Remove restrictions on treatment

Opioid and drug abuse remains in the news despite large amounts of money spent to combat this epidemic. The West Virginia State Legislators worked tirelessly last session to craft a bill specific to addressing this crisis through SB273. I encourage your readers to go on line and read through the bill to gain an understanding of the complexity healthcare provider’s face when dealing with the law and providing care for their patients. The good news about this law is provisions encouraging but not mandating employment of alternative based treatments has been added in an effort to reduce or replace drug prescription. The law mentions recommending use of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage & physical therapy for replacing pain medication.

Despite the encouragement given by lawmakers of West Virginia for use of these services, they all face financial obstacles from various health insurance carriers including such federal programs as Medicare and Medicaid. As a chiropractic physician, extensive training, board certification, and licensing requirements to safely and effectively provide a full array of therapies beyond the chiropractic manipulation is often considered a non-covered service for payment. It has been demonstrated, cost savings, improved outcomes, and overall satisfaction for patient care is enhanced when the treating physician is able to properly administer their complete treatment plan. Financial challenges imposed by current health care policies can work to divert patients and place greater stress on the very individuals who are seeking non-drug based therapies.

I would encourage the insurance carriers and their respective healthcare policy makers to remove these imposed restrictions and consider expanding reimbursements on services known to be effective and less dependent on drug interventions. These artificial barriers will continue to negatively influence the public away from our law maker’s intentions to reduce drug dependency. Fair and equal reimbursement for all non-traditional services offered should be allowed by private and public health insurance entities while providing greater awareness and opportunity for a drug free approach to healthcare our great state so desperately needs.

Byron R. Folwell, DC



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