by American Chiropractic Associattion | 5/25/2007 2:55:57 PM
America’s veterans are one step closer to gaining expanded access to chiropractic services after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on May 23 that includes a provision to expedite expansion of the chiropractic benefit through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. The bill was approved 421:1.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) lobbied successfully for passage of the bill, HR 1470, which requires the VA to have a chiropractor on staff at no fewer than 75 major VA medical centers before the end of 2009 and for all major VA medical centers to have a chiropractor on staff before the end of 2011.
“I am proud that ACA and ACC spearheaded the advocacy efforts in support of HR 1470,” said ACA President Dr. Richard Brassard. “The health and well-being of our nation’s veterans is one of America's most important obligations. This legislation builds and expands on ACA’s previous work with Congress and will greatly improve the availability of chiropractic care to veterans young and old.”
Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.), a strong supporter of extending chiropractic care benefits to military retirees as well as active-duty personnel, worked closely with the ACA in securing support for the legislation. As Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Rep. Filner’s leadership was essential to securing House passage of the bill.
According to remarks contained in the March 12, 2007, Congressional Record, Rep. Filner said that when writing the legislation he worked closely with “chiropractic patients, particularly our veterans, who know the benefits of chiropractic care and bear witness to the positive outcomes and preventative health benefits of chiropractic.”
“I also was pleased to work with the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the nation’s largest chiropractic organization and the national voice of doctors of chiropractic and their patients,” Rep. Filner said.
Through previous congressional action, chiropractic care is now available at 30 VA facilities across the country; however, in the more than 120 facilities without a chiropractor on staff, the chiropractic care benefit that Congress authorized for America’s veterans remains virtually non-existent. Detroit, Denver, and Chicago are a few examples of major metropolitan areas without a doctor of chiropractic available at the local VA facility.
ACA leaders believe that integrating chiropractic treatment into the VA health care system would not only be cost-effective, it would also speed the recovery of many of the veterans returning from current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2006 report from the Veterans Health Administration indicates that nearly 42 percent of veterans returning from the Middle East and Southwest Asia who have sought VA health care were treated for symptoms associated with musculoskeletal ailments – the top malady of those tracked for the report.
HR 1470 is now headed to the Senate for consideration.