Starting in 2016, Oregon Health Plan (OHP) will cover chiropractic treatment for patients with back pain for up to 30 visits. Will the state lead the way for others to add chiropractic care to covered treatment options?
It’s a gigantic shift away from Oregon’s previous policy, which favored narcotics as the first line of defense – and may have contributed to the state’s high rate of opioid use. One example: of the 8 percent of OHP patients who sought back pain treatment in 2013, only a small percentage met the plan’s requirements for chiropractic care, while more than half received narcotics.
That’s all about to change. Under the new policy, OHP patients will be able to receive chiropractic treatment—as well as acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, osteopathic manipulation, and physical and occupational therapy—up to 30 times a year.
What does this mean? First, Oregon chiropractors can expect to see an influx of OHP patients seeking treatment for ongoing back problems. Additionally, chiropractic care providers who have had billing problems with OHP in the past may find the reimbursement rate improved once the new policy kicks in Jan. 1, 2016.
How can chiropractors work to bring about similar policies in more states? Ask your state association if it’s working toward a similar policy change in your state and if so, what can you do to help move chiropractic forward.