24 Feb Legislation Aims to Include Chiropractic Care in Medicaid Benefits
Chiropractic care can be an integral part of a holistic, comprehensive wellness program for a wide variety of clients. At Integrated Pain Consultants, Dr. Dean Weinberg provides chiropractic treatment as an addition (and complement) to our wide variety of pain management treatment options. Chiropractors focus on the alignment of the spine, which can be at the source of many types of pain. The spine is intricate and in charge of bearing a large amount of weight. One misalignment, the degeneration or bulging of a disc, or a pinched nerve in the spine can cause chronic, debilitating pain.
The benefits of chiropractic care have been known for decades, with many patients relying on the expertise of a chiropractor and adjustments to regain mobility and resume their activities of daily living. Legislation in Arizona is finally catching on, and moves are being made to include chiropractic care as part of the Medicaid benefits. There’s still a long road ahead, but it’s a great step in the right direction in this new decade.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care
According to studies, if a patient starts to work with a chiropractor, they are much less likely to get a pain medication prescription. This is a central point in the likelihood of chiropractic care being added to Medicaid benefits. The opioid epidemic is still a pressing issue, with many people getting addicted to opioids and opiates—sometimes after just a few days of properly using their prescription pain medication.
Over-prescribing opioids, or prescribing them for chronic pain, has been leading to abuse of these dangerous drugs since the turn of the century. Although opioids can be an effective means of pain management, it’s only in certain circumstances. For example, someone who needs pain management for a few days after an invasive surgery might be a good candidate for opioids if they don’t have a history of abusing prescription or recreational drugs.
Otherwise, there are many other options for pain management if the pain isn’t as severe as a surgery recovery or if the pain is expected to last more than a few days. That’s why our clinic offers such a large suite of alternative therapies with no risk of dependency. These options have included chiropractic care since last year. Designing a customized plan for pain management can often include a few different approaches, and since chiropractic care is non-invasive and 100 percent based on manual manipulation of the spine along with elements of physical therapy and lifestyle changes, it’s an excellent complement to virtually any pain that involves the spine.
What to Expect from Chiropractic Care at the Legislative Level
Not only are patients who see a chiropractor less likely to be prescribed opioids, they’re also less likely to go to the ER. Although most health insurance companies cover alternative and conservative pain management treatments like chiropractic care, Arizona currently doesn’t reimburse chiropractic doctors. This means Arizona patients who depend on Medicaid don’t have their chiropractic care covered by their insurance plan.
Currently, the state’s legislature is planning to join the 25+ states that do cover at least some type of chiropractic care with Medicaid. The state proposed Senate Bill 1097, and it was already passed through the Senate. Arizona is joining many other states that understand chiropractic care is an important option for pain management and a key part of fighting the opioid crisis. According to the government’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, chiropractic care does “benefit some people with low-back pain and may also be helpful for headaches, neck pain, upper- and lower-extremity joint conditions, and whiplash-associated disorders.”
These benefits (and more) have already been established and known by chiropractors and their patients for years. It’s reflected in statistics, like the fact that adults seeing a chiropractor have increased from 9.1% to 10.3% from 2012 – 2017. If the bill passes, patients who use Medicaid will be allowed 20 annual chiropractic visits, and maybe more depending on the chiropractor’s recommendation. Since everyone is different, 20 visits are sufficient for a lot of people but not for every person (especially those with chronic conditions).
If you’re suffering from acute or chronic pain, seeing a chiropractor can be a fantastic next step in your pain management journey. Now, you don’t have to leave your favorite pain clinic to receive the best in chiropractic care. Contact Integrated Pain Consultants today at (480) 626-2552 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Weinberg.