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Business Publication Picks Up on Chiropractic Cost Savings

From the Nov. 22, 2004 Business Wire comes another in the long line of reports on a major study that has now shown that when chiropractic care is included in a health care plan, it reduces the cost of healthcare for those in the plan. The original study, published in the October 11th, 2004 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, was a 4 year review comparing more than 700 000 health plan members with an additional chiropractic coverage benefit and 1 million members of the same health plan without the chiropractic benefit.

The results of the study showed that members in the health plan with chiropractic insurance coverage, had lower annual total health care expenditures ($1463 vs. $1671 per member per year) compared with those without chiropractic coverage. The study also noted that having chiropractic coverage was associated with a 1.6% decrease in total annual health care costs at the health plan level.

The study and report also showed benefits in terms of utilization of health care services. For example the study noted that back pain patients with chiropractic coverage, compared with those without coverage, had lower utilization (per 1000 episodes) of plain film x-rays. Additionally, the average cost of a back pain episode in related costs was $289 for those in the plan with chiropractic compared to $399 for those in the plan without chiropractic coverage. The total savings to the health plan was estimated at $208 per member per year.

This latest report in Business Wire shows that the world of big business is attempting to reduce the cost of health care services and have begun to find that including chiropractic may provide a viable solution. The study was conducted by Health Benchmarks, a leading health care outcomes research organization that specializes in integrating complex sources of health care data to provide customized solutions that promote quality and value in health care.

Antonio P. Legorreta, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO, Health Benchmarks Inc, summed this up by stating, "The results of our study indicate that the addition of chiropractic coverage reduces overall health care expenditures." Dr. R. Douglas Metz, a co-author of the study noted,"Systematic access to managed chiropractic care not only may reduce overall health care costs but also may prove to be clinically beneficial." Dr. Metz went on to say, "these findings impact health care providers and payers."

Drs. Ness and Nisly wrote an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the Archives. In it they stated, “One of the study's greatest strengths clearly lies in the sheer magnitude of the sample investigated, resulting, to my knowledge, in one of the largest analyses ever performed on the economic impact of chiropractic."