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Do I need a referral to see a chiropractor?

ReferralIf your health plan requires you to get referrals before seeing medical specialists, you may wonder if you need a referral before seeing a chiropractor. As a chiropractor for more than 20 years, I have many patients who ask if they can make an appointment with me directly, or if they need another doctor to refer them to my care.

The quick answer to the question is that in most cases the answer is NO.  Chiropractors are considered as primary level physicians in Virginia and patients may access them directly without a medical referral.

What to Do If Your Health Plan Does Not Cover Chiropractic Care

If your insurance does not cover the cost of chiropractic care, other payment options are available for you. Many chiropractors will try to work with you, because they do not want to turn away patients in need of treatment. Payment options include:

  • Health Savings Account: These accounts, also known as HSAs, allow you to set aside pre-tax money to pay for medical expenses including chiropractic care.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) can also be used to pay for chiropractic treatment.
  • Care Credit: This special credit card is used for medical treatment only. You can sign up for Care Credit at a doctor’s office.
  • Denefits: This payment plan can bill you monthly to cover expenses including chiropractic treatment.
  • Discount Medical Plans: You can sign up for discount medical plans that can significantly lower your treatment cost. At Precision Spinal Care, we use a discount medical plan called Chiro Health USA.
  • Paying out of pocket: If you prefer to avoid insurance or medical plans, you can pay out of pocket for your treatment.

Relationships Between PCPs and Chiropractors

Primary care providers (PCPs) often do not have formal referral relationships with chiropractors. This is one of the main reasons that it can be difficult to get a referral directly from a PCP. However, almost two-thirds of PCPs have recommended a patient see a chiropractor. Of these, around 87% of PCPs have recommended that patients seek out a chiropractor on their own, instead of being referred to one.

Keeping All Your Doctors on the Same Page

Even though seeing a chiropractor does not require a referral, it is still a good idea to make sure that your PCP is aware that you are seeing a chiropractor. As a patient at Precision Spinal Care, we will proactively reach out to your PCP and send them your medical notes from our office.

One of the big reasons for this is to make sure that your care is coordinated in the most efficient way possible. This saves you both time and money as you treat your medical condition. Your PCP can help your chiropractor best meet your needs by:

  • Sending medical records or reports to your chiropractor: By sharing your medical records directly with your chiropractor, your PCP can help your chiropractor decide on your treatment plan. Before starting treatment, your chiropractor will want to make sure that your medical condition is fully assessed. Your medical records are an important component of this care.
  • Sharing imaging results with your chiropractor: If you have had tests like x-rays or MRIs, the results of these tests can be crucial for your chiropractor. These tests can show your chiropractor what is happening in your spine. It is best to share existing records and not repeat tests unnecessarily.
  • Accepting other specialist referrals from your chiropractor if your chiropractor thinks it is appropriate: Sometimes, your chiropractor will decide that chiropractic care is not the best choice to treat your condition. By allowing your PCP and chiropractor to have an open channel of communication about your care, your chiropractor can inform your PCP about their recommendations for how best to treat you.
  • Some specialties your spine care doctor may refer you out to:
    • Emergency care
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Neurology
    • Neurosurgery
    • Pain management
    • Orthopedic surgery

Referrals at Precision Spinal Care

You do not need a referral to make an appointment with me at Precision Spinal Care. As a certified NUCCA chiropractor and credentialed spine care specialist, I am used to integrating your medical care with other providers. At your first visit, I will review any medical records that you or your doctor provide. Then, I will fully assess your condition with a thorough spine exam and a discussion about your medical problems.

After your exam at the first visit, we will discuss my evaluation. If chiropractic is not the best solution for your needs, I will recommend the type of specialist who is most appropriate for you.

If chiropractic care is the best way to meet your care goals, we will work together to develop a plan to meet your needs. I make sure to set reasonable expectations and milestones for your recovery. At regular intervals, I will reevaluate you to make sure you are meeting these goals and that chiropractic remains the best choice for you.

We understand that you need to explore all your options when you look for expert chiropractic care. At Precision Spinal Care, we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs and discuss all the options with you and your family.

Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak to the doctor or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment through our webpage.

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