Arizona May Add Chiropractic to Curb Opioid Crises

Medicaid recipients in Arizona may soon be able to see the chiropractor when care is ordered by a primary medical care doctor.

Introduced by Senator Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), the new bill would allow patients on the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to get a prescription from their primary care physician(PCP) for 20 chiropractic visits per year, and more as needed if the PCP authorizes it with the chiropractor.

The concern so far is that people with chronic pain that are opiod recipents will need a lot of chiropractic adjusting to get them off the pain-killers and stable. Most new chiropractic patients start care out at two to three visits per week for a month or two and that would use up the initial 20 visits. Acute care can last a couple of months, tapering off steadily before a person can get into “wellness” or “maintenance” care at 1-2 x per month. This means many Medicaid recipients will need more than 20 annual visits to really get off the opioids and well, biomechanically speaking.

The bill is currently being reviewed by the House, and Representative Randy Friese (D-Tucson) told Arizona Central that the limitations are meant to safeguard the state‚Äôs first attempt at covering a new practice. If recipients are consistently meeting the imposed caps, they will consider removing the limits. Legislatures are considering both budget implications and how to best address the opioid crisis.  

Many states currently offer chiropractic care, with about 30 states offering some form of coverage through their state Medicaid program, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This bill adds options for both physicians and patients who experience chronic pain and want to improve their quality of life and not take addictive pain medication for life.

Nothing here in Virginia as far as getting Medicaid to pay for chiropractic yet. So let your state legislatures know call and email them, tell them what Arizona is doing and maybe we can get some movement here in the east with chiropractic for Medicaid recipients.

Dr. Demetrios Kydonieus, DC

Information from an article written by
Katherine Rushlau, CPT, is the editor of IntegrativePractitioner.com.