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Government Accountability Office Reviews Chiropractic Availability for US Service Members

On September 6, 2005 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a letter reporting on the US Department of Defense (DoD) implementation of chiropractic benefits to active duty military personnel. In 2001 Congress passed the National Defense Reauthorization Act requiring the US Department of Defense to generate and implement plans to make the chiropractic benefit accessible to all active duty service members in the U.S. military. According to the GAO report they examined relevant legislation, statutes, and reports containing congressional directives to DOD for establishing and enhancing the chiropractic benefit in addition to those directing earlier chiropractic demonstration projects. The report indicated that the Department of Defense has initiated implementation, but doesn't have plans presently of making Chiropractic care available as a benefit to "all active duty service members" as needed by the law. The report did show that of the 238 military treatment facilities across the world, the DoD has opened only 42 chiropractic clinics.
 
The report also noted that of the 1.8 million active-duty service members, only 54 percent, or 969,000, are living in areas served by these military treatment facilities that now have chiropractic clinics. Within the last several years, the need for chiropractic care inside the military has been growing. Before the program, service personnel seeking chiropractic care would be pushed to pay for the service themselves. According to the report the Chiropractic facilities have existed in military treatment facilities in areas in the U.S. with large active-duty populations. The vast majority of chiropractic clinics are in the Army, which includes 17. The Air Force also houses 14 as the Navy maintains 11. Although making chiropractic care accessible to active duty military is an excellent start, the report did observe that a sizeable percentage of the active military won't have chiropractic easily obtainable. Nineteen percent of active-duty service members live in remote or overseas locations where no chiropractic will be available. However, an additional 28 percent of active-duty personnel reside in areas of the U.S. served by military treatment facilities that don't have chiropractic clinics. In reaction the DoD stated in a letter that military personnel currently in remote and overseas locations or in locations that are not near a military treatment facility with a chiropractic clinic can travel, if necessary, to receive the benefit,"

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