By Dr. Christopher Kent

Last year, I was honored with the opportunity to present testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee. A portion of the testimony addressed how chiropractic care could reduce healthcare costs to senior citizens. Yet, the findings should be of interest to any person seeking to enjoy health while minimizing medical expenses. Here is a portion of that testimony:

Healthcare Costs: A National Dilemma

“This Committee is well aware that the cost of medical care in the United States exceeds one trillion dollars annually, and these costs are continuing to rise. As policy makers consider strategies to reduce medical expenditures without compromising the health of our citizens, we offer chiropractic services as a viable path to achieving affordable healthcare for all Americans.

“The results of several patientbased studies suggest that chiropractic care may result in significant savings of healthcare dollars. One such study conducted an analysis of an insurance database comparing persons over 75 years of age receiving chiropractic care with nonchiropractic patients. The analysis showed that the persons receiving chiropractic care reported better overall health, spent fewer days in hospitals and nursing homes, used fewer prescription drugs, and were more active than the nonchiropractic patients. Furthermore, the chiropractic patients reported 21% less time in hospitals over the previous 3 years. [1]

“Another study surveyed 311 chiropractic patients, aged 65 years and older, who had received chiropractic care for 5 years or longer. Chiropractic patients, when compared with US citizens of the same age, spent only 31% of the national average for health care services. The chiropractic patients also experienced 50% fewer medical provider visits then their comparable peers. The health habits of patients receiving maintenance care were better overall than the general population, including decreased use of cigarettes and decreased use of nonprescription drugs.” [2]

Quality of Life

In addition to the studies cited in the testimony, another major study evaluated qualityoflife issues in persons receiving wellness care. Blanks, Schuster and Dobson [3] published the results of a retrospective assessment of subluxationbased chiropractic care on selfrelated health, wellness and quality of life. This is, to my knowledge, the largest study of its kind ever undertaken regarding a chiropractic population. After surveying 2,818 respondents in 156 practices, a strong connection was found between persons receiving Network care and selfreported improvement in health, wellness and qualityoflife. 95% of respondents reported that their expectations had been met, and 99% wished to continue care.

Clearly, there is a growing body of evidence that wellness care provided by doctors of chiropractic may reduce health care costs, improve health behaviors, and improve patient perceived qualityoflife.


1. Coulter ID, Hurwitz EL, Aronow HU, et al: “Chiropractic patients in a comprehensive homebased geriatric assessment, followup and health promotion program.” Topics in Clinical Chiropractic 1996;3(2):46.

2. Rupert RL, Manello D, Sandefur R: “Maintenance care: health promotion services administered to US chiropractic patients aged 65 or older, Part II.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2000;23(1):10.

3. Blanks RHI, Schuster TL, Dobson M: “A retrospective assessment of Network care using a survey of selfreported health, wellness and quality of life.” Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research 1997;1(4):15.

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