High Satisfaction and Large Cost Savings; What More Do Patients and Third Parties Want?

“I’m a big believer in Chiropractic”, says Profession William Lauerman, Chief of Spine Surgery at Georgetown University in Washington DC, in a recent article in the Washington Post. The July 17 article is by writer Buzz McClain, who was referred by his neurologist for successful chiropractic treatment for a chronic neck and shoulder pain problem following three surgeries.

The trigger for the article, however, is a new study from Chicago, that reports on seven years of data from Blue Cross/Blue Shield Illinois’ Chicago-based health maintenance organization, the largest in the state with over 600.000 enrolled members or patients.

The HMO has the usual independent provider associations (IPA’s), where medical doctors are the gatekeepers or primary care providers (PCPs), but another IPA in which doctors of chiropractic and CAM (Complementary Alternative Medicine) oriented MDs are the PCPs.
Over a 7 year period, and in comparison with the conventional medicine, the CAM-oriented IPA reported:

  • Reductions of 60.2% in hospital admissions,
  • 59% in hospital days,
  • 62% in outpatient surgeries and procedures,
  • A remarkable 85% in pharmaceutical costs,
  • Consistently higher patient satisfaction rates.

What more do patients and payors want?
Typically initial treatments costs are higher but are recovered many times over by the reduced diagnostic, pharmaceutical, surgical and hospital costs.

There is now considerable evidence – briefly noted below, that medical and chiropractic and other complementary care can be integrated to produce better and more satisfying results for patients and significant cost savings.

– McClain B (2007) Mainstream Makes Adjustments, Washington Post, July 17, 2007: HEO1.
– Sarnat RI, Winterstein J, Cambron J (2007) Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes from an Integrative Medicine Independent Physician Association: An Additional 3-Year Update, J. Manipulative Physiol Ther 30: 263-269.
– Sarnat RI, Winterstein J (2004) Clinical and Cast Outcomes of an Integrative Medicine IPA J. Manipulative Physiol Ther 27:336-347.
– Metz RD, Nelson CF et al. (2004) Chiropractic Care: Is It Substitution Care or Add-on Care in Corporate Medical Plans? JOED 46:847-855.
– Johnson RE, Jones GT et al. (2007) Active Exercise, Education, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Persistent Disabling Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Spine 32 (15):1578-1588.Want?

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