Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 7, P442-448, September 2004

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An Evaluation of Medical and Chiropractic Provider Utilization and Costs: Treating Injured Workers in North Carolina



      To examine utilization, treatment costs, lost workdays, and compensation paid workers with musculoskeletal injuries treated by medical doctors (MDs) and doctors of chiropractic (DCs).


      Retrospective review of 96,627 claims between 1975 and 1994.


      Average cost of treatment, hospitalization, and compensation payments were higher for patients treated by MDs than for patients treated by DCs. Average number of lost workdays for patients treated by MDs was higher than for those treated by DCs. Combined care patients generated higher costs than patients treated by MDs or DCs alone.


      These data, with the acknowledged limitations of an insurance database, indicate lower treatment costs, less workdays lost, lower compensation payments, and lower utilization of ancillary medical services for patients treated by DCs. Despite the lower cost of chiropractic management, the use of chiropractic services in North Carolina appears very low.

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