302 per case, while maintaining satisfaction rates above 95 percent.”

Additionally, the study showed that the participants self-reported pain and disability scores were reduced by about 70 percent over the course of just a few weeks.

The F4CP release also pointed out that one insurance company has already started promoting more affordable and effective care by noting, “Highmark Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, recently introduced a new health plan that utilizes incentives to further engage employees in their healthcare. Specifically, employees are encouraged to better understand less invasive, less costly approaches, such as chiropractic care, before considering more costly and clinically variable procedures, like back surgery and/or knee/hip replacements.”

“Research continues to accumulate in support of value-based approaches to inclusion of chiropractic services in employer health benefits design,” stated Bruce Sherman, MD, former medical director, Whirlpool Corporation and contributing author of Outcomes-Based Contracting- The Value-Based Approach for Optimal Health with Chiropractic Services. “As employers expand their approach to implementing value-based plans, these additional findings increasingly demonstrate the potential value that inclusion of chiropractic services may provide.”

Gerard W. Clum, DC, a spokesperson for the F4CP and an academic leader within the chiropractic profession for nearly three decades, summed up the trend by saying, “This is an exhilarating time for the (chiropractic) profession as employers seek to implement benefit plans with more valuable fundamentals. I expect that, as employers learn more about value-based plans with chiropractic, they will be pleased with the potential results – better outcomes, less costs and increased patient satisfaction.”

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