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Benefits of Chiropractic - Lesson three
The Following was written by Dr. Timothy Weimer DC
and his staff.  The article appeared
in the Modesto Bee.

What Health Insurance tells us
About Better Health

By Dr. Jerry W. Weimer MS, ED D and
Dr. Timothy J Weimer BS, DC

Health insurance companies are considered the villains in American health care.  Premiums are unreachable for most and insurance coverage is often denied.  So when are the interests of health insurance companies the same as our own?  Insurance companies and health care consumers have a common interest in the promotion of health and the reduction of health care costs.  Fifteen years ago, federal research dollars started to flow to non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical treatments in health care because projections indicated that the American people would continue their dependence on drugs and surgery and America would continue to produce an overpriced and ineffective health care system.  Most agree this prediction has come true; one of the primary causes of bankruptcies in the United States is caused by medical and hospital bills. A March 2009 article in the Boston Herald indicated the United States spent 2.4 trillion dollars for health care in the last year.  With all that we spend on health care, we Americans are less healthy today that any other time in our history.  It has become a rarity for a 50-year-old male not to be on multiple medications.  Death by prescription medication has become the third leading cause of death in America.  Has our over dependence on medications evolved into a major contributor to our broken healthcare system?  The following describes what health insurance studies tell us about improving our health care system.

How can consumers improve the effectiveness of health care?
In a study conducted by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, non-treatable visits were identified as a costly problem when a patient with back pain is managed in the MD control model.  A non-treatable visit is an appointment with a Doctor who performs a test, then sends the patient on to another specialist.  They report a typical case is a three to four week period that begins with a visit to an MD, pain mediation from the Pharmacist, and a referral back to the MD.  If the case appears complex, an expensive CAT scan is ordered and sometimes exercise visits with an physical therapist are recommended.  The number of treatable visits is often as low as twenty to thirty percent.  These visits are often followed by a plan for back surgery if the MD model does not resolve the problem.

Blue Cross / Blue Shield reported the advantage of a patient controlled model is the full availability to see a Doctor of Chiropractic or a Medical Doctor at the patient's discretion. Many times a patient will use their insurance or Medicare to get a full exam from a Chiropractic Doctor and a full exam from a Medical Doctor to consider all the treatment options.  A treatable visit usually occurs the day of or the day after the chiropractic exam. The earlier treatment often results in pain reduction before medications and the side effects that come with them are considered.  This Chiropractic and Medical wellness model boasts some amazing numbers.
1. 62% reduction in surgery costs
2. 85% reduction in drug costs
3. 59% reduction in hospital days
4. 60% reduction is hospital admissions
The overwhelming result is greater patient satisfaction with chiropractic care and their healthcare in general.  

What does the Optum Care/PacifiCare Report tell us?
Optum Care is the chiropractic provider of PacifiCare Insurance.  Their website referred to a recent Consumer Reports Magazine article that ranked chiropractic care ahead of all conventional treatments for back pain, including prescription drugs.  Their report indicates, "There is steadily increasing patient use of chiropractic in the United States, which has tripled in the past two decades."  At any particular time, about eighty percent of the United States population suffers from some form of back pain.  Chiropractic clinical support can offer a greater than a four-dollar return for each dollar invested in chiropractic care. The effectiveness and increased popularity of Doctors of Chiropractic are the major factor in federal, state and insurance mandates that consider Chiropractors first visit providers.  No referral is needed to visit a Doctor of Chiropractic.  The insurance co-pay for a Doctor of Chiropractic visit is usually less.  With same day or next day scheduling available from Chiropractic Clinics an earlier diagnosis is often the difference between an active lifestyle and a condition that leads to increased pain and lower mobility.

Does the UCLA study concur with the previous reports?
Gone are the days when Chiropractic care can be considered non-scientific.  The Chiropractic profession leads the medical field in the study of conservative treatments for lower back pain.  Dr. Paul Shekelle, MD reported that Chiropractic care is the most commonly used conservative treatment for back pain supported by research evidence in terms of early results and long-term effectiveness. The study went on to say Doctors of Chiropractic treated twice as many back pain patients as Medical Doctors at 30% of the cost.  The MEDSTAT project lead by Dr. Miran Stano, PhD, a professor and health care economist, reported the detailed healthcare cost of nearly 400,000 patients.  The results indicated that patients who had the highest total cost were those who had no chiropractic insurance coverage.  He went on to say broader coverage of chiropractic services resulted in dramatically lower health care cost as follows.
1. 35% lower hospital admissions rates  
2. 42% lower inpatient payments  
3. 23% lower total health care costs.
The UCLA study concluded, "It doesn't take a scientist to see that chiropractic care is no longer an alternate treatment method, but instead a vital part of the healthcare system."

The NBC Evening News recently reported that back pain cost the United States 90 billion dollars during the last year. Imagine reducing this cost by a conservative estimate of 23 percent!   Wellness models may be applied to other medical conditions for even greater savings.  Obama's stimulus package of 700 million dollars brought opposition because of its high cost.  The cost of 2.4 trillion per year must be reduced by 20-40 percent by health care reform.  The President of the American Association of Retired Persons stated that Health care Reform is the key to personal financial stability and fiscal stability of the country;… We cannot fix the economy without affordable accessible health care.  Health care reform based on proven wellness models must produce a stronger economy, a more effective health care system and a healthier America.

About the authors.
Dr. Jerry W. Weimer MS, ED D taught Biology and Computer Science at Beyer High School and supervises student teachers for Chapman University.  Dr. Weimer held the position of Director of Education and Wellness at Mckennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.

 Dr. Timothy J. Weimer BS, DC is owner and operator of Weimer Chiropractic at 2813 Coffee Road in Modesto.  He helps his patients with shoulder, knee, back, headache and balance problems.  Dr. Weimer specializes in Structural Chiropractic and Chiropractic Neurology.  He the only Doctor in Modesto to become a Board Eligible Diplomate in Chiropractic Neurology.  This is qualified him to monitor the neurological and pain recovery effects of the adjustment  to treat brain based and spinal balance issues. For more information see Services and Treatments in the About us section of this website.
The authors ask readers to evaluate the factual and editorial content of this article and does not endorse or prefer a particular type of health care.   

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