March 3, 2015—Anthony W. Hamm, DC, president of the American Chiropractic Association, responded to a February 2015 article in the Washington Post entitled “New rules on narcotic painkillers cause grief for veterans and VA.” Read the full letter below.
This letter is in response to your Feb. 18 article on how the new federal rules are making it harder to get narcotic painkillers for veterans who depend on these prescription drugs to treat a wide variety of ailments (“New rules on narcotic painkillers cause grief for veterans and VA”).
The health and well-being of our veterans is of the utmost importance. Given the epidemic of overuse and abuse of prescription pain medications in the United States, veterans need access to non-drug approaches to pain management.
In fact, a recent report released by an independent National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel about the need for individualized, patient-centered care to treat and monitor the estimated 100 million Americans living with chronic pain, concluded that widespread opioid use does not provide an effective single approach for the chronic pain patient.
The Joint Commission recently revised its pain management standard to include chiropractic services. Clinical experts in pain management working with the commission affirmed that treatment strategies may consider both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches.
Services provided by doctors of chiropractic are now included in the standard of care for pain management, effective January 2015.
Although the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) currently provides access to a doctor of chiropractic at just over 50 major VA treatment facilities within the country, a great number of America’s eligible veterans continue to find it difficult to clinically indicated chiropractic services.
As a result of this disparity, a new bipartisan bill, S. 398, “The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act,” was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to integrate the services of DCs at all major VA medical facilities over several years and codify chiropractic as a standard benefit for veterans accessing VA care.
Veterans deserve access to the essential services provided by DCs, especially since a great number of returning overseas veterans are suffering from musculoskeletal ailments.
Anthony W. Hamm, DC
President, American Chiropractic Association