An article from the Associated Press dated July 6, 2000 had a headline that read, “U.S. Hospitals Embrace Alternative Care.” This article reports on several big name hospitals now offering what they referred to as alternative care including chiropractic. Beth Israel Medical centre, a large New York teaching hospital, opened a facility where MDs work with Chiropractors and other alternative health practitioners.
In some cases the decision to add “alternative care” is based on a financial incentive. Hospital administrators are finding it harder to ignore a trend lead by millions of Americans. The article states that according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 83 million Americans are spending some $27 billion a year on alternative care. Although chiropractic is being referred to less as an alternative and more as a mainstream choice in health care, it is the largest health care profession that is not part of the medical regime.
According to a survey of about 1,000 hospitals by the consulting firm Deloitte and Touche, about 13 percent of U.S. hospitals provide alternative therapies. These figures rise to 25 percent for inner city hospitals and 32 percent for hospitals with at least 500 beds. Dr. Matthew Fink, a neurologist who is president and chief executive of Beth Israel Medical centre sums it up by saying, “It would be silly for doctors and hospitals to ignore something that will be a large part of health care for years to come.” Dr. Woodson Merrell, executive director of the Beth Israel centre for Health and Healing who is a physician and an acupuncturist states, “We are giving patients what they want.”