Reducing the cost of health care with chiropractic treatment

Every year, the American people spend about $400 billion alone on pain treatment. Bulk of this cost is spent in treating neck and back pain, something that most Americans would experience. Instead of spending on hefty pain treatments, the good news is that there are now better alternatives. According to the American College of Physicians, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment are some of the most effective alternatives. In the healthcare market, medical licensing laws have significant impacts. A study conducted by experts at George Mason University-Mercatus Center, medical licensing laws were examined and they found out that these licensing laws as well as the specifications of tasks that people in the medical field are allowed to perform have impacts on the market.

Nowadays, the scope of practice of chiropractors has widened thereby resulting to an 8.6% increase in their income. This is attributed to the fact that there are now a lot of patients who are comfortable with the idea of seeking chiropractic services. The cost of paying a visit to a physician is less than the cost of seeking the professional help of a chiropractor which only means that patients can enjoy 35% less on cost.

Although there are now more affordable options, many Americans still see their family physicians? There are varying reasons attributed to this from personal preference to lack of awareness of the different alternatives. Physicians tend to prescribe patients to undergo invasive procedures and treatments like medication and surgery while physical therapists and chiropractors are less likely to do it. And since they prescribe such treatments, patients can also expect a much more expensive costs not to mention that there are cases where these treatments pose risk and it is not even clear if these treatments are really needed.

Before the 1990s, chiropractors were not allowed to conduct phlebotomy or blood drawing and this alone may have affected how patients see chiropractors. With chiropractors not allowed to conduct such roust medical test, it affected patients’ confidence in so many ways. Patients had to see a physician first before they’re allowed to go to a physical therapist. Only three states including Maryland, Nebraska and California allow patients to have access to physical therapists without having to seek physicians first. This alone prevents the patients to seek alternative options as many did not have any choice but to visit physicians not knowing that there are much cheaper healthcare alternatives. In the mid-1990s, seven states allowed chiropractors to perform phlebotomy. Today, the good news is that patients can now have access to physical therapists although there are still limitations.

Chiropractors have broader scope of practice and this has positive impacts on the healthcare market. Depending on the preference of the patient, some may seek physical therapists while others would opt to go to physicians. There are instances where medication and undergoing surgery are the viable options of back and neck pan. But in most cases, patients do not necessarily have to undergo such costly treatments especially when chiropractors as well as physical therapists can provide effective and cheaper options.

But since physicians have broader scope and the fact that they’re well-established with their medical licensing boards, in a way they can have monopoly power thereby reducing the choice of consumer to seek other alternatives. One of the best ways to reduce healthcare cost is to widen the scope of practice of both physical therapists and chiropractors in such a way that enables patients to have direct access to the services they provide.

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