The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a directive that orders the Pentagon to make chiropractic care a standard benefit for all active duty military personnel. The legislation is contained in HR 2647, a bill authorizing defense programs in fiscal year 2010, and is based in part on recommendations from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC).
The bill—passed by the full House on June 25—also contains language allowing for chiropractic demonstration projects at overseas military locations and clarifies that chiropractic care at U.S. military facilities is to be performed only by a doctor of chiropractic.
“When signed into law, this legislation will pave the way for expanded access within the military health care system to the critical services offered by doctors of chiropractic—both stateside and overseas,” said ACA President Glenn Manceaux, DC. “ACA leaders are dedicated to this effort and will settle for nothing less than full access to chiropractic.”
In 2008, the House passed similar language in the form of HR 5658; however, that provision was not included in the Senate version of the bill.
“I would like to thank House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo.; Ranking Member Buck McKeon, R-Calif.; Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii; and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala. for their support and for shepherding this language through the legislative process,” Manceaux added.
To date, there is a doctor of chiropractic at 49 military bases around the country; however, according to a 2005 Government Accountability Office report, only 54 percent of servicemen and women eligible for chiropractic care can reasonably access the benefit.
This latest development comes on the heels of an announcement by TRICARE that beginning this fall, 11 additional military hospitals and clinics will provide access to chiropractic services for active duty military members, including facilities in Germany and Okinawa, Japan.
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation in the near future. Watch ACA’s Web site and publications for more details as they become available.