NYSBC opinion regarding Durable Medical Equipment.

Education Law, Article 132, section 6551(3), states that chiropractors licensed in this State may not "prescribe, administer, dispense or use in his practice drugs or medicines." Such durable medical equipment as cervical collars, cervical pillows, traction kits, support belts, whirlpool equipment, orthotic and other non-electrical devices are not "drugs or medicines." Consequently, such items may be purchased without prescription, and, thus, may be ordered or recommended by chiropractors for their patients within the definition of chiropractic practice in Article 132.

Notwithstanding that chiropractic use of such durable medical equipment as described above may be within the lawful scope of chiropractic practice in this State, there is no legal requirement at this time that mandates insurance coverage of the cost of such items. I am advised by Members of the State Board for Chiropractic that most practitioners recommending the use of such devices for their patients will first contact a patient's insurance carrier to determine whether or not the plan provides such coverage, and then notify the patient so that an informed decision about treatment can be made.

You may wish to seek additional information about legal requirements for insurance reimbursement by contacting the department responsible for administering Insurance Law, namely, the New York State Insurance Department, Consumer Services Bureau, Empire State Plaza, Agency Building 1, Albany NY 12257, telephone (518)474-4556.

Norman G. Cohen
Executive Secretary

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