"Experimental and Investigational" A Biased Insurance Label
Letter from the Editor: Issue 015
Jeanne Ohm, DC
Around the country, “health” insurance companies are denying chiropractic care for children under the age of 12. Labeling chiropractic care for children as "experimental and investigational," these insurance conglomerates are misleading parents into believing that chiropractic care is not safe or effective for children.
Doctors of Chiropractic have been adjusting children for over 100 years. The incidence of malpractice claims with children is extremely minimal. One insurance claims adjuster told me, "In fifteen years of insuring thousands of chiropractors, I have seen maybe five cases of malpractice involving children. Most of them had to do with the child tripping over the adjusting table or some similar type of equipment related injury."
One can only question the motive to influence parents’ rights to choose chiropractic care when numerous on-going drug treatments known to be ineffective, used off label and even worse, cause harm are covered by these same policies without question.
Questionable treatment protocols for our country’s children are frequently established by the drug controlled medical system without the sufficient documentation to substantiate their safety and efficacy. These services are frequently accepted and covered without question. On a regular basis research studies reveal the danger and ineffectiveness of these "approved" treatments and yet they continue to be covered by insurance policies in spite of the scientific findings!
With recent media coverage of these atrocities, parents are beginning to realize that the insurance industry may have what appears to be a double standard for evaluating safe health care coverage for their families.
Unquestioned, routine procedures:
Too may to list, the following are just a couple of examples where this double standard in health care coverage is revealed…
Unnecessary flu shots:
Setting aside the questionability of all childhood vaccines, the flu vaccine represents another example where there was no substantial, scientific data and yet it was recommended and included as a covered service. .Recently, a study, published in the Lancet, found that flu shots are not effective in children younger than two years of age. These scientists said they "recorded no convincing evidence that vaccines can reduce mortality, hospital admissions serious complications and community transmission of influenza" in young kids. Another point to note is that the flu vaccine still has high levels of thimerosal.
Why would your insurance company cover these services?
Leading Drug Company Deceives Parents:
It was bad enough that the known neurotoxin, thimerosal was ever used in. vaccines. Even worse however, was when thimerosal toxicity was finally exposed and the FDA approved thimerosal -free vaccines, a leading drug company announced they had eliminated it from their Hep-B vaccine but continued to distribute their thimerosal hepatitis B vaccine for another two years.
Did your insurance premiums pay for these unwarranted and unethical services?
The rise in the use of psychotropic drugs in this country for children is inexcusable. Although substantial scientific data has warranted criticism and serious cause for alarm in prescribing all psychotropic drugs to children, rather than a decrease, its use has escalated. How can this be? Perhaps the easy drug access via "health” insurance coverage may be contributing to its alarming rise in children?
It remains to be seen whether the insurance industry will act on behalf of our children's safety and question their routine coverage of what should be labeled experimental and investigational substances.
Antibiotics and Ear Infections:
Repeated published studies indicate that antibiotics are ineffective for the treatment of ear infections and doctors should take a watch and wait approach. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement to that effect.
Not only ineffective for ear infections, the rampant use is creating numerous other health concerns. Regardless of the scientific evidence continued coverage for these services is unquestioned.
How long will the drug favored industries remain unchecked?
A recent paper published in the journal Pediatrics addressed the issue of pediatric safety as it pertains to spinal manipulative therapy. The review of the scientific literature spanned a period of 104 years, with visit frequency estimated at 30 million. Only 10 adverse events were associated with chiropractic care. Of the 10 cases, 5 patients experienced only minor adverse events (i.e., sore and stiff neck, sore back) that were self-limiting, did not require medical attention and cared for successfully by the treating chiropractor. Upon examining the literature of the remaining 5 cases, cause and effect inference was found to be inappropriate.
An objective conclusion from this data would be chiropractic care appears to be the safest form of health care for our children. But that is not what the news wires chose to publish. Their appetite for sensation and inadequate reporting announced, “Serious events may be associated with pediatric spinal manipulation”. In lieu of the many medical studies cautioning against numerous, accepted treatments for children, these headlines indicated strong bias from self interest groups which will continue to fuel insurance company double standards.
Documenting the Truth:
Yes, we need accurate, unbiased data and we need it now. The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association represents the largest body of pediatric chiropractors, world wide. The I.C.P.A. is the only free-standing organization outside the chiropractic college arena conducting research to establish accurate, published data about the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care for children and in pregnancy. I.C.P.A. members and their patients belong to the largest chiropractic practice-based research program in the world and are currently participating in a survey study entitled, "Iatrogenesis of Chiropractic Care for Children". The purpose of the study is to reveal any possible side effects or adverse reactions associated with chiropractic care in children. The data gathered will be submitted to and presented at various scientific conferences throughout the world. Data collection will proceed until thousands of pediatric cases are examined to address the issue of safety.
Preliminary data collection has been revealing to say the least. When being asked to write down any side effects or adverse reactions associated with their child under chiropractic care, the frequent responses from most parents have been similar to this, "Do you mean my child slept better, digested better, showed improved attention span, experienced better immunity?" In other words, according to the preliminary data collected the myth that chiropractic is not safe for kids may finally be put to rest and replaced with parental reporting that chiropractic care has numerous benefits for children.
Active Support and Participation:
In addition to research it is through public awareness and consumer demand that justice is served. The I.C.P.A. and H.P.A. offer on-going support through continued updates and resources on their websites, with free e-newsletters and of course by the published articles in Pathways magazine. Your continued subscription to Pathways is one way for you to be actively involved. Sales from Pathways Magazine contribute to the research validating the Wellness Lifestyle you choose for your families. Informing others about these helpful resources is another way for you to participate in this much needed change, I am reminded of this quote from Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Many thanks for your on-going support.
Jeanne Ohm, DC
About the Author:
Read Dr. Ohm's bio here.
Dr. Jeanne Ohm is also the Executive Editor of Pathways magazine, a quarterly publication offering resources for parents to make informed health care choices. Find out more about Pathways magazine.