Health minister hints that changes are coming to chiropractic subsidies

Health minister hints that changes are coming to chiropractic subsidies

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen is hinting that changes are coming to the province's subsidy of chiropractic care.

"I've had discussions with the chiropractors this week about the future of their funding," said Goertzen.

"Those discussions are ongoing but I think they are happening in a co-operative way, recognizing that we value their contribution to the system but also recognizing we have fiscal challenges in terms of making the health-care system sustainable."

The province currently subsidizes patients for up to 12 chiropractic visits a year for spinal and pelvic adjustments, and adjustments of the extremities.

In 2016, the province paid out nearly $12 million for claims from more than 166,000 patients. As for whether or not the same subsidies will continue, Goertzen said an answer is coming.

"I would expect that relatively shortly within a week or so you'll be able to have a firm answer on that," said Goertzen, adding "it's respectful for them (chiropractors) to keep those conversations between us at this point."

Goertzen said chiropractors will have to play a role in keeping health funding manageable.

"This is an all hands on deck effort to ensure that we have sustainability in the healthcare system today, tomorrow and into the future, he said.

"I think chiropractors understand that, they understand that they're part of that all hands on deck strategy. And I'll say that they've been very understanding of the need to be part of the solution."

The current contract with chiropractors runs until 2020 but Goertzen said the government is not opening the contract without chiropractors' consent.

"We want to do this in a co-operative way," Goertzen said.

"That's why we met with them right after the budget, had some very good discussions and not just about funding but also about their role in the healthcare system. And those are continuing on in a co-operative way."

Chiropractic services have been covered by Manitoba Health since 1969.

Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia all offer some form of public coverage, but only for limited groups, such as seniors and people on social assistance.

Ontario delisted chiropractic coverage in 2004.