Benefits Marketing Assoc for permission to reproduce this article!
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 12, 2004-- Employers
who offer chiropractic health plan benefits to their employees can realize
significant reductions in employee utilization and overall treatment costs for
back pain as compared to employers who do not offer such coverage, according to
a new study published in the October issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
This is the first study to definitively link chiropractic benefits to reductions
in healthcare utilization and costs.
study concluded that employees with chiropractic health plan coverage, as
compared to those without, incurred a 41 percent reduction in hospitalizations
for back pain and a 32 percent reduction in back surgeries. In addition, the
study showed that those with chiropractic health plan coverage incurred a 37
percent reduction in the use of highly expensive CT/MRI scans for back problems
and a 23 percent reduction in the use of x-rays. Overall, the cost per episode
of treating back pain was 28 percent less for employees with chiropractic health
plan coverage than for those without coverage.
study, sponsored by American Specialty Health (ASH) of San Diego and conducted
by independent health services research organization Health Benchmarks Inc., is
the largest ever done comparing back treatment costs for individuals with and
without chiropractic health plan coverage. Covering four-years of retrospective
claims data, the study compared over 700,000 health plan members with
chiropractic coverage to 1 million members of the same health plan who had no
to this no study had ever linked chiropractic benefits to lower utilization
levels in a real-world employee setting," said co-investigator Douglas
Metz, D.C., chief health services officer for American Specialty Health.
"Our study shows that systematic access to managed chiropractic care may
prove to be not only clinically beneficial but can reduce key cost factors that
drive up employer health costs in traditional care settings.
key reason for the reduction in overall healthcare expenses is that most
chiropractic care is a direct substitution for more expensive medical care,
according to other study findings which we published in the August issue of the
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine," added Dr. Metz.
"In short, use of chiropractic care does not result in additional resource
utilization to the healthcare system."
study demonstrates that chiropractic coverage can be a powerful cost containment
tool for employers and health plans that are struggling to keep the lid on
escalating costs," said George DeVries, president and chief executive
officer of American Specialty Health.
the United States back pain is the second leading cause for physician visits and
is second only to childbirth for hospitalizations. It is also the most prevalent
chronic medical condition and the number one cause of long-term disability. Back
pain, headache, arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders combine to cost
employers $61 billion per year in lost productive time alone, according to a
2003 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
About American Specialty Health
is the nation's leading specialty benefits organization for complementary
healthcare, providing health benefit, health education and affinity network
programs to employer groups, trust funds, health plans and insurance carriers
nationwide. Based in San Diego, California, ASH has over 500 employees and more
than 9 million members in benefit programs nationwide. Its subsidiary, ASH
Insurance, is currently licensed or admitted as an insurer in 42 states and the
District of Columbia. For more information about American Specialty Health,