By Robin E. Kobayashi, J.D., LexisNexis Legal & Professional Operations
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including most commonly sprains and strains, accounted for a whopping 33 percent of all workplace injury and illness cases as well as one-third of all the days-away-from-work cases in 2013 according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. What’s more, workers who sustained an MSD injury needed an average of 11 days to recuperate before they could return to work compared to 8 days for all other types of injury cases. Nursing assistants, laborers, and freight, stock, and material movers had the highest rates of MSD injuries.
Given the high rate of MSD injuries in the workplace and the associated high costs of treatment, studies from 2011 and 2012 examined the use of on-site chiropractic services and found that these services contributed to lowered overall costs. Supporting the value of on-site chiropractic services is a 2014 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that compared the impact of on-site and off-site chiropractic care on health care utilization, specifically, radiological procedures and clinical care.
How the 2014 Study Was Set Up
The study focused on Cerner Corporation, a self-insured company in Kansas City, MO, specializing in health information technology and care delivery strategies. Cerner’s on-site health centers provide wellness, prevention, pharmacy services, and primary care, including chiropractic care, to all employees enrolled in Cerner’s health plan.
The 36-month retrospective study examined 876 employees who received chiropractic care at their place of employment (the on-site group) and 759 employees who received chiropractic care at an off-site community-based chiropractic office (the off-site group).
The study assessed utilization for radiological procedures (i.e., MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, and other radiograph procedures) and clinical utilization (i.e., claims for chiropractic services, physical therapy, or further medical care—inpatient, outpatient, or ER visits).