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Dr. Lipoff: Access to Chiropractic Services may Soon be Limited in Maryland
By Dr. Jay Lipoff
For years Doctors of Chiropractic have been treating patients for conditions like: headaches; whiplash; back pain; disc problems, sports injuries, sciatica, and with great success. Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic care is more clinically and cost effective than other commonly prescribed treatments. Further, scientific studies have shown that chiropractic patients report very high patient satisfaction. In a recent 2009 military study, patients reported a 94.2% satisfaction rate for chiropractic care, highest among all health care providers.
So what’s the problem? Dr. Jay Greenstein, a member of the Governor’s office for healthcare reform Essential Benefits Advisory Committee, has alerted me to the fact Maryland is contemplating new health care plans for the state, and current examples of those plans would limit your full access to clinically-proven and cost-effective chiropractic care.
Further, examples of plans being considered will drastically limit the number of chiropractic care treatments you could have per year, no matter how many episodes of neck or back pain, or any musculoskeletal problem, you were having.
It’s called the musculoskeletal system because the bones of the body are attached to muscles and they function together. Addressing one aspect, and not all, is like exercising and eating donuts to lose weight. It doesn’t work. According to the most recent scientific evidence, the spinal adjustment, which restores better body mechanics and reduce stress in the body, is highly supported by peer-reviewed studies on spinal conditions.
Yet, it is even more effective when combined with therapy applications like: heat; to reduce muscle spasm, ice; for reducing inflammation, electric stimulation to disrupt the pain cycle, deep tissue muscle work to break up scar tissue and trigger point knots, stretching to lengthen muscle fibers and increase flexibility, and an exercise program to help rehabilitate and strengthen the body so it stays healthy. All of these services are part of the doctor of chiropractic’s scope of practice and are performed regularly in our clinics to maximize treatment outcomes.
In some example plans shared with the committee, doctors of chiropractic would be restricted to only adjust, or manipulate the spine. While the adjustment is a critical and evidence-based treatment for spinal conditions, as stated earlier, the adjustment in conjunction with other treatments like soft tissue treatment and therapeutic exercise achieves the best clinical outcomes. Thus, there really is more to it than simply “cracking” the back.
So knowing that doctors of chiropractic are the most highly trained, and most experienced at providing spinal adjustments, imagine having back pain or a headache and being limited to receive only an adjustment from your doctor of chiropractic. Then, after getting your chiropractic adjustment, you would have to go elsewhere to receive any additional type of therapy. If you have to go to another facility for the same services your doctor of chiropractic can provide, then this not only drives up the cost of healthcare (e.g. each provider at the very least would have to do their own evaluation on you), but there is a huge inconvenience factor for patients.
Ensuring that patients can access the full scope of services that doctors of chiropractic can provide, and that the benefit is in line with the prevalence of musculoskeletal problems (ie patients have enough covered visits to get the care they need), will ensure better clinical outcomes, at a lower cost, to the patient and the healthcare system at large.
The public needs to take action to ensure that the benchmark plans would provide full scope and quality of a chiropractic care benefit. In addition, the example benchmark plans being considered may not only decide to limit your quality of care, but your quantity as well.
I’m from NY and when I practiced the state decided to adopt managed care so an insurance company’s paid employee could decide your fate. They would allow 5 treatments for a disc bulge with sciatica, which research clearly shows a minimum of 12 were necessary before performing other tests and films. I soon referred to this insurance and patient care nightmare as “Mangled Care.” It was unreasonable, ineffective and delayed patient recovery.
Dr Greenstein states, “I have seen some terribly restricted plans limiting chiropractic services being considered at this time.”
Maryland citizens, you need to speak up or the government will take control of your health care. What’s next, they tell us what TV programs we have to watch? Maybe your Medical doctor will only be allowed to write prescriptions for 5 medications so you better hope your condition falls under that medicine.
If you agree and have benefited from the care your doctor of chiropractic has provided, take a few seconds and tell the Governor what you think. Tell him you want reasonable and appropriate access to the benefits chiropractic has provided you to continue. Let your voice be heard! http://signon.org/sign/appropriate-chiropractic?source=c.em.mt&r_by=1197014
Also, please forward this on to as many people you know. It is only with action from the public, that our voices will be heard and our health protected.
Special thanks to Dr. Jay Greenstein for his help with providing information regarding this public health issue.
Dr. Jay M. Lipoff is the owner of Back At Your Best Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, LLC, which is located in the Wildewood Shopping Center. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1990, a Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) in 1994 and he became a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) in 2005.
Dr. Lipoff is an Executive Board Member, International Chiropractic Association Council on Fitness and Sports Health Science; has a radio segment: Back At Your Best in 5 Minutes or Less, Co-Founder, Drug Free Training USA; Member, NY Strength-promoting the importance of physical conditioning; Board Member of Public Relations Committee, Maryland Chiropractic Association; has done over 15 nationally broadcasted radio interviews, has articles in print and referenced in over 100 print papers, magazine and on websites, President, Wildewood Business Network-promoting better business relations and community outreach.
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