May 1, 2008 — Representatives from state and national chiropractic associations, chiropractic colleges, allied health professions, and consumer organizations joined individual doctors, students, and staff on April 24 in Washington, D.C., for the profession’s first National Conference on the Future of Chiropractic in Medicare.
In an information-packed, day-long session, 17 presenters covered a wide array of subjects including the new Recovery Audit Contractors program Medicare has implemented, documentation challenges, the recently concluded Medicare Demonstration Project, and Medicare Savings Accounts. Additionally, speakers reviewed the national political landscape in a wide-ranging discussion on Medicare’s political and economic future.
Hosted by the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), the conference focused on the political, economic, and social elements surrounding Medicare and the changes facing this federal program that will ultimately be called upon to address the healthcare needs of more than 80 million eligible beneficiaries.
Three members of the House of Representatives — Reps. Bob Filner, Kathy McMorris Rogers, and Don Manzullo — and Sen. Ben Cardin offered divergent perspectives on how national Medicare policy can and should be adjusted to meet the coming new demands, in the face of diminishing financial resources.
The Congressional speakers emphasized the problem of Medicare’s limited resources as more seniors enter the program, and the difficulty to distribute those resources fairly.
Issues such as reducing medical errors, reducing administrative costs, reducing drug costs and prescription abuses, and finding ways to control the costs of emerging technologies were common themes among all legislators, regardless of party. All speakers agreed that all beneficiaries in the system would be called upon to pay a greater share of the costs.
The Congressional speakers diverged on the issue of privatization, with Republicans favoring the exploration of ways and means through which Medicare beneficiaries might help finance and administer their individual care through some combination of personal and government financial support, such as a Medicare Savings Account.
“It is clear that there is a massive amount of work that needs to be done to secure chiropractic’s rightful place in the Medicare program and in any national healthcare reform initiative,” said ICA President John K. Maltby, DC. “ICA recognizes that it will take an historic cooperative effort to achieve success, and ICA hopes that the Conference represents a first step along that path.”
Source: International Chiropractors Association, www.chiropractic.org