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Medicare Pilot Project Expands Coverage for Chiropractic Care

The Dec. 13, 2004 issue of the American Medical News reports that Medicare will be expanding coverage for chiropractic services in a pilot study. The report notes that starting next spring, certain Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin paying licensed chiropractors for services beyond what was previously termed, "manual manipulation of the spine to correct subluxations".

The demonstration project was put into effect in a bill that passed last year known as the Medicare Reform Act. Because of this pilot project certain chiropractors in Illinois, Maine, New Mexico and Virginia will be able to provide reimbursable care in areas previously not covered, such as diagnostic services, x-rays and physical therapy.

Dr. Rick Miller, a lobbyist and consultant with the American Chiropractic Association stated that this pilot program will show the benefits of chiropractic care. He noted, "We believe that if you take a cohort of patients that exhibit the same type of symptoms and you look at episodes of care, patient satisfaction will be higher and global costs will be lower for the chiropractic services."

The timetable for the implementation of this program is in the spring of 2005.