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Patient Choice Essential to Real Health Care Reform

Patients’ Right to Choose Treatment and Provider Will Cut Costs, Improve Quality of Care
Arlington, Va. — The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) remains committed to advocating for the rights of patients to choose the provider and treatments they feel are best suited for them, following the Supreme Court’s decision today upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Allowing patients to choose providers who offer less expensive, conservative treatments is one important way to both reduce health care costs and address the growing primary care shortage in this country.
In respect to patient choice, today’s decision means that the provider non-discrimination provision within PPACA remains intact. This part of the law makes it illegal for health plans and insurers to discriminate against health care providers based solely on their license. For patients, this means they can visit the provider of their choice for the type of treatment they desire, as long as the service is covered by their health plan.
Patients are becoming more aware of the downsides of over reliance on prescription drugs and the premature use of surgery for common health conditions such as low-back pain. These treatments also come with high price tags. For example, many patients prefer to utilize doctors of chiropractic (DCs), who offer drug-free, non-surgical options. Further, the services provided by DCs have been proven to be effective and less costly than traditional medical care.
Ensuring provider choice can also help the country address the growing shortage of primary care physicians. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, by 2015 the U.S. will face a shortage of more than 60,000 physicians across primary care, surgical and medical specialties. To meet the needs of the public, every qualified health care provider will have to practice to the fullest extent of his or her scope of practice. Enabling patients to seek primary care services from doctors of chiropractic and other non-MD/DO providers who are qualified to provide these services will help take some of the strain off the health care system.  “As our nation continues in its quest to improve the health care system, it will need to look at options outside the status quo,” said ACA President Keith Overland, DC. "Doctors of chiropractic can provide conservative primary care that saves money. ACA will continue to work with legislators to ensure that health reform is implemented in a responsible way that removes artificial barriers to patients’ choices."
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of patient care and ethics, and supports research that contributes to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit www.acatoday.org.

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association, Online June 28, 2012