Research: How Does Chiropractic Fit Into The Medicare Population?

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Medicare is something of an enigma for Doctors of Chiropractic. Here’s why: they have decided to reimburse chiropractors at a higher rate than normal as of 2015 so we’re obviously being effective, being efficient, saving the Medicare money, and over-acheiving in general. However, they still only pay for adjustments.

  • No therapy. 
  • No rehab. 
  • No exams. 
  • No x-rays. 

Yet, they expect chiropractors to perform some of these when indicated. Now why would a chiropractor be a bit apprehensive about performing these on Medicare patients when we know that the patient will be forced to pay for them out of pocket? Well, because we chiropractors know full well that many, if not most, Medicare patients are on a fixed income and have a difficult time affording such care.

So, then why not just do the code and not charge the patient for the service? Because Medicare was cool enough to throw in a little law that says chiropractors cannot offer any Medicare patient a free service under threat of Federal penalty. It would be viewed as an inducement.

That’s a little unfair in my book. Now, off of my soapbox and on to the research.


The authors were interested in how chiropractic compares to the more traditional medical path of care throughout 1 year.


  • They used 12,170 person-year observations
  • They used 5 function measures and 2 measures of self-rated health
  • The compared medical vs chiropractic treatment on 1-year changes in regards to function, health, and satisfaction.


  1. “The unadjusted models show that chiropractic is significantly protective against 1-year decline in activities of daily living, lifting, stooping, walking, self-rated health, and worsening health after 1 year. 
  2. Persons using chiropractic are more satisfied with their follow-up care and with the information provided to them. 
  3. In addition to the protective effects of chiropractic in the unadjusted model, the propensity score results indicate a significant protective effect of chiropractic against decline in reaching.”


Chiropractic showed clear and clinically significant protective effect against health and ability decline at the 1-year mark among Medicare patients and their conditions of the spine. There are also clear indications that patients undergoing chiropractic care also have a higher rate of satisfaction.

The paper citation is as follows:
Weigel PA, Hockenberry JM, Wolinsky FD, “Chiropractic use in the medicare population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2014 Oct;37(8)542-51.

The paper can be found here.

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY

Research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled.  We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising your general, overall level of health!

We have seen time and time again the amazing effectiveness of chiropractic for issues such as neck out of alignment, hips out of alignment, back alignment, lower back alignment hip out of alignment, back out of alignment, etc… We have just about seen it all.

Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

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Till next time……

The Amarillo Chiropractor Blog is written by Dr. Jeff Williams.

Amarillo TX Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic provides customized chiropractic care to the Amarillo, Canyon, Pampa, Happy, White Deer, Dumas, Groom, Conway, Panhandle, Claude, Clarendon, Borger, Tulia, Hereford, Fritch, Bushland, and Vega communities. Visit our main website at for customized Chiropractic in Amarillo TX.

Choose several options to schedule your appointment: call (806) 355-3000 or click the button below for our contact info.

by Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
Chiropractor in Amarillo
Accident Chiropractic
Creek Stone Integrated Care