News Across the Profession

Tackling Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Health Care Crisis

Musculoskeletal disorders cost the United States approximately $850 billion per year and are the most common causes of severe long-term pain and physical disability. Joint efforts need to continue in order to reduce this public health burden.

To address these issues, Drs. Rand Baird and Paul Dougherty met with Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association (APHA), and Toby King, Executive Director of the US Bone and Joint Decade, to discuss how the chiropractic profession may serve as a bridge between these two large multidisciplinary organizations to address the burden of musculoskeletal disease on public health in the United States. They discussed the possibility of the APHA endorsing the US Bone and Joint decade tenets and increasing awareness of musculoskeletal disease by having dedicated multidisciplinary sessions that address musculoskeletal diseases at the annual APHA meeting.

“It is my hope that we will see this project be a success and that we will see the chiropractic profession rise to a greater level of participation in the public health arena,” said Paul Dougherty, incoming chair of the Chiropractic Health Care (CHC) section. “It is my vision to see the CHC become the leader in addressing the public health crisis of musculoskeletal disorders.”

The Chiropractic Health Care Section of the APHA (APHA-CHC), founded in 1995, has maintained a critical role in public health issues such as wellness, health promotion and disease prevention in the context of chiropractic policies and practices. For more information about the CHC, visit



Northwestern Health Sciences University Lands $3 Million in Federal Research Grants

The Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies (WHCCS) at Northwestern Health Sciences University will receive nearly $3 million in federal funding to conduct two new clinical trials.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is awarding a three-year grant to Northwestern for approximately $1.65 million for the study, “Chiropractic and Exercise for Low Back Pain in Adolescents.” The University will also receive a three-year grant award for approximately $1.6 million for the study, “Chiropractic and Exercise Management of Spinal Dysfunction in Seniors.” Recruitment of participants for both studies is anticipated to begin in 2010.

“We are extremely proud of the groundbreaking research being done at the Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies,” says Mark Zeigler, DC, president of Northwestern. “For nearly two decades, our world renowned research team has been an international leader in conducting research intended to develop new models of evidence-informed, patient centered care.”

Both awards are part of a large grant writing effort completed by Northwestern’s research department earlier this spring. With the addition of these two new studies, the University has secured more than $13 million in federal funding in the last decade.

Visit for more information.



Missouri Department of Insurance fines United Healthcare; insurer to review 50,000 claims for chiropractic treatment

Two subsidiaries of United Healthcare, based in St. Louis, will pay $536,000 in fines and reopen chiropractic claim files it has denied since 2004. Under a settlement with the Missouri Department of Insurance, United Healthcare has agreed to reexamine at least 50,000 claims filed by chiropractors who treated the company’s policyholders. The Department of Insurance found United Healthcare violated state insurance laws by limiting coverage to 26 visits per year. In other cases, the department says the company failed to evaluate the medical necessity of treatment before denying claims.

For any chiropractic claims it finds were improperly denied, United Healthcare must reimburse the physicians for those claims, plus interest. In some cases, consumers may have paid the bills, rather than the chiropractors. Those consumers should contact United Healthcare at 1-800-873-4575. Patients or chiropractors with questions about the settlement can call the Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visit

The department conducts 30 to 40 market conduct exams of insurance companies in a typical year and, in 2008, these exams yielded more than $6 million in restitution for consumers and more than $700,000 in fines to benefit Missouri public schools. The Department of Insurance can order a market conduct exam at any time, if it suspects violations of Missouri insurance laws.

For further information, contact The Public Information Office at 1-573-751-2562.



International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA)
Members Define the Practice of Pediatric Chiropractic

The ICPA’s ground breaking study, “The Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic: A Survey of Chiropractors and Parents in a Practice-Based Research Network,” was published this month in the prestigious, biomedical journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. The objective of this study was to describe the practice of pediatric chiropractic, including its safety and effectiveness.

The results of the study determined that “the indicated primary reason for chiropractic care of children was “‘wellness care.'” With respect to condition-based presentations, musculoskeletal conditions were the most common, in addition to nonmusculoskeletal conditions of childhood. Treatment-associated complications were not indicated by the chiropractic and parent responders. Dr. Joel Alcantara, ICPA Research Director and presenting author said, “This paper shows the preliminary results of the ICPA’s Children’s PBRN on the safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic—Phase One. The final data is now compiled and we have begun data collection for Phase Two of our Children’s PBRN. We are pleased that a major biomedical CAM journal respects the importance of pediatric chiropractic and we foresee greater collaboration with the general CAM and allopathic community on the importance of chiropractic for children.

Visit the ICPA website to view the abstract: To participate in the ICPA PBRN, visit

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