ACA Reports: Veterans Affairs
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 12:21 PM

In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has started the long-overdue process of providing veterans with access to chiropractic care by placing doctors of chiropractic on staff at VA hospitals. The process of integrating chiropractic care in the VA system was initiated after Congress enacted a series of statues—Public Law 108-170 and Public Law 107-135—that reinforced a permanent chiropractic benefit within the VA health care system and specifically directed the VA to hire doctors of chiropractic to provide care for veterans.

As a result the VA now provides chiropractic care (via hired or contracted staff) at 47 major VA treatment facilities within the United States. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of America’s veterans still do not have access to chiropractic care because the VA has taken no action to provide chiropractic care at more than 100 of its major medical facilities.

Despite important data demonstrating a critical need for chiropractic services within the VA, the disparity in access has been allowed to persist. Recent VA data cite “diseases of musculoskeletal system/connective system,” such as back pain, as the number one ailment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accessing VA treatment.

A number of congressional bills have been introduced to address this important issue.  U.S. Representative Mike Michaud, D-ME, has introduced HR 921 — the “Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act.” If signed into law, HR 921 would require the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2016.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, introduced S. 422 – the “Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act of 2013” as a companion to the House version introduced by Mr. Michaud. If signed into law, S. 422 would require the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2016.

The American Chiropractic Association has posted information for providers working with, or who would like to see patients through the VA Non-VA Care program.

Non-VA Care.  Medical care provided to eligible Veterans outside of VA when VA facilities are not available. Non-VA Care is used when VA medical facilities are not "feasibly available." The local VA medical facility has criteria to determine whether Non-VA Care may be used. If a Veteran is eligible for certain medical care, the VA hospital or clinic should provide it as the first option. If they can't - due to a lack of available specialists, long wait times, or extraordinary distances from the Veteran's home - the VA may consider Non-VA Care in the Veteran's community.

Non-VA Care Provider Information.  Once Purchased Care (non-VA Care) is authorized, Veterans may seek treatment from a provider in their community. This guide details what non-VA providers should expect in terms of authorizations and referrals, claims payment, and the return of medical documentation back to the authorizing VA Medical Center (VAMC).

Becoming a Non-VA Care Provider Information.  These links include information on contacting your local VA facility and payment system registration. Non-VA Provider's Guide

Read this fact sheet to learn more about chiropractic in the VA

For a list of the 47 major VA medical facilities offering chiropractic services, click here

How to Treat Our Veterans Through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

For veterans seeking chiropractic care, please read this advisory to learn how to access this important service provided to you as part of your medical benefits.