Well­ness Arti­cles

Chi­ro­prac­tors Serv­ing as Pri­mary Care Providers Decrease Costs — Study Shows

When Chi­ro­prac­tors serve as Pri­mary Providers in health plans, these plans save sig­nif­i­cant amounts of money. This accord­ing to a new study pub­lished in the May 2007 issue of the Jour­nal of Manip­u­la­tive and Phys­i­o­log­i­cal Ther­a­peu­tics. The study, also reported on in the June 7, 2007 Earth​times​.org could have pro­found impli­ca­tions as the US pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns seem to be deal­ing more with the issues related to health care and ways to make a sys­tem of uni­ver­sal health care affordable.

Researchers com­pared the costs and clin­i­cal uti­liza­tion of mem­bers enrolled in a tra­di­tional health main­te­nance orga­ni­za­tion (HMO). The researchers reviewed data from those HMO mem­bers who had an inte­gra­tive CAM Inde­pen­dent Physi­cians Asso­ci­a­tion (IPA) and com­pared them with mem­bers who had a con­ven­tional med­ical IPA. In essence they look at the costs of those pro­grams where the pri­mary care physi­cians (PCPs) were exclu­sively doc­tors of chi­ro­prac­tic. The research, led by Richard Sar­nat, MD, not only com­pared costs but also looked at patient satisfaction.

The results showed that over a seven year period, patients who uti­lized chi­ro­prac­tors and other CAM-​oriented pri­mary care physi­cians had a 60.2% decrease in-​hospital admis­sions, 59.0% decrease in hos­pi­tal days, 62.0% less out­pa­tient surg­eries and pro­ce­dures, and an 85% decrease in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal costs when com­pared with the total net­work HMO uti­liza­tion rates and costs where med­ical physi­cians were the pri­mary physicians.

Coau­thor James Win­ter­stein, DC com­mented on the results by say­ing, “Our most recent analy­sis sup­ports ear­lier find­ings that patients vis­it­ing CAM (Com­pli­men­tary and Alter­na­tive Medicine)-orientated pri­mary care physi­cians (PCP) — pri­mar­ily chi­ro­prac­tors — expe­ri­enced fewer hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, under­went fewer surg­eries and used con­sid­er­ably fewer phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals than HMO patients who received tra­di­tional med­ical care.”

In addi­tion to costs sav­ings those enrollees who uti­lized chi­ro­prac­tic con­sis­tently reported a higher sat­is­fac­tion rat­ing with their HMO than those who did not have chi­ro­prac­tic. The study showed that the rates of patient sat­is­fac­tion ranged between 89% and 100% and that patients con­sis­tently rated their expe­ri­ences more pos­i­tively than did mem­bers enrolled within the HMO’s offer­ing only con­ven­tional med­ical care.

Dr. Win­ter­stein summed up the results and their impact by stat­ing, “This study con­firms that inte­gra­tion of allo­pathic, chi­ro­prac­tic and other com­pli­men­tary and alter­na­tive med­i­cine (CAM) providers can pos­i­tively impact patient qual­ity of care while lim­it­ing over­all costs. This approach to patient care has great poten­tial to improve the U.S. health­care system.”

Ran­dom Article

An inter­est­ing story appeared in the August 8, 2006 issue of the “For­rest Lake Times” from Min­nesota. In this story they report on

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