February 20, 2009 — The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) today expressed support for newly introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives designed to codify chiropractic as a covered service through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. Representative Bob Filner, D-Calif., introduced HR 1017 late last week.
The bill, which is similar to legislation introduced in 2007, specifically requires the VA to have a doctor of chiropractic on staff at all VA medical facilities by 2012. It also amends the current statute, the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 2001, ensuring that chiropractic benefits cannot be denied.
Through previous congressional action, chiropractic care is now available at 32 VA facilities across the country; however, in the more than 120 facilities without a chiropractor on staff, the chiropractic care benefit Congress authorized for America’s veterans remains virtually nonexistent.
According to ACA Vice President of Government Relations John Falardeau, without a congressional directive, further expansion to VA facilities will be on a case-by-case basis and will be excruciatingly slow.
The ACA believes that integrating chiropractic treatment into the VA healthcare system would not only be cost-effective, it would also speed the recovery of many of the veterans returning from current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A January 2009 report from the Veterans Health Administration indicates that over 49 percent of veterans returning from the Middle East and Southwest Asia who have sought VA healthcare were treated for symptoms associated with musculoskeletal ailments — the top complaint of those tracked for the report.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org