January 27, 2010 — According to long-awaited results from a congressionally mandated pilot project testing the feasibility of expanding chiropractic services in the Medicare program, patients have a high rate of satisfaction with the care they receive from doctors of chiropractic.
When asked to rate their satisfaction on a 10-point scale, 87 percent of patients in the study gave their chiropractor a level of eight or higher. What’s more, 56 percent of those patients rated their chiropractor with a perfect 10.
Contributing to that satisfaction was the attention given to patients’ needs and the accessibility of chiropractic care. Patients reported that doctors of chiropractic listened to them carefully and spent sufficient time with them. Some 95 percent said they had to wait no longer than one week for appointments.
The pilot, known as a “demonstration project” in Congress, was conducted from April 2005 to March 2007 throughout the states of Maine and New Mexico, and also in Scott County, Iowa, 26 counties comprising the Chicago metropolitan area, and 17 counties in central Virginia.
Current chiropractic coverage under Medicare is limited to spinal manipulation. Under the demonstration project, however, chiropractic care was expanded to include diagnostic and other services, such as x-rays, examinations, physical therapy and rehabilitation services.
The final report to Congress also includes information on the costs of expanding chiropractic services in the demonstration sites. The report indicates that in all but one of the demonstration sites, patients’ healthcare costs were not significantly changed by expanding coverage of chiropractic services. In contrast, a cost increase was found in the Chicago metropolitan area. Further research into the reasons why the results in Chicago differ from the rest of the demonstration project sites is needed to better understand these findings.
To further analyze the results of the demonstration project, ACA is creating a taskforce of Medicare experts and researchers who will review the report and develop a response for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.
To view the report online, click here.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org