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Utilization and Expenditures on Chiropractic Care in the United States from 1997 to 2006

Authors

  • Matthew A. Davis,

    1. Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH
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    • Address correspondence to Matthew A. Davis, D.C., chiropractor, Grace Cottage Hospital, PO Box 216, 185 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT 05353; e-mail: mdavis@gracecottage.org. Matthew A. Davis, D.C., Brenda E. Sirovich, M.D., M.S., and William B. Weeks, M.D., M.B.A., are with The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH. Brenda E. Sirovich, M.D., M.S., is also with the Veterans Affairs Outcomes Group, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, VT.

  • Brenda E. Sirovich,

    1. Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH
    2. Veterans Affairs Outcomes Group, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, VT
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  • William B. Weeks

    1. Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH
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  • [Corrections added after online publication 12/4/09: on page 1, the percentages under both “Principal Findings” and “Conclusion” were wrong and have been corrected; on page 5, the percentage under “U.S. Adults Who Consulted a U.S. Chiropractor“ was wrong and has been corrected; on page 6, the percentage in the first paragraph was wrong and has been corrected from “42 percent” to “70 percent”; on page 7, the net increase percentage under “U.S. Charges and Expenditures on Chiropractic Care” was wrong and has been corrected; on page 9, two percentages were listed incorrectly (36 percent in line 5, 37 percent in line 8) and have been updated to 56 percent and 57 percent, respectively; on page 12, the percentage under “Conclusion” was wrong and has been corrected. The authors apologize for these errors.]

Abstract

Objective. To investigate national utilization and expenditures on chiropractic care between 1997 and 2006.

Data Source. The nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).

Study Design. We performed descriptive analyses and generated national estimates from data obtained from U.S. adult (≥18 years) MEPS respondents who reported having visited a chiropractor (annual sample size between 789 and 1,082). For each year, we examined the estimated total national expenditure, the total number of U.S. adults who received chiropractic care, the total number of ambulatory visits to U.S. chiropractors, and the inflation-adjusted charges and expenditures per U.S. adult chiropractic patient.

Principal Findings. The total number of U.S. adults who visited a chiropractor increased 57 percent from 7.7 million in 2000 to 12.1 million in 2003. From 1997 to 2006, the inflation-adjusted national expenditures on chiropractic care increased 56 percent from U.S.$3.8 billion to U.S.$5.9 billion. Inflation-adjusted total mean expenditures per patient and expenditures per office visit remained unchanged.

Conclusion. The large increase in U.S. adult expenditures on chiropractic care between 1997 and 2006 was due to a 57 percent increase in the total number of U.S. adult chiropractic patients that occurred from 2000 to 2003. From 2003 to 2006, the total number of U.S. adult chiropractic patients has remained stable.

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