May 17, 2018―As a sign of how state legislatures are increasingly recognizing that it is possible to fight the opioid epidemic with chiropractic, the Missouri Senate, in a vote of 32-0, passed HB 1516, which opens Medicare program to chiropractic treatment in Missouri. The law, taking effect at the end of August, provides patient access “up to 20 visits per year for services limited to 45 examinations, diagnoses, adjustments, and manipulations and treatments of malpositioned articulations and structures of the body provided by licensed chiropractic physicians.”
Notably, to fight the opioid epidemic with chiropractic care, the state’s AMA lobbyists were vigorously opposed to this language and were able to limit the chiropractic scope of practice to an extent, but on the whole they were defeated.
In Washington State, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a budget in May that included a provision titled “Better Access to Healthcare.” Legislation that provides up to six visits that require no insurance pre-authorization for physical, occupational, or massage therapy as well as acupuncture and chiropractic services. Here also, the measure was spurred by a desire to stem the tide of opioid addiction that has hit the state hard.
Action continues at the federal level as well. In May, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) introduced a bill aiming to expand non-opioid pain treatment in Medicare. It would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve patient access to cognitive behavioral therapy, and alternative approaches including acupuncture, biofeedback, and chiropractic treatment. Upon completion of a study, HHS would prepare formal recommendations for Congress. The proposed legislation is named for Todd Graham, MD, of South Bend, Indiana, who was killed in July 2017 after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller.
The American Chiropractic Association, reporting on the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference held this year, said that attendees who met with congressional staff and leadership reported that “the tone of the meetings was different.” Lawmakers held longer meetings with chiropractors, and displayed more interest in their issues, likely the result of growing awareness of the need for non-pharmacologic approaches to pain management.
Source: Chiropractic Economics