Office Reviews Chiropractic Availability for US Service
On September 6, 2005 the U.S. Government Accountability
Office (GAO) released a letter reporting on the US
Department of Defense (DoD) implementation of
chiropractic benefits to active duty military personnel.
In 2001 Congress passed the National Defense
Reauthorization Act requiring the US Department of
Defense to create and implement a plan to make the
chiropractic benefit available to all active duty
service members in the U.S. military.
According to the GAO report they examined relevant
legislation, statutes, and reports containing
congressional directives to DOD for establishing and
enhancing the chiropractic benefit as well as those
directing earlier chiropractic demonstration projects.
The report showed that the Department of Defense has
initiated implementation, but has no plans at present of
making Chiropractic care available as a benefit to "all
active duty service members" as required by the law.
The report did show that of the 238 military treatment
facilities throughout the world, the DoD has opened only
42 chiropractic clinics. The report also noted that of
the 1.8 million active-duty service members, only 54
percent, or 969,000, live in the areas served by these
military treatment facilities that now have chiropractic
Over the past several years, the demand for chiropractic
care in the military has been growing. Previous to this
program, service personnel seeking chiropractic care
would be forced to pay for the service themselves.
According to the report the Chiropractic facilities have
been established in military treatment facilities in
areas in the U.S. with large active-duty populations.
The majority of the chiropractic clinics are in the
Army, which has 17. The Air Force also houses 14 while
the Navy maintains 11.
Although making chiropractic care available to active
duty military is a good start, the report did note that
a sizeable portion of the active military would not have
chiropractic readily available. Nineteen percent of
active-duty service members reside in remote or overseas
areas where no chiropractic will be available. However,
an additional 28 percent of active-duty personnel live
in areas of the U.S. served by military treatment
facilities that do not have chiropractic clinics. In
response the DoD stated in a letter that military
personnel residing in remote and overseas locations or
in locations that are not near a military treatment
facility with a chiropractic clinic can travel, if
necessary, to receive the benefit,”