Veterans Administration Chiropractic Participation Clarification
Several weeks ago, many of our members received a letter from TriWest and EmpowerChiro regarding future participation in their veterans administration (VA) network. It raised some questions, and we hope the information below will answer many of your questions.
Although most veterans receive care at a VA facility, some services are available outside of the VA facility. The Patient-Centered Community Care Program (PC3) provides access via other networks and is a key method that patients use to access chiropractic care under the veterans administration system. Currently, Illinois is served by two different VA Third Party Administrators under PC3: TriWest and Health Net. The letter was sent only to those serving or previously having served veterans in the TriWest area.
First, the letter indicated that you had 30 days to decide. EmpowerChiro has informed the ICS that doctors may continue submitting applications to be a part of the chiropractic network for TriWest. Additionally, the official start date for new enrollees may change from the original indication of January 1.
Many doctors asked if this was a legitimate letter. Based on the information we have and conversations with the American ChiropracticAssociation’s (ACA) Governmental Relations department, EmpowerChiro is the chiropractic network for TriWest who has the PC3 contract with the veterans administration. The information in the letter is legitimate. However, the ICS does not encourage our doctors to participate or not participate in ANY networks. Individual offices and physicians must make These decisions based on your business and patient service analysis.
Jack Dusik, ACA’s senior director of federal government relations, recently clarified, “TriWest calling the Community Care Network ‘new’ in its letter to providers is a bit of a misnomer, as it is more an evolution of the VA’s response to congressional directives issued in recent law.” He added, “It’s important to understand that providers are not required to enroll in the EmpowerChiro network to treat veterans. Veterans may continue to access chiropractic care through the Veterans Choice Program or other non-VA coverage options. However, by failing to enroll in EmpowerChiro, chiropractors will not receive veterans administration referrals, limiting them to treat only veterans who walk in.”
The challenge with the Veterans Choice Program is that specific circumstances must be met, such as wait times must exceed 30 days, and a veterans administration facility cannot be easily accessible from the veteran’s home. These limitations make treating veterans under these circumstances challenging and the PC3 program more important to review.
- Doctors can still enroll, even though the 30-day timeframe has passed.
- PC3 is more accessible for chiropractic than the Veterans Choice Program.
- ACA’s response to the letter: http://my.acatoday.org/blogs/jack-dusik/2017/10/31/chiropractors-treating-veterans-asked-to-join-referral-network
- ACA information about the Veterans Programs: https://www.acatoday.org/Practice-Resources/Other-Federal-Programs/Veterans-Affairs
- Contact your legislators to increase chiropractic services offered at VA hospitals: http://cqrcengage.com/aca/action?4