ARLINGTON, VA ― The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has announced that Congress yesterday introduced bipartisan legislation that would expand access to chiropractic services to military retirees as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve through the Department of Defense TRICARE health program.
The legislation–S. 30, introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and H.R. 344, introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa)–would ensure that those who retire from military service can continue to receive the quality chiropractic care they accessed previously through the Department of Defense (DoD) healthcare system. Since painful musculoskeletal conditions are a common complaint among those who have served in the military, the legislation adds an important non-drug option for pain management in TRICARE for those who wish to avoid or reduce their need for prescription opioid pain medications.
“In the wake of the opioid epidemic, we are grateful that Congress recognizes the need for increased access to non-drug options for pain management,” ACA President N. Ray Tuck, Jr., DC said. “Chiropractors have become valued members of the military healthcare team. We are honored to help keep our service members battle-ready without the use of drugs or surgery and to help those who retire to continue to manage their pain conservatively with safe and effective chiropractic services.”
Chiropractic services were first made available to active-duty military personnel in 2000, following the enactment of legislation to create a permanent chiropractic benefit within the DoD health care system. As part of the pilot program–before full implementation–retirees were also granted access to chiropractic services on a space-available basis. At the time, it was noted that the benefit was valued by members of the TRICARE community, which serves not only retirees but also dependents and survivors of military personnel. Today, chiropractic is available only to active-duty service members at more than 60 military treatment facilities in the United States, as well as bases in Germany and Japan.
Chiropractors focus on disorders of the musculoskeletal system, most often treating complaints such as back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs and headaches. Widely known for their expertise in spinal manipulation, chiropractors are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, and to provide dietary and lifestyle counseling.