Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why Doesn't OHIP Cover Chiropractic? (And an update on Jeffrey Needham)

(I decided to write this blog a while ago but I never got to publishing it - since I recently posted about Jeffrey Needham's woo-woo seminar this weekend, I thought it an appropriate time to publish this - though it is not near the whole story that I wanted to tell.

As an update to Jeffrey Needham's claims - he has been in trouble before.  The main page at has him listed for his anti-vax views and his views on pediatric chiropractic.  You might be interested in reading this.  Jeffrey Needham is heavy into woo-woo and is, definitely, anti-science.  If you're in Sarnia, you'll probably want to avoid him but if you do see him, tell him that I said 'Hi!')

For those of you who live, as I do, in the wonderful Province of Ontario, you're probably familiar with Chiropractic's status as it comes to funding from the province (0%). (Note: Some other provinces in Canada have either delisted Chiropractic or never covered it in the first place.)

As of December 1, 2004, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan pulled ALL funding for Chiropractic services. (I must address the argument that Chiropractors will often put forth - "Eye exams and physiotherapy were also delisted" but rather than ruin my point, it is at the end of this.*)

The reality is that leading up to 2004, a number of Neurologists warned about neck manipulations (by Chiropractors) causing strokes (in 2002). Shortly after, a study was published in the May 13, 2003 issue of Neurology that spoke to similar concerns.  One of the leading causes of Stroke in people under the age of 45 is neck manipulations by Chiropractors.

The efficacy of Chiropractic has been tested and remains to be seen.  Chiropractic's efficacy, if any exists, is related to musculoskeletal issues ONLY and likely only lower back pain - adjusting your spine will not (and does not) cure asthma, common colds, the flu, ear infections nor does it increase weight loss, reduce cholesterol or stop bed wetting (yes, some Chiropractors actually claim that "subluxations" (which have never been proven to exist) are the cause of these illnesses and conditions.)

To put it plainly, any Chiropractor who believes that "innate intelligence" and "subluxations" exist is not following science - and you should be wary of them. (Note: I find it amusing when a Chiropractor who has found the one true cure of most (all?) disease also practices acupuncture and the like. Isn't acupuncture also the one true cure?)
It is important to note that a "D.C." (Doctor of Chiropractic) is not an "M.D." (Medical Doctor) and that many DCs have no formal medical training. They should NEVER be your primary care provider.  
For more information about Chiropractic, check out Stephen Barrett, M.D.'s "Chiropractic's Dirty Secret"
Also see

*It is true that funding for eye exams and Physiotherapy also changed (for eye exams in November of 2004 and for Physiotherapy in April of 2005) but not as they did for Chiropractic.

Eye Exams
As of December 1, 2004, OHIP does not pay for Chiropractor (not a percentage, nothing) under any circumstance. Eye exams are covered for patients under 20 and over 65 and for anyone with conditions that affect the eyes - basically they simply stopped covering unnecessary annual/semi-annual examinations. Referrals from real Doctors (MD) result in OHIP covering eye exams (more info).

Similar changes were made to Physiotherapy coverage - it is covered for people 19 or under and for those 65 and older as well as anyone in a long-term care facility (of any age) and those who need in-home services or after having been hospitalized. (In other words, if you need it, OHIP will pay for it.) (more info)

0% coverage 100% of the time, period. OHIP does not pay Chiropractic fees.

1 comment:

C Woods said...

This all sounds very sensible and civilized to me ---unlike the health care mess on my side of the border.