April 8, 2015 — The NCMIC Foundation awarded the North Carolina Employee Health Plan Research Study Group the Jerome F. McAndrews, DC, Memorial Research Fund Award at the Association of Chiropractic Colleges Educational Conference and Research Agenda Conference (ACC-RAC).
As a recipient of the McAndrews’ Award, the group, led by Shawn Phelan, DC, and consisting of Richard C. Armstrong, MS, DC, Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD, Eugene A. Lewis, DC, MPH, Reed B. Phillips, PhD, DC, Michael J. Schneider, PhD, DC, and Joel M. Stevans, DC, was recognized for working on several research projects that aim to better understand the costs for chiropractic care.
The group was formed in 2009 out of a response to a change in the copay structure for health plans in North Carolina.
A state bill allowed the group to access data to perform a retrospective, closed-claim analysis of the state employee’s health plan. The team developed the extraction model, and Blue Cross Blue Shield wrote the software to extract the data.
Among other things, the studies’ purposes were:
- To compare the cost of care among MDs, DCs, and PTs for the treatment of complicated and uncomplicated low back pain, neck pain, and headache.
- To investigate the impact of the period of copay equity between 2006 and 2007 on costs and utilization.
- To investigate the impact of the legislative repeal that ended copay equity in 2007 on costs and utilization during the years 2008 and 2009.
- To investigate the impact of risk factors on provider costs.
The findings of the studies showed significantly lower costs of care for complicated and uncomplicated neck pain, low back pain, and headache, especially within the middle quintile of risk. There was a net increase in chiropractic utilization and a decrease in charges to the state health plan for these conditions during the period of copay equity.
There was a significant decrease in chiropractic utilization and significant increase in the magnitude of millions of dollars for these conditions with the repeal of copay equity in 2007. The middle quintile of risk showed no difference between the difficulties of the cases managed by the providers.
The Jerome F. McAndrews, DC, Memorial Research Fund was created by the NCMIC Foundation to honor McAndrews’ longtime support of the scientific and practical advancement of the study of chiropractic. It provides an award each year to a worthy research recipient.
This award recognizes an individual or a group who has demonstrated exceptional ability to:
- Advance research and the exchange of scientific information
- Promote high ethical standards in research and/or practice
- Contribute to practical applications to chiropractic practice
- Interact professionally with other individuals and groups involved in relevant research and application
Past recipients of this award are: Robert Mootz, DC (2014), James Whedon, DC, MS (2013), Pierre Côté, DC, PhD (2011), Deborah Kopansky-Giles, DC (2010), Sidney Rubinstein, DC, PhD (2009) and Simon Dagenais, DC, PhD (2008).