Merolla Chiropractic

100 Bedford Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
508-996-6781
 

 




The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan, which is an HMO, has come up with some eye-popping guidelines (at least to chiropractors), for the treatment of chronic back pain.  

According to this Pennsylvania based insurance company, you cannot have surgery for chronic back pain without trying three months of non-invasive care like chiropractic. 

The exact quote is that a person must have "tried and failed a 3-month course of conservative management that included physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and medication."   Link:  http://www.upmchealthplan.com/pdf/PandP/MP.043.pdf

Yes!

Chiropractors have only been saying this since forever and it is a great start at overhauling our healthcare system. 

But the powers that be may certainly put up some resistance. There is quite a bit of money to be made on spinal surgery.  Let me throw up some numbers I’ve come across:

Anterior cervical (neck) fusion costs $44,000, cervical (neck) fusion: $19,850, decompression back surgery: $24,000, lumbar (back) laminectomy: $18,000, and lumbar spinal fusion: $34,500.

Decreasing the money spent on surgery could certainly get the attention of surgeons.  And they may not be happy.

Just ask Dr. David Spodick, a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts.  He stated in the book Medical Dissent, “Surgery is the sacred cow of our health-care system and surgeons are the sacred cowboys who milk it.”

Still don’t believe me?  Let’s travel back to 1994 when the journal Spine published an international comparison of back surgery rates.  There conclusion: back surgery in the United States was at least 40% higher than in any other country and back surgery rates went up in the United States in areas where there were more neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons.  Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8073310.

I know what you’re thinking; surely our health care system is interested in working with chiropractors for the better outcome of their patients.

Well, consider this.  In December of last year, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress was turned down by the American Medical Association when they tried to place an ad in their journal Archives of Internal Medicine.  At the same time they were turned down by American Academy of Family Physicians for the same ad being placed in their journal American Family Physician. 

What did the ad say?  Basically, let’s all work together for our patient’s.  Here’s a link to the actual ad so you can judge for yourself:  http://www.foundation4cp.com

The bottom line at this point, change is coming, but perhaps a little too late for some back surgery patients.

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