Veterans Will Hopefully Get More Chiro Benefits

By Guest Writer Holly McCarthy

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Looks like vets will get expanded veteran’s benefits that will include coverage of chiropractic care. The American Chiropractic Association is thrilled about the bill, which was introduced into the House in 2007 but may actually move along under this Congress.

What’s really cool about the bill is it will require that a chiropractor be on staff at every VA medical facility by 2012. This would amend the existing Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 2001 and ensure vets get the chiropractic care they seek.

This is all just swell until we think about the fact that, currently, there are only 32 out of more than 150 VA medical facilities who actually have a chiropractor on staff. So, getting our military “aligned” (well, at least from a chiropractic perspective) is still next to impossible. It’s frustrating as we think about the numbers of invasive surgeries, procedures and treatments administered to vets every day when chiropractic is noninvasive and considerably more cost effective than many other procedures.

Seems a little short sighted as Wall Street drives the economy deeper into the red as the government looks for ways to scrimp and save. But, we digress.

Oh, and those 32 VA facilities with chiropractors? Well, this lightning-paced change has been in the works for almost eight years now. We all know things do not move quickly in our government but our vets deserve a little more here.

In the end, unless the current bill makes its way through both houses of Congress, making chiropractic care accessible to all veterans will remain a case-by-case benefit, which we can assume will be painfully slow – if expansion to other facilities happens at all.

And, here’s one last thought to chew on as we close. Almost 50% of vets returning from overseas seek treatment for musculoskeletal problems. You know, those ailments chiropractors treat! And, we treat them more effectively and less expensively, to boot. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months/years as the number of returning veterans with musculoskeletal problems continues to increase and funding for them continues to decrease.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy.  Holly writes on the subject of schools with sports management programs.  She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 [at] gmail [dot] com

House passes directive on chiropractic in military

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a directive that orders the Pentagon to make chiropractic care a standard benefit for all active-duty military personnel. The legislation is contained in H.R. 5658, a bill authorizing defense programs in fiscal year 2009, and is based in part on recommendations from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC). The bill — passed by the Armed Services Committee on May 14 and the full House on May 22 — also contains language allowing for chiropractic demonstration projects at overseas military locations and clarifies that chiropractic care at U.S. military facilities is to be performed only by a doctor of chiropractic.

In 2000, Congress passed and the president signed a similar authorization bill, which contained language calling on the secretary of defense to develop a plan to get the chiropractic benefit to all active-duty service members To date, chiropractors are at 49 military bases around the country; however, according to a 2005 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, only 54 percent of servicemen and women eligible for chiropractic care can reasonably access the benefit. This most recent legislation shelves the plan approach and simply states that chiropractic care is a standard healthcare benefit. According to ACA sources, the House Armed Services committee also expressed concern that there were no doctors of chiropractic stationed at overseas military facilities. The language contained within H.R. 5658 allows the Pentagon to conduct demonstration projects to implement chiropractic care at these sites.

 

Source: American Chiropractic Association, http://www.acatoday.com

Chiropractors in the Military?

Resolution to commission DCs introduced in Senate

 A concurrent resolution in support of commissioning doctors of chiropractic as officers in the Armed Forces has been introduced into the Senate.  U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 that requests the Secretary of Defense to take immediate steps to establish a career path for doctors of chiropractic. The resolution is the Senate companion to House Concurrent Resolution 294, which was introduced in February.

The military commissioning of doctors of chiropractic would:

 

  • Expand the availability of chiropractic services to all realms of military operations and activities, thus providing needed care to active duty personnel;
  • Increase the cost effectiveness of military healthcare expenditures by making optimal use of the conservative, drugless and non-surgical care chiropractic offers;  
  • Enhance the combat readiness of skilled personnel by offering a non-pharmaceutical option to care for their health;

Doctors of chiropractic, chiropractic patients and other interested parties are strongly encouraged to contact their senators to help support this action.  It is about time military personnel were given access to chiropractic care and that chiropractors who want a career path that includes service in the military were given options other than standard military routes.

 

Dr. Brett L. Kinsler is a chiropractor practicing in Rochester, New York.  His website is www.RochesterChiro.com

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