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J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):118-22.

Economic case for the integration of chiropractic services into the health care system.

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Masters Program in Health Administration, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The role and position of chiropractic care in the health care system must be transformed from being alternative and separate to alternative and mainstream. This transformation requires that chiropractic services become integrated in the many health care delivery organizations that collectively constitute the health care system. There is solid and impressive economic and related justification for the desired integration. Chiropractic care is a cost-effective alternative to the management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions by other professions. It is also safer and increasingly accepted by the public, as reflected in the growing use and high patient retention rates. There is much and repeated evidence that patients prefer chiropractic care over other forms of care for the more common musculoskeletal conditions. The public interest will be well served by this transformation. Musculoskeletal disorders and injuries are the second and third most costly categories of health problems in economic burden-of-illness studies. They rank first as a cause in the prevalence of chronic health problems and long-term disability and rank at the top for activity limitations and short-term disability. They rank first as a reason for consultation with a health professional and second as a reason for the use of prescription and nonprescription drugs. These conditions are more prevalent among the poor, lower-middle income groups, and the elderly, yet those are precisely the groups that make the least use of chiropractic care for reasons of inadequate insurance coverage. The integration of chiropractic care into the health care system should serve to reduce health care costs, improve accessibility to needed care, and improve health outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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