A study in 2004 showed that when a chiropractor acted as the primary care physician and gatekeeper in an HMO, significant cost savings were found. During a four year period, there was a decrease of 43.0% in hospital admissions, 58.4% hospital days, 43.2% outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 51.8% pharmaceutical cost reductions1 compared to other conventional medicine IPAs offering the same HMO product during the same time frame in the same area.
Even more impressive is when the study was revisited after running for seven years, the savings became even more apparent. There were decreases of 60.2% in hospital admissions, 59.0% less days in the hospital, 62.0% less outpatient surgeries and procedures , and 85.0% pharmaceutical cost reductions when compared with normative conventional medicine IPA performance for the same HMO product in the same geography over the same time frame. These final numbers are based on 70,274 member months or approximately 836 members over 7 years.
What makes this even more impressive is that the conditions which patients presented with were the same as for any normal primary care physician. There were patients who presented complaining of issues which ended up being diagnosed as cardiovascular, gynecologic, endocrine (thyroid, diabetes), sinus, gastrointestinal and even cancer. The patients did not have worse outcomes than patients in other programs. In multiple surveys, member’s satisfaction rate was well in the 90% which is rare for conventional medicine.
- Sarnat, R and J Winterstein. “Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes From an Integrative Medicine IPA.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics . 27. (2004): 336-347. Print.
- Sarnat, R, J Winterstein, and J Cambron. “Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes From an Integrative Medicine Independent Physician Association: An Additional 3-Year Update.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics . 30.4 (2007): 263-269. Print.