The number of patients who enter his chiropractic clinic looking for assistance with injuries sustained in motor-vehicle accidents a long time after the event is a growing concern for Dr. Chris Anderson.
Anderson is one of the partners that operate Harbour City Chiropractic in the city's north end. He said many car-crash victims who have sustained injuries that are treatable with chiropractic attention aren't aware that ICBC initiated its Chiropractic Treatment Program four years ago that can cover 100 per cent of their chiropractic costs, whether they are at fault in the accident or not.
HCC is one of a number of participating chiropractor clinics in the city, and across the province, that are involved in the program that sees ICBC pay the chiropractors directly so patients don't have to pay out of pocket and then get reimbursed at a later date.
Anderson said the program was established in 2009 after ICBC studied the data and determined that if crash victims who would benefit from chiropractic care received treatment early in the process, their recovery would be much faster, more beneficial for the patients and less costly to the system.
"ICBC decided that the less barriers there are to treatment, the outcomes for everyone concerned are much better and patients can resume the quality of life they had before the accident," Anderson said.
"The sooner the patients can get rid of the pain they are in, the more quickly and easily they can have a complete recovery from their injuries."
Anderson that, typically, many car-crash victims think their pain and discomfort will soon go away.
He said that, while this may be true in many cases, there are others in which the pain becomes more centralized in the patient's nervous system, which can lead to more longlasting chronic problems if they are not dealt with soon after the accident.
Anderson that until ICBC began its new program, many crash victims were placed in "difficult situations" in that many were off work due to their injuries and were simply unable to pay the costs of chiropractic treatments.
"We've found that many of our patients that are dealing with pain due to vehicle accidents typically don't come to see us until at least two and half months after the injuries were sustained," he said.
"But it's fact that once a person's nervous system becomes adapted to the pain, it becomes much harder to treat."
Anderson said ICBC's program was designed to help people get the help the need as soon as possible, but he's frustrated with how few people actually are aware of the initiative.
He said that ICBC does not direct who the patient sees for care and many doctors may not know about the program so it's ultimately up to patients to find out about the program themselves and which local chiropractors are part of it.
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