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Congress Includes Chiropractic Provision
in VA Bill That Moves to House Floor

(ACA News Release, July 22, 1999)

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) have jointly worked for the inclusion of a provision that would give our nation's veterans access to chiropractic care in the Veterans' Administration (VA) health care plan.

Currently, chiropractic benefits are typically denied to patients receiving care in the VA health care system. The ACA has long opposed this discrimination against the chiropractic profession and supports federal legislation which would mandate the full integration of chiropractic health care into the VA health care system. Over the past few months, the House Veterans' Affairs Committee has been working on comprehensive legislation (the Veterans' Millennium Health Care Act - H.R. 2116) to reform the VA health care system. This legislation would make wide-ranging changes in veterans' health care, including expanding long-term care.

As the result of joint lobbying efforts by the ACA and ACC, the House Veterans' Affairs Committee included a provision in the Veterans' Millennium Health Care Act which would require the VA to develop a policy regarding the utilization of chiropractic care in the VA health care system. The language reads as follows: "Within 120 days after the enactment of this act, the Under Secretary for Health, in consultation with chiropractors, shall establish a policy for VHA regarding the role of chiropractic treatment in the care of veterans under chapter 17, title 38 U.S.C."

Such a provision could potentially lead to the important goal of full integration of chiropractic care into the VA health care system. To clarify the intent of the provision, the ACA and ACC worked closely with members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee for the inclusion of report language. As a result of the great support for chiropractic by the members of the committee, strong report language will accompany the statutory language. On July 15, 1999, the House Veterans' Affairs Committee overwhelming approved H.R. 2116 and reported the bill out of committee. Now that the full committee has completed work on this legislation, the bill will move to the Floor for consideration by the full House. The Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Representative Bob Stump (R-AZ), has reported that the measure is scheduled for a House floor action on Monday under suspension of the rules, which limits debate and prohibits amendments.

SEC. 303. CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM- Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs, after consultation with chiropractors, shall establish a policy for the Veterans Health Administration regarding the role of chiropractic treatment in the care of veterans under chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code.

(b) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section:

(1) The term `chiropractic treatment' means the manual manipulation of the spine performed by a chiropractor for the treatment of such musculo-skeletal conditions as the Secretary considers appropriate.

(2) The term `chiropractor' means an individual who--

(A) is licensed to practice chiropractic in the State in which the individual performs chiropractic services; and

(B) holds the degree of doctor of chiropractic from a chiropractic college accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education.

Postscript

The Veterans' Millennium Health Care Act, including the above provisions, was passed and became law on November 30, 1999.

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This page was revised on October 18, 2000.