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Bill Allowing More Medicare Coverage For Chiropractic Makes Its Way Through Congress



In the changing landscape of healthcare in the United States, Medicare is one of the most volatile components in our nation’s healthcare system. Every change made to the structure of the nation’s healthcare system with respect to governmental involvement has the potential to significantly alter the way Medicare is structured, funded, and distributed to one of the largest proportions of the country’s population.

One of the more recent developments in Medicare is with respect to the increasing fear of Medicare payment cuts affecting the reimbursement status for a variety of different services, one of which could be the most impacted in primary care.

The Senate has passed legislation that is a momentous step towards evening out the reimbursement levels in Medicare patients. The legislation focuses on readjusting the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which is used to calculate the amount of reimbursement allocated to different types of healthcare services for the longevity of a given service. With this new calculation, the amount of money allocated to chiropractic professionals treating Medicare patients will expand 0.5% over the course of the next five years. This is quite important for chiropractic professionals, who often feel that Medicare patients place an unnecessary burden on the financial wellbeing of their practice.

This is not to say that chiropractors are money hungry. But the truth is that every business needs to operate efficiently and with reimbursement levels not even coming close to what they need to be, chiropractors have had much to fear in years past.

The new legislation also has a few different provisions that creates education initiatives in coding for and documenting Medicare claims for chiropractic care. In better understanding the general scope of how chiropractic care fits within the confines of Medicare allocation, forming a more proper reimbursement level will become much easier in the future.

Finally, the bill condenses the three main healthcare quality incentive programs into one overarching program titled the Merit Based Incentive Payment System. This new format is significantly less convoluted and allows chiropractic professionals to opportunity to report their cases, understand whether or not they are in compliance with quality standards, monitor their resource consumption, and incorporate technology further into their clinical framework.

While many of the provisions do not kick in until 2019, chiropractic care has received a substantial security blanket from the passing of this bill by The Senate. If the bill makes it completely through the legislative process, chiropractic care along with many other healthcare services will be completely transformed, adding new levels of transparency and functionality to these disciplines.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

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