(Washington, DC) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) this week introduced the bipartisan Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act of 2011, a bill to improve health care for veterans by expanding access to chiropractic care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities nationwide. Blumenthal was joined by original cosponsors Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
“All too often, veterans suffer musculoskeletal and connective system diseases that go untreated because less than one-third of the VA medical centers offer chiropractic care and services” said Blumenthal. “Wounds requiring chiropractic care result from IEDs and other explosive devices particularly common to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Burdened by persistent, serious pain, veterans need and deserve better, broader chiropractic care, and they should have the same immediate access to chiropractic care that Connecticut has with the National Director for the Veterans Health Administration's Chiropractic Service based right here at the West Haven Medical Center, and having the nation’s first university-based college of chiropractic at the University of Bridgeport.”
According to the VA, the most frequent medical diagnoses reported among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are musculoskeletal and connective system diseases. More than 197,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have sought VA care since FY02 have been diagnosed with these conditions, which may be treated by chiropractic physicians. The legislation follows action by Congress to address similar legislation last year and is a companion bill to H.R. 329 introduced in the House.
The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act mandates chiropractic care and services at all VA medical centers. The legislation would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide chiropractic care at a minimum of 75 VA medical centers by December 31, 2012 and at all VA medical centers by December 31, 2014.