The Role of the Chiropractor in the Changing Health Care System

From Marginal to Mainstream

Published In: Research In the Sociology of Health Care. Vol. 13A: Health Care Delivery System Changes / Jennie J. Kronenfield, ed. (Greenwich, CT : JAI Press, 1996), p. 95-117

by Ian D. Coulter, Ron D. Hays, Clark D. Danielson

Based on data collected from about 500 chiropractic patients and 44 chiropractors in the Los Angeles area, this article examines the chiropractor's role in the changing health care system. The authors found that the most frequent recommendations of chiropractors are most directly relevant to the complaints of back-related problems, rather than to general health and preventive care. This finding indicates that extensive primary care is not being delivered by this set of chiropractors. It could be that increased legitimacy for chiropractic care has evolved by narrowing the scope of their practice. The authors suggest that, in a managed care environment, based on what chiropractors are currently doing, it is unlikely that they can make a substantive claim for an extended role. They are now in a weaker position to argue for an increased primary care role in managed care organizations.

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