A study published in the September 2004 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics” showed that chiropractic care was more cost effective than medical care for many workers compensation injuries.
The study was a retrospective review of 96,627 closed injury claims between 1975 and 1994 that had been archived by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Office of Technology Services of the North Carolina Department of Commerce extracted the raw data for this study.
The results showed that the average cost of treatment, hospitalization, and compensation payments were higher for patients treated by Medical Doctors than for patients treated by Doctors of Chiropractic. The results further showed that average number of lost workdays for patients treated by Medical Doctors was higher than for those treated by Chiropractors. However, it was noted that when patients were treated by both Medical doctors and Chiropractors the costs generated were higher than patients treated by either MDs or DCs only.
The conclusion indicates lower treatment costs, less workdays lost, lower compensation payments, and lower utilization of ancillary medical services for patients treated by Chiropractors than for those treated by Medical Doctors. The implications are clear and can have far reaching effects. Many state governments are grappling with the concept of how to lower claims by injured workers in the workers compensation systems. Some lawmakers have suggested that the reduction, or elimination of chiropractic care will help reduce the financial costs. This study clearly shows that those efforts are not supported by the evidence, and that steps in that direction would actually raise the overall costs in workers compensations claims.