June 12, 2014 — A recent article published in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Law Reporter announces that Section 2706(a), the latest non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, opens an avenue for expanded use of licensed/certified non-physician providers in a wide range of health plans and insurance products. Included in this category are Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners, such as doctors of chiropractic, who, as the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) points out, offer evidence-based, cost-effective care for many common health and wellness concerns.
“The new provision is indeed a step in the right direction for our nation’s healthcare,” said Gerard Clum, DC, spokesperson for F4CP, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the value of chiropractic care. “By expanding access to providers, such as doctors of chiropractic, patients gain exposure to a variety of suitable care options presenting greater opportunity for improved patient satisfaction and positive outcomes — without the high costs and risks associated with traditional treatments.”
Often referred to as the Harkin Amendment, Section 2706(a) mandates that any insurer that offers group or individual coverage is unable to reject health providers from participation if acting within the scope of his/her license or certification. This notion of inclusion also applies to emerging healthcare models, such as the patient-centered medical home and accountable care organization, in which CAM practitioners offer great clinical and financial value.
The F4CP points to several reports, which document the value of chiropractic inclusion:
- Tracking Low Back Problems in a Major Self-Insured Workforce: Toward Improvement in the Patient’s Journey
- Do Chiropractic Physician Services for Treatment of Low Back and Neck Pain Improve the Value of Health Benefit Plans?
- Outcomes-Based Contracting™ The Value-Based Approach for Optimal Health with Chiropractic Services
- The Role of Chiropractic Care in the Patient-Centered Medical Home
- A Safer Approach To Long-Term Relief From Back Pain
- Accountable Care Organizations Optimize Outcomes, Cost Savings And Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic Care
“Each healthcare discipline brings a unique skill set and service to our healthcare system,” Clum said. “The new provision encourages collaboration amongst providers, and, ultimately, paves the way for higher quality patient care and better outcomes. As integrated care models gain acceptance, I expect new methods for delivering all-around value will be discovered and traditional approaches to healthcare will become a means of the past.”