The Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic

From:  
Testimony to the Department of Veterans Affairs' Chiropractic Advisory Committee
George B. McClelland, D.C., Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research ~ March 25, 2003

In the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, despite the fact that most studies have not properly factored in such patient characteristics as severity and chronicity and lack the complete assessment of all direct costs and most indirect costs, the bulk of articles reviewed demonstrate lower costs for chiropractic. [9]   This pattern is consistently observed from the perspectives of workers' compensation studies, [10],   [11],   [12],   [13],   [14],   [15] databases from insurers, [16],   [17],   [18],   or the analysis of a health economist employed by the provincial government of Ontario. [19],   [20].   Other studies have suggested the opposite [that chiropractic services are more expensive than medical], [5],   [21],   [22]   but these contain significant flaws which have been refuted. [23]

The cost advantages for chiropractic for matched conditions appear to be so dramatic that Pran Manga, the aforementioned Canadian health economist, has concluded that doubling the utilization of chiropractic services from 10% to 20% may realize savings as much as $770 million in direct costs and $3.8 billion in indirect costs. [20] When iatrogenic effects [yet to be discussed] are factored in, the cost advantages of spinal manipulation as a treatment alternative become even more prominent. In one study, for instance, it was shown that for managing disc herniations, the cost of treatment failures following a medical course of treatment [chymopapain injections] averaged 300 British pounds per patient, while there were no such costs following spinal manipulation. [24],   Imagine how failed back surgery might compare. Finally, in no cost studies to date have legal burdens been calculated, which one would expect should be heavily advantageous for chiropractic health management.

From:   Testimony to the Department of Veterans Affairs' Chiropractic Advisory Committee

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