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State of Missouri set to expand chiropractic coverage

March 13, 2018—On March 1, 2018, the Missouri state Senate passed a bill (SB 597) expanding on previous legislation that outlined the services covered under Missouri’s HealthNet program, the state’s version of Medicaid. The new section, 208.152(7), reads in part:

“Up to twenty visits per year for services limited to examinations, diagnoses, adjustments, and manipulations and treatments of malpositioned articulations and structures of the body provided by licensed chiropractic physicians practicing within their scope of practice.”

Jeannie Riddle

The services are restricted to musculoskeletal care and the treatment of subluxations, and do not apply to other treatments Missouri doctors of chiropractic can perform within their scope of practice, such as acupuncture or acupressure. The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Jeanie Riddle [R-Callaway County], said the legislation is aimed at addressing the opioid crisis currently afflicting the state.

Riddle notes that in Tennessee, Blue Cross found that if patients consult a chiropractor first for problems with low-back pain, they reduced their health care costs by nearly half. Furthermore, based on a study Blue Cross conducted, the company estimates that if chiropractic visits were the first-line treatment for patients presenting with back pain, the company would save approximately $2.5 million annually.

The purpose of SB 597 is thus two-fold: It seeks to steer patients suffering from back pain away from pharmacologic approaches when possible, and reduce the state’s HealthNet expenses. The bill is now being evaluated by the House before proceeding to Gov. Eric Greitens for signing. Greitens has directed his administration to confront the opioid issue directly and with urgency.

Source: Fulton Sun

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