The article was published in JAMA on March 3, 2020 by Dieleman et al. Study authors collected spending data on private insurance, out-of-pocket costs and public payers (Medicare, Medicaid, etc) for over 150 health disorders. They found that total health care spending more than doubled in 20 years, reaching $3.1 trillion in 2016. The highest spend? Low back and neck pain topped the list at $134 billion. Other musculoskeletal conditions came in second at $129.8 billion. This study is important to your clinical practice because it provides you with an important talking point when discussing chiropractic with patients, other clinicians and payers. Health care spending now represents 18% of the total US gross domestic product (GDP), led by the two most common conditions for which patients seek care from a doctor of chiropractic. Prior research has shown that spinal manipulation and/or chiropractic care is effective for low back (article) and neck pain (article) and can result in lower patient costs when compared to medical care (article).
Take home message – this study further illustrates the unacceptably high burden of spine-related disorders in the US, not only for patients but also on our health care system as a whole.
It’s time to #TransformSpineCare. To see how Spine IQ is taking on that task, visit our website at www.SpineIQ.org. One research study a week isn’t enough? Follow Dr. Goertz on Twitter @ChristineGoertz to stay up-to-date on current research and health policy issues that directly impact your clinical practice.