Medicare Coverage Clarification is Vital in Chiropractic Care Moving Forward
Last week in Washington D.C., the 2015 National Chiropractic Leadership Conference was held. Major stakeholders in this conference were the American Chiropractic Association and the House of Delegates. In a meeting between these two stakeholders, a decision was made to emphasize the necessity of parity in Medicare cases with respect to chiropractic care. Specifically, the American Chiropractic Association and the House od Delegates came to a resolution that makes Medicare cases in chiropractic care a “top priority,” citing that it is vital for chiropractors to practice and incur proper reimbursement for their services when caring for patients using Medicare as their primary form of insurance.
This is quite the undertaking, considering that there are roughly 55 million Americans that are participants in the Medicare program. Medicare is a government funded program that provides health coverage to all Americans aged 65 and over. The United States’ healthcare system is expected to be victimized by an aging population. Over the course of the next ten years, the United States population aged 65 and over is projected to rise by at least a third. This does not bode well for the financial and logistical future of Medicare and of the currently overburdened United States healthcare system overall.
In 1972, chiropractic care was first incorporated into the benefits structure of the Medicare program. Since chiropractic care was established as service that is covered by Medicare, there has not been much significant change to the benefits structure. There have been little things here and there along the way, however. In 1997, X-rays were removed as a requirement for patients to seek chiropractic care citing that the process of getting X-rays is not consistent with the alternative medicine principles of chiropractic care itself.
This was not the only statute discussed at the 2015 National Chiropractic Leadership Conference affecting chiropractic care. There was also a focus on the main processes in chiropractic practice, namely regulatory and transparency measures. It is great to see chiropractic care getting this level of attention and concern, especially in the policy making hotbed of Washington D.C and with such high-impact issues such as Medicare. If chiropractic care continues to receive this attention from high-level operatives, we can only expect to see further clarification of chiropractic care practices in many different facets.