3 The Most Prevalent Health Care Fraud of All
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Dynamic Chiropractic – July 16, 2001, Vol. 19, Issue 15

The Most Prevalent Health Care Fraud of All

By Chester Wilk, DC
I believe there is a fraud so rampant and costly to the American people that no one can put a price tag on it; that it is well into the billions of dollars a month, and that it creates unnecessary suffering - even death. What makes it even more insidious is that it exists on a grand scale, victimizing millions of people every year, and the American people are not even aware that it exists, although we are the victims. Can you guess what kind of fraud it is? I call it fraud by exclusion.

For example, the United States government selected 200 leading low back pain experts to research all of the finest, scientifically-based literature they could gather from around the world to determine what treatments are the best for most low back pain. After going through tens of thousands of scientific publications, and selecting only the finest studies, the government recommended spinal manipulation as the safest and therapeutically superior treatment for most low back pain.*

The U.S. government study also criticized excessive disc surgery. A Johns Hopkins study revealed that there were 80,000 unnecessary disc surgeries being done every year. That's more than 1,500 every week!

How did the American Medical Association respond to the government study? Incredibly, it ignored the U.S. government guidelines and retained a medical writer and two MDs to write its own guidelines four months after the government guidelines. The AMA guidelines claimed "all treatment options" for low back pain were included, while excluding any reference to spinal manipulation. How can the AMA claim to have any intellectual honesty on health care matters whatsoever, when it shows such scandalous disregard for the obvious truth supported by U.S. government studies?

Statistics show 250 spinal disc surgeries being done per 100,000 population in Utah, compared to only three disc surgeries per 100,000 population in England. Does this mean that everybody with a "bad back" moved to Utah, or is there a more insidious implication?

The conclusion and solution to what must be done should be painfully obvious.

We need closer interprofessional cooperation of all health care disciplines, and the utilization of the best treatments that each profession offers. If a certain method of treatment is proven to be superior, we need to embrace it. If it is proven to be less effective, ineffective or even dangerous, we need to abandon it. While this sounds simple and basic, let's look at the facts:

  • A medical/chiropractic research team at the University of Saskatchewan found within a study group of 171 patients that, who were medically unresponsive low back pain sufferers for seven years, 87 percent got results within three weeks under chiropractic care. One year later, this group was revaluated and found that their ailments remained corrected.


  • The British government completed major 10-year randomized control trials on chiropractic and found it to be more therapeutically effective than medicine in some areas, by as much as a 2-1 advantage.


  • A study involving two hospital orthopedic wards in the Chicago area compared chiropractic and medical care. The hospital using chiropractic care was sending patients home well from its orthopedic ward seven to nine days before the medical ward did.


  • AVMED, one of the largest HMOs in the southeast United States, conducted a clinical study of 100 medically unresponsive patients sent to a local chiropractor. The overall results showed an 86 percent success rate for this group within three weeks. Notably, 12 cases in this group were diagnosed by MDs as needing disc surgery. Within three weeks, all 12 cases had their problems completely corrected with chiropractic adjustments. None needed disc surgery.


  • California and Oregon workers' compensation studies showed that patients under chiropractic care for similar back pain got patients well at one half the time and cost as those under medical care.


  • The Utah workers' compensation board found a 10-to-1 economic advantage of chiropractic over medical care for similar back ailments.

Simple logic and common sense dictates that with all of these advantages, the medical community should overwhelmingly embrace chiropractic within its realm of expertise. Instead, it isolates chiropractic from 98 percent of all the hospitals in America. Does this make any sense?

Not only should chiropractors be in hospitals, but they should be gatekeepers working with medical physicians and utilizing the best that each profession has to offer. When this day arrives, we will see health care take a giant step forward. Until then, we are witnessing what is, in my opinion, abusive and massive health care fraud, based on exclusion and victimization of an unsuspecting society.

  • Bigos, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults, Clinical Practice Guideline No. 14. AHCPR Publication No. 95-0642. December 1994.

  1. David Cassidy,DC, Kirkaldy Willis, MD, University of Saskatchewan, 1985.
  2. T.W. Mead,FRCP, British Medical Research Council, 1990.
  3. Per Freitag,MD,PhD, U.S. Federal Court testimony, Chicago, IL, May 1987.
  4. Herbert Davis,MD, AVMED Health Maintenance Organization, Miami, FL, 1982.
  5. Richard Wolf,MD, California workers' compensation records, 1971.
  6. Rolland Martin,MD, Oregon workers' compensation records, 1971.
  7. Kelly Jarvis,DC, Reed Phillips, DC, Utah State Workers' Compensation Board, 1991.

Dr. Chester Wilk's book, Medicine, Monopolies, and Malice, provides documentation for the above information, and is available from the author.

Chester Wilk,DC
5130 Belmont Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60641-4206

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