The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) commend Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) for introducing legislation in the U.S. Senate designed to fully integrate chiropractic care as a covered service within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system.
The bill, S.1147, specifically requires the VA to have a doctor of chiropractic on staff at all of its major medical facilities by 2014. The legislation was introduced on June 6, and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.
ACA believes that integrating the services provided by doctors of chiropractic into the VA health care system would be cost-effective and speed the recovery of many veterans returning from current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A February 2010 report from the Veterans Health Administration indicates that about half of all veterans returning from the Middle East and Southwest Asia who have sought VA health care were treated for symptoms associated with musculoskeletal ailments – the top complaint of those tracked for the report.
"ACA and ACC applaud the work of Sen. Blumenthal as he continues to advance causes that positively impact our nation’s veterans," said ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. “America’s heroes are suffering from chronic, disabling pain, and yet many remain unable to access the beneficial care provided by doctors of chiropractic. I hope that Congress will act in our veterans’ best interest and pass this important legislation.”
"We are extremely grateful to Sen. Blumenthal for his sponsorship of this critically important legislation that will allow doctors of chiropractic to expand their vital services to our nation's veterans within the VA health care system," said ACC President Richard Brassard, DC. "A long list of studies, including a recent study from Johns Hopkins University, have reinforced that musculoskeletal injuries are the primary threat to our active-duty military. This legislation will help ensure that we have enough doctors of chiropractic in place within the VA health care network to serve these soldiers and provide them with the care that they have earned and deserve when they finally come home as veterans."
Sen. Blumenthal is a recognized champion for veterans throughout the country. He served with the United States Marine Corps Reserves and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.
A companion bill, H.R. 329, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in February by Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.). Through previous congressional action, chiropractic care is now available at more than 40 VA facilities across the country; however, in the more than 100 major facilities without a doctor of chiropractic on staff, the chiropractic care benefit Congress authorized for America’s veterans remains virtually non-existent. Detroit, Denver and Chicago are examples of major metropolitan areas without a doctor of chiropractic available at the local VA medical facility. According to John Falardeau, ACA’s vice president of Government Relations, without a congressional directive, further expansion to VA facilities will be on a case-by-case basis and will experience significant delays.
To view the full text of S.1147, click here, then contact your Senators and urge them to cosponsor the bill. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact [email protected].
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of patient care and ethics, and supports research that contributes to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit www.acatoday.org.