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Veterans Finally Get Chiropractic Coverage

Veterans Finally Get Chiropractic Coverage - El Paso Chiropractor
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For over 10 years, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has included chiropractic services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, as part of the approved medical benefits package offered to all enrolled veterans. A recent study organized by researchers from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the handling of chiropractic services and the chiropractic workforce in VA has grown significantly since their introduction over a decade ago. The yearly number of chiropractic visits has expanded by nearly 700 percent, hence showing an increase in veteran’s access to chiropractic care.

The lead author of the study, Anthony J. Lisi, DC, Director of the VA Chiropractic Program and Chiropractic Section Chief at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System made a statement on the progressive and significant increase of chiropractic service utilization by the VA each year after its introduction in late 2004. Additionally, as stated by Anthony J. Lisi, Veterans Affairs’ chiropractic care includes evidence-based medicine and patient-centered care, among other treatment options which are highly requested by veterans and referring providers. VA will persist to guarantee a proper access to chiropractic care across the complete system, and as the study reports, it’s advancement today has been extraordinary.

Throughout the numerous findings among an 11-year period, the study concluded that the number of individuals treated in Veterans Affairs clinics increased by 821 percent in a year, the number of chiropractic visits expanded by 693 percent in a year, the total number of VA chiropractic clinics escalated 9 percent in a year as well as the number of chiropractic employees, increasing by 21 percent in a year. Finally, the study also confirmed that the average VA chiropractic patient is male, between the ages of 45 and 64, and generally receives diagnosis, chiropractic spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, as well as other health care services focused on low back and/or neck injuries or conditions.

According to Co-Author Cynthia A. Brandt, MD, MPH, Health Services Researcher at the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System and Professor at Yale University School of Medicine, chiropractic care is an essential element towards treating spinal pain and discomfort caused by injury or underlying conditions in veterans.

The results of the study revealed the Veterans Affairs’ chiropractic clinics attended a leading percentage of female and younger individuals correlated with the national VA outpatient percentage. Furthermore, the study demonstrated a consistent demographic relation with the veterans from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, well-known for its high percentage of diagnosed musculoskeletal conditions.

Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, F4CP, recognized through the study that the amplified use of chiropractic treatment among veterans for symptom management and other health complications, especially by veterans in the Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and older adult populations, demonstrates the definitive demand for chiropractic care. This is a sincere observation of the improved clinical outcomes and high patient satisfaction scores that have been recorded in detail prior to the study. Sherry McAllister continued by praising Veterans Affairs for its assistance throughout various continuing chiropractic research in order to further assist as well as enhance the health and well-being of many respected and valued veterans.

The authors of the study also declared that the development in VA chiropractic use had taken place without added laws authorizing an extension. This suggests an increasing recognition of the value of chiropractic care in Veterans Affairs. In a recent report, David J. Shulkin, MD, VA Under Secretary for Health, specified VA’s chiropractic program as an example of the essential medical option supported for veterans.

Doctors of Chiropractic, DCs, who obtain a minimum of seven years of higher level education, contribute non-operative management of injuries of conditions, such as pain on the joints, back pain, neck pain, or headaches, through the utilization of manual techniques and active rehabilitation, such as chiropractic spinal adjustments, manual manipulations, and occasionally, recommending a series of stretches and exercises appropriate to each individual. Chiropractic treatments are combined with primary care, specialty clinics and rehabilitation, as well as supply a non-pharmacologic option for symptoms management, general health, and wellness concerns for veterans and the overall population alike.  


By Dr. Alex Jimenez



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