House Introduces Bill to Expand Chiropractic Access to Military Retirees, Families
A bill introduced last week in the House of Representatives would expand access to chiropractic services to military retirees, dependents and survivors through the Department of Defense TRICARE health program.
The legislation (H.R. 4973), introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), would not only enable those who currently receive chiropractic care to continue their treatment but would also establish, in the wake of the nationwide opioid crisis, an important non-drug option for pain management in the program.
Ready for Duty with Chiropractic
“Chiropractors have become valued members of the military health-care team. Their non-drug, non-addictive and noninvasive approach to pain management has proven effective in helping members of the military to recover from injuries, manage chronic pain and enhance their readiness for duty,” said American Chiropractic Association (ACA) President David Herd, DC. “This bill would ensure that military retirees and military family members have access to the same quality care.”
Chiropractors can lead the way in pain management. Chiropractic services were first made available to active-duty military personnel following the enactment in 2000 of legislation to create a permanent chiropractic benefit within the Department of Defense health-care system. As part of the pilot program before full implementation, retirees, dependents and survivors were also granted access to chiropractic services on a space-available basis. At the time, it was found that the benefit was valued within the TRICARE community.
Serving Those Who Serve
“As the parent of Marine children, I firmly believe we owe our service members and their families the best quality healthcare available, which is why I am proud to help introduce this bill,” said Rep. Loebsack. “By passing this legislation, we can extend chiropractic care coverage to military retirees, their dependents and survivors. By providing services including diagnosis, evaluation, and management and ongoing treatment of back, neck and joint pains, these folks have access to a non-drug option for pain relief.”
After four years of active duty, Bryce Amdur was medically discharged with permanent disability status because of a severe neck injury. Bryce had so much pain there were days he couldn’t walk. Through Palmer’s Military Care Program, Bryce received chiropractic care that not only eased his pain but restored much of his mobility. Even though Bryce’s neck injury is permanent, with chiropractic, Bryce has regained his health and is even able to compete in Spartan racing.
Sharon Gilmore is a military Veteran who injured her back during deployment in the Middle East. She was medically discharged in 2015. A friend convinced her to try chiropractic. It helped. “I can honestly say my life is much better now that I’m getting adjusted. I know now adjusting is a way of life for me.” But it wasn’t just relief from neck and back pain she experienced.
“I deal with anxiety and depression,” she says. “But since I’ve been coming to Palmer and getting adjusted, and going to the gym and working out, I can honestly say it helps me manage my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) a whole lot better.”
Sharon and Bryce are patients at the Palmer Chiropractic Clinics through our Military Care Program. Since 2008, more than $3.3 million of complimentary care has been provided to qualified active-duty personnel, Veterans and their legal dependents. No other program of its kind exists in the nation and without it, Sharon and Bryce would not have access to chiropractic care, because it’s not currently covered by TRICARE. “One of Palmer Clinics priorities is to increase awareness about chiropractic effectiveness and access for military personnel, veterans, retirees and their families.” Said Ron Boesch, D.C., executive dean of the Palmer Chiropractic Clinics. “The inclusion of chiropractic services by TRICARE expands the treatment potential, allowing chiropractors to provide care that is both needed and in demand.”
A Brighter Future
If this bill becomes law, our military, retirees, Veterans like Sharon and Bryce and their families will finally have access to chiropractic similar to that of most other insured Americans. It’s a move in the right direction, and Palmer College joins the ACA in supporting this bill.
Palmer College is dedicated to serving our military by:
- Continuing our commitment to on-going research demonstrating chiropractic’s clinical effectiveness for the musculoskeletal needs of today’s military
- Contributing expertise and resources to improve access to chiropractic care for every active duty soldier, Veteran and dependent who seeks it
- Advocating for chiropractic health parity for our military, Veterans and their families.
- Encouraging the integration of doctors of chiropractic at all VA health-care facilities and military bases worldwide
For more information about all the ways Palmer supports our military, visit http://www.palmer.edu/about-us/committed-to-our-military/ .