RAND Report: Chiropractic Scores Big in the Military

RAND Corporation research report on availability, documentation, coding, credentialing / privileging practices, and demand for CAM services at military treatment facilities (MTFs) shows chiropractic enjoying substantial success within MTFs in terms of availability, utilization and effectiveness.

The report is based on a survey of MTFs commissioned by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury and conducted from August-October 2015. The survey had an impressive 94 percent response rate from the 142 MTFs, yielding numerous positive findings regarding

  • More than half (55 percent) of the 110 MTFs that offer CAM services provide chiropractic care.
  • Chiropractic is by far the most frequently utilized service (14,000 estimated visits per month – “nearly double the utilization figures for acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis and massage combined”). Overall, DCs see almost 3 percent of all MTF-directed outpatient care.
  • Back pain and chronic pain are the most common reasons for chiropractic use within MTFs.
  • Chiropractic patients are more likely to adhere to care than any other CAM patient (61 percent showing “high adherence” and 22 percent “moderate adherence”). Acupuncture is second at 56 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
  • More than half (51 percent) of MTFs report reductions in medication use by patients receiving chiropractic care (second only to acupuncture at 61 percent).
  • The Military Health System boasts more than 100 FTE [full-time equivalent] staff and contract chiropractors, making DCs the fourth most common provider type after medical physicians (370), clinical psychologists (350) and social workers (206).
  • Almost two-thirds of MTFs say chiropractic improves patient satisfaction and patients’ quality of life (65 percent and 63 percent, respectively); 57 percent say it improves functional status; 55 percent say it improves work performance; and 45 percent say it improves sleep.