New Study Provides Proof of Chiropractic's Cost-Saving Impact on Medicare Program
A new study of Medicare cost data completed in June by the well-known Washington, DC-based firm Muse & Associates helps prove the cost-saving impact that chiropractic care has on the current federal Medicare program.
"The results strongly suggest that chiropractic care significantly reduces per beneficiary costs to the Medicare program. The results also suggest that Chiropractic services could play a role in reducing costs of Medicare reform and/or a new prescription drug benefit."
The study specifically found that:
- Beneficiaries who received chiropractic care had lower average Medicare payments for all Medicare services than those who did not ($4,426 vs. $8,103); That is a 46% reduction!
- Beneficiaries who received chiropractic care averaged fewer Medicare claims per capita than those who did not; and
- Beneficiaries who received chiropractic care had lower average Medicare payments per claim than those who did not.
Chiropractic Care More Effective Than Medical
Objective:To compare chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment for managing low back pain of mechanical origin.
Design: Randomised controlled trial. Allocation to chiropractic or hospital management by minimisation to establish groups for analysis of results according to initial referral clinic, length of current episode, history, and severity of back pain. Patients were followed up for up two years.
Setting: Chiropractic and hospital outpatient clinics in 11 centres.
Patients: 741 Patients aged 18-65 who had no contraindications to manipulation and who had not been treated within the past month.
Interventions: Treatment at the discretion of the chiropractors, who used chiropractic manipulation in most patients, or of the hospital staff, who most commonly used Maitland mobilisation or manipulation, or both.
Main Outcome Measures: Changes in the score on the Oswestry pain disability questionnaire and in the results of tests of straight leg raising and lumbar flexion.
Results: Chiropractic treatment was more effective than hospital outpatient management, mainly for patients with chronic or severe back pain. A benefit of about 7% points on the Oswestry scale was seen at two years. The benefit of chiropractic treatment became more evident throughout the follow up period. Secondary outcome measures also showed that chiropractic was more beneficial.
Concluson: For patients with low back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management. The benefit is seen mainly in those with chronic or severe pain. Introducing chiropractic into NHS practice should be considered.
Jarvis KB; Phillips RB; Morris EK. J Occup Med. 1991 Aug;33(8):847-52.