Bill Includes Provisions Of Blumenthal-Moran Sponsored Legislation To Expand Chiropractic Care For Veterans
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) applauded the Veterans Affairs Committee’s passage of the Veterans' Educational Transition Act of 2013 (S.944), legislation that includes provisions of the Blumenthal-Moran sponsored Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act (S.422). Blumenthal and Moran’s bill would improve health care for veterans by expanding access to chiropractic care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers nationwide.
“The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act directly helps veterans who suffer from musculoskeletal and connective system diseases that go untreated because VA medical centers offering chiropractic care and services are lacking. Particularly at risk are veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, since wounds requiring chiropractic care result from IEDs and other explosive devices common to both military conflicts,” Blumenthal said. “The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act expands chiropractic care to veterans health centers nationwide – ensuring that veterans who experience back pain and other musculoskeletal issues can conveniently and cost-effectively get the care they deserve.”
“Many of the service members who served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan sustained back and other neuromusculoskeletal injuries that can be treated though chiropractic care,” Moran said. “Far too many of them suffer without the wide range of specialized medical attention they need because only a fraction of VA medical centers offer chiropractic care. These brave men and women who gave so much for our country deserve far better. Our legislation will help address this deficiency and improve health care for veterans by increase access to chiropractic care and expertise at VA medical centers nationwide.”
According to the VA, the most frequent medical diagnoses reported among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are musculoskeletal and connective system diseases. In fact, more than 197,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have sought VA care since Fiscal Year 2002 have been diagnosed with these conditions, which may be treated by chiropractic physicians. Further, several studies have proven the cost-effectiveness of chiropractic care versus other medical treatments, when appropriate.
“Burdened by persistent, serious pain, veterans across the nation need and deserve access to chiropractic care – the same access that veterans in Connecticut have at West Haven Medical Center, and at the nation’s first university-based chiropractic college at the University of Bridgeport," Blumenthal said. "Also, not only is expanding care medically appropriate, it’s cost-effective. At a time when health care costs are skyrocketing, we should take advantage of every opportunity to achieve real savings, especially for our service men and women.”
“For too many veterans, access to the essential services provided by doctors of chiropractic is a phantom benefit,” said Dr. Keith Overland of Wilton, Connecticut who is the president of the American Chiropractic Association. “The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act is a step in the right direction, and we applaud Senator Blumenthal and Senator Moran for championing it.”
While Congress has previously directed the VA to provide chiropractic care to veterans, the VA currently provides chiropractic care at only a fraction of its medical centers. In fact, fewer than one-third of the more than 150 VA medical centers offer chiropractic care and services. As a consequence, many deserving veterans are unable to access the care they need. The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act would address this deficiency by mandating 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, 2014 and at all VA medical centers by December 31, 2016.
The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act is co-sponsored by the following senators: Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).