The Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) has taken steps to incorporate and expand chiropractic into its healthcare system. As the largest healthcare system in the U.S., boasting more than 7.9 million enrolled veterans, the integration of chiropractic will be facilitated by the VHA’s National Director of Chiropractic Services, Anthony J. Lisi, DC, chief of chiropractic at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, and associate professor of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bridgeport, Conn.
“The opportunity for Dr. Lisi to incorporate chiropractic into the VHA came to the forefront when leaders of the chiropractic profession — many of whom are veterans themselves — advocated that chiropractic services be incorporated in the VHA,” said Gerard W. Clum, DC, president of Life Chiropractic College West, Hayward, Calif.
Nationally, Chiropractic Care Services is part of the Rehabilitation Services Strategic Healthcare Group, within the Office of Patient Care Services. The program is backed by a highly committed group of chiropractors working at VHA facilities across the country. The VHA employs a primary care provider model in which patients access all specialty clinics via referral from primary care or from another specialty clinic. This fosters a significant amount of collaboration between the chiropractor and other providers, and facilitates communication for the best possible comprehensive care for patients.
“The patient referral policy may seem an undesirable arrangement to many private practitioners, but in the VHA it works exceptionally well,” said Dr. Lisi. “The evidence of collaboration between chiropractors, medical physicians, and other providers speaks volumes. In the VHA environment, collaboration replaces competition and leads to better healthcare for our patients.”
To facilitate the growth of chiropractic in the VHA system, 12 VHA facilities have an academic affiliation with a total of nine different chiropractic schools. Under the supervision of staff chiropractors, students complete rotations in the VHA facility. More than 300 chiropractic students have undergone training in a VHA facility. Medical students or medical residents may also rotate through a VHA chiropractic clinic to facilitate collaboration.
The chiropractic program’s ongoing commitment to quality improvement also includes research leading to improved function, health, and quality of life for veterans.
Source: Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, www.F4CP.org