The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has started the long-overdue process of providing veterans with access to chiropractic care by placing doctors of chiropractic on staff at VA hospitals. The process of integrating chiropractic care in the VA system was initiated after Congress enacted a series of statues—Public Law 108-170 and Public Law 107-135—that reinforced a permanent chiropractic benefit within the VA health care system and specifically directed the VA to hire doctors of chiropractic to provide care for veterans.
As a result of the above-referenced congressional directives, the VA now provides chiropractic care (via hired or contracted staff) at more than 100 major VA treatment facilities within the United States. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of America’s veterans still do not have access to chiropractic care because the VA has taken no action to provide chiropractic care at nearly 100 of its major medical facilities. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced legislation that will improve the delivery of benefits to America’s veterans, bringing them one step closer to gaining further access to the essential services provided by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) at all major Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers.
Despite important data demonstrating a critical need for chiropractic services within the VA, the disparity in access has been allowed to persist. A VA report released January 2017 (PDF) stated that more than 62 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn veterans who sought health care from the VA over a 14-year period were treated for musculoskeletal ailments.