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MILITARY CORNER

The F4CP launched its Military Corner to provide educational information about chiropractic care and the military. Military Corner provides in-depth and topical information including current care integration at military health facilities, policy and accessing rights, DOD/VA news, and the latest developments regarding chiropractic and the military. Additionally, guidelines are provided for both veterans and doctors of chiropractic about referrals, gaining access to care, even if initially denied, and how to help further care integration or attain employment within military health facilities.

INTEGRATION

Integration of Chiropractic Care and VA/Military Facilities
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Department of Defense (DOD)

In recent years, in recognition of the value and benefits of chiropractic care, Congress has passed, and the President has signed into law, legislation establishing a permanent chiropractic care benefit for both active duty military personnel and veterans. Furthermore, a doctor of chiropractic is now stationed in the U.S. Capitol to provide necessary care to members of Congress

To date, there is a doctor of chiropractic at 60 military bases around the country; however, according to a 2005 Government Accountability Office report, only 54 percent of servicemen and women eligible for chiropractic care can reasonably access the benefit. It is still necessary more is done to increase chiropractic access and availability.

Chiropractic Clinics in DOD Facilities

Veterans’ Affairs

A Department of Veterans Affairs policy enforces that veterans have access to chiropractic care. How this service becomes available will depend on the availability of a chiropractic doctor on staff. If a chiropractor isn’t on staff, a veteran can ask for a referral to a chiropractic doctor outside the system. While a referral from a physician is necessary the veteran has certain appeal rights.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has initiated the process of providing veterans with access to chiropractic care by placing chiropractic doctors on staff at VA hospitals.

The VA now provides chiropractic care (via hired or contracted staff) at approximately 40 major VA treatment facilities within the United States. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of America’s veterans still do not have access to chiropractic care because the VA has taken no action to provide chiropractic care at approximately 120 of its major medical facilities.

Chiropractic Clinics in VA Facilities

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VETERANS’ RIGHTS

Learning About a Veterans’ Rights Chiropractic services are part of the standard medical benefits package available to all veterans. 1. By having an on-site chiropractic clinic 2. By sending veterans to a private chiropractor using the “fee-basis” approach where the VA pays the bill Currently there are 40 VA facilities with chiropractic clinics. Over the past years thousands of veterans have received chiropractic care at VA clinics as well as through the fee-basis procedure Many VA primary care providers are routinely discussing chiropractic care as an option with their patients. If your PCP has not discussed this with you, bring it up and explain why you think chiropractic treatment can be a good option for your particular problem.

Download the official VA document designed for patients interested in exploring chiropractic treatment. This document is to be shared with healthcare providers in the field and/or at the medical site. The following are reasons to consider chiropractic treatment, and some of these may apply to you: I have tried it before and it worked for me I have a friend or relative with similar problems and chiropractic care helped them I prefer to avoid unnecessary pain medication for my problem Chiropractic treatments such as spinal manipulation have as much scientific evidence as NSAIDs, opiods, muscle relaxants and exercise for managing back pain Chiropractic treatments such as spinal manipulation are part of current VA/DoD guidelines on treating back pain Remember that chiropractic services are part of your standard VA benefits and no VA facility can tell you that they “do not provide” chiropractic care. Some veterans have found that their VA is very reluctant to send them for fee-basis chiropractic care, and have required that they jump through many hoops to get a referral for chiropractic. This is against VA policy and does not go along with VA’s own stated mission to be “veteran-centered.” You should be very concerned if your PCP refers you for fee-basis chiropractic care and someone else at the facility denies that referral. If you suspect that you were unfairly denied chiropractic care you should make a complaint with the patient advocate at your facility. If that is not successful you should bring it to the attention of a VSO such as VFW, Wounded Warrior Project or others. The more veterans that make this known, the more likely it is that positive change will occur. The VA determines healthcare eligibility based on a number of factors, including the type and extent of military injuries, military service and a Veteran’s financial status

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