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The Financial Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Our most recent Facebook post offers some rather interesting claims.  What is the source?  It is a somewhat older study, but the results hold completely true today.  Read below.

Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes From an Integrative Medicine Independent Physician Association:  An Additional 3-Year Update.  Journal of Manip and Physio Therap. May 2007.

This study compiled random patient surveys and independent physician association-incurred claims and descriptively analyzed them for clinical utilization, cost offsets, and member satisfaction. They compared patients with a medical doctor as a primary care physician (PCP) to patients with a chiropractor as a PCP. Overall, 70,274 member-months (the total number of participants who are members for each month) were examined, and patients using a chiropractor as a PCP yielded the following results (as compared to patients using a medical doctor as a PCP):

  • 60.2% decreased in-hospital admissions
  • 59% decreased hospital days
  • 62% decreased outpatient surgeries and procedures
  • 85% decreased pharmaceutical costs

The decreases noted in all these areas means decreased out-of-pocket expenses as well as decreased expenses for insurance companies. The incentives to decreasing costs to the insurance companies may mean lower premiums or extended coverage with the current premiums. Additionally, the data indicate improved health in the patients seeing chiropractors in that there are less prescribed drugs being taken, surgeries performed, hospital stays, and admissions to hospitals.

For future consideration is the need to look at the outcome for a given condition versus cost and time.  Obviously, in the presence of HIPAA our hands are considerably tied, but I am aware of one organization that is attempting to do just this with Worker’s Compensation data.  They are compiling data relative to what providers are doing the best job (best outcomes) with the best cost.  Isn’t this something that we would all like to know about?  Personally, I’m quite tired of hearing about visits to the ER and patient’s learning weeks later that the visit cost 1000’s of dollars while there was not a perception of benefit to the visit.  Maybe someday!

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