Chiropractic's Quest for Full Physician Status in Medicare: A Brief History

October is National Chiropractic Health Month, a fitting designation as on Oct. 30, 1972, President Nixon signed into law H.R. 1, the Social Security Amendments of 1972, ending three years of deliberations on what would improve the program. What the president called "landmark legislation" included the significant and far-reaching provision of defining chiropractors as “physicians” in the Medicare program under Sec. 18619(r)(5) of the Social Security Act. Unfortunately, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulators interpreted the law to define the physician status granted to chiropractors in a way that restricted their ability to participate meaningfully, on a level of basic parity.

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