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Veterans with Service Related Disabilities can Appeal

Denials of Chiropractic Treatment Requests

By VA Primary Care Physicians

In 2002, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 107-135, legislation that ensured that chiropractic would become a permanent benefit for recipients of veterans’ health care services. As a result, chiropractic care was gradually added to more than 30 VA medical centers. (In the remaining 120 VA treatment facilities, however—including those in several major metropolitan areas, the chiropractic care benefit has remained virtually non-existent.)

All veterans with service related disabilities are supposed to have access to chiropractic care; if not at a hospital then in the civilian community. Chiropractic treatment is a standard VA benefit.

Chiropractic physicians are considered specialists with the Veteran Administration and with the Department of Defense, which means the Veteran must request from their PCP an approval for them to receive chiropractic treatment.

Services delivered by doctors of chiropractic are part of the standard VA benefits and no VA facility can say "do not provide" these essential health benefits. Some veterans have found their local VA is reluctant to send them for fee-basis care outside the VA facility, and have required they jump through many hoops to get a referral for a Doctor of Chiropractic. This is against VA policy and does not go along with VA's own stated mission to be "veteran-centered."

If a veteran’s request for chiropractic treatment is denied by the VA’s primary care physician, then an appeal can be filed to the patient advocate, the veteran’s Representative in the U.S. House and or U.S. Senate and several veteran service organization such as Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project, and the American Legion.

Action steps for the veteran to appeal their PCP’s denial of chiropractic treatment:

  • File complaint with the patient advocate at the VA center.
  • Contact the veteran’s Representative in the U.S. House, http://www.house.gov/representatives and or the veteran’s U.S. Senator, http://www.senate.gov/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm .
  • If that is not successful, bring it to the attention of a Veteran’s Service Organization such as Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project, American Legion or others.
  • The more veterans that make this known, the more likely it is that positive change will occur.

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