Chiropractic $aves:  Patterns of Utilization and Charges Low Back Pain in North Carolina
Written by Editor   
Friday, September 02, 2016 12:00 AM

Chiropractic care alone or doctor of chiropractic (DC) with medical doctor (MD) care incurred appreciably fewer charges for uncomplicated low back pain (ULBP) than MD care with or without PT care. This finding was reversed for complicated low back pain (CLBP). Adjusted charges for both ULBP and CLBP patients were significantly lower for DC patients.

This study compared utilization and charges generated by MD, DC and physical therapists (PT) by patterns of care for the treatment of low back pain in North Carolina.  This was an analysis of low-back-pain-related closed claim data from the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees from 2000 to 2009. Data were extracted from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina for the North Carolina State Health Plan using International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision diagnostic codes for ULBP and CLBP.

Care patterns with single-provider types and no referrals incurred the least charges on average for both ULBP and CLBP. When care did not include referral providers or services, for ULBP, MD and DC care was on average $465 less than MD and PT care. For CLBP, MD and DC care averaged $965 more than MD and PT care. However, when care involved referral providers or services, MD and DC care was on average $1600 less when compared to MD and PT care for ULBP and $1885 less for CLBP. Risk-adjusted charges (available 2006-2009) for patients in the middle quintile of risk were significantly less for DC care patterns.