Congress Looking to Require Chiropractic Availability at all VA Health Care Centers

Representative Bob Filner recently introduced the Chiropractic Care to All Veterans Act to the House, which both the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) have demonstrated strong support of.

Under the new bill (H.R. 329), chiropractic care will become more readily available to veterans.  The bill is similar to another piece of legislation which passed the House in 2010, but failed to gain the attention of the Senate.

Should the Chiropractic Care to All Veterans Act pass, all major VA medical facilities will be required to have at least one chiropractic physician on staff by 2014.  Chiropractic care will also be protected under the Department of Veteran Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 2001 so that the treatment will be included in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and no longer denied coverage.

“Our nation’s veterans and active duty military, along with their family members, have sacrificed so much for our country. They deserve the best healthcare available, and that includes chiropractic care,” stated ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. “It makes me proud to see the chiropractic profession working with our congressional allies in support of this important legislation.”

Only 36 VA facilities currently offer chiropractic, and over 100 VA medical facilities still don’t have a chiropractor on staff.  Although previous legislation allowed chiropractic in VA facilities, the deficit in certified staff has made the chiropractic care benefit difficult to use, and has left major facilities in Chicago, Detroit, and Denver unable to offer the service.

In 2010, the Veterans Health Administration reported that over half of veterans who served in the Middle East and Southwest Asia were being treated for symptoms of musculoskeletal ailments.  Both the ACA and ACC believe that these veterans would see an increased speed of recovery if chiropractic was more readily available in VA medical facilities.  The organizations also believe offering the treatment would be more cost-effective to the healthcare system.

Under the Chiropractic Health Parity for Military Beneficiaries Act, H.R. 409, the Secretary of Defense must create a plan by August 31, 2011 so that any beneficiary insured by TRICARE may receive chiropractic care. Only active duty service members are currently allows to seek chiropractic care.

“I am please that Congress has taken these two important steps that, when taken together, facilitate access by our veterans, active military, and their families to fundamental healthcare benefits such as chiropractic care,” stated ACC President Dr. Frank Nicchi. “Chiropractic continues to enjoy high levels of satisfaction among our servicemen and women.”

Chiropractic services under H.R. 409 include diagnosis, evaluation and management, and the therapeutic services needed for treating neuromusculoskeletal health conditions, and that they must be provided by a licensed chiropractor.

Representative Rogers has introduced similar legislation in the two most recent sessions of Congress.

Photo thanks to neckandback under creative common license on Flickr.

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