THE DEVASTATING OPIOID EPIDEMIC CAME TO A HEAD IN MARCH when a number of drug-makers were hit with lawsuits among allegations of contributing to the crisis.
Purdue Pharma, which in 2007 paid out one of the largest fines ever levied against a pharmaceutical firm for mislabeling its product OxyContin, was at the time of this printing exploring filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to address legal liabilities, this according to Reuters. OxyContin and other opioids contributed to a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the government clamps down, its health care agencies are realizing the cost savings to be had via non-drug alternatives.
“[UnitedHealth Group] expects it could save $230 million and reduce opioid prescriptions by 25-26 percent over two years if half of its members would first pursue a conservative approach for their low back pain,” wrote Sherry McAllister, DC, the executive vice president of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress in Forbes magazine.
How DCs have been traditionally locked out
Health insurers have made it more difficult for patients to pursue care outside of medications like opiates, according to a study by the Journal of the AMA. As published in Forbes, “For example, a visit to a doctor of chiropractic requires a $60 co-pay, while a physical therapy appointment requires a $40 co-pay… Meanwhile, a generic opioid prescription will only cost about $10 a month, according to the commentary published with the study.” As a consumer, why pay more and jump through hoops when you can just pop a pill? But that’s changing.
How DCs are being welcomed in
In the face of the opioid epidemic, each week it seems another state adopts an alternative pain treatment that includes chiropractic. According to Politico, “Some insurers have started to waive those [co-pay] fees to encourage patients to seek other treatment options for chronic pain.”
This momentum-gaining change in attitude toward chiropractic comes on the heels of the White House, entering 2019, announcing increased non-pharmacological pain treatment options, including chiropractic, for U.S. veterans.
A growth market
Subsequently, as you’ll read in this issue, the latest prediction for the U.S. chiropractic market is a 20 percent increase over the next six years.
This growth will be supported by the above-mentioned health care reforms, an aging baby boomer generation, and societal habits that lend to an ever-growing number of adults who experience chronic pain (more than 100 million people currently in the U.S., according to the NIH).
For those who enjoy helping patients achieve an improved quality of life, it’s never been a better time to be a chiropractor.
Speaking of relieving pain, our Rehab & Physical Therapy issue feature highlights CrossOver Health and the innovative full-service clinic movement where DCs work side-by-side with other specialists. Helpful articles also delve further into the CBD craze, PEMF for pain management, the “chemistry of movement,” branding tips for your practice and more.
CE 65 years young
Chiropractic Economics turned 65 this year and hopefully you’ve been enjoying our print redesign, the focus on personalization, and a greater integration with our industry-leading digital properties and services. Sam Sparlin, DC and COO of Sparlin Health Care is also celebrating 65 years and we tip our cap to him and his staff.
“For the past 65 years since my father, Dr. Eugene Sparlin, founded Sparlin Health Care, our doctors have looked forward to Chiropractic Economics’ arrival in the mail. Informative articles, interviews and the latest products to assist with patient care have aided in our success in the same Atlanta location all these years. Happy anniversary Chiropractic Economics.”
To your success,
Chiropractic Economics magazine