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ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
A new study finds that low back
pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic
(DC) saves 40% on health care costs when compared with care initiated
through a medical doctor (MD), the American
Chiropractic Association(ACA) announced today. The study,
featuring data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield beneficiaries,
concludes that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractors
for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than
they would if they removed such restrictions.
Low back pain is a significant public health problem. Up to 85 percent
of Americans have back pain at some point in their lives. In addition to
its negative effects on employee productivity, back pain treatment
accounts for about $50 billion annually in health care costs—making it
one of the top 10 most costly conditions treated in the United States.
The study, “Cost
of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated With Chiropractic
Doctor vs. Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician:
Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insurer,” which is
available online and will also be published in the December 2010 issue
of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,
looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large
group fully insured population over a two-year span. The insured study
population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and
there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and
no differences in co-pays.
Results show that paid costs for episodes of care initiated by a DC were
almost 40 percent less than care initiated through an MD. After
risk-adjusting each patient’s costs, researchers still found significant
savings in the chiropractic group. They estimated that allowing
DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings
of $2.3 million for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.
“As doctors of chiropractic, we know firsthand that our care often helps
patients avoid or reduce more costly interventions such as drugs and
surgery. This study supports what we see in our practices every day,”
said ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. “It also demonstrates the value
of chiropractic care at a critical time, when our nation is attempting
to reform its health care system and contain runaway costs.”
Chiropractic Association, based in Arlington, Va., is the
largest professional association in the United States representing
doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics
and patient care, contributing to the health and well-being of millions
of chiropractic patients.
Back pain: http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=68
American Chiropractic Association: http://www.acatoday.org/patients/index.cfm
American Chiropractic Association: http://www.acatoday.org
American Chiropractic AssociationMelissa Lee, email@example.comCaitlin
Source: American Chiropractic Association (ACA)