DATA COLLECTION: Literature review and analysis of existing databases. Six types of barriers were examined, including legal, financial, professional, accessibility or geographic location, consumer preference, and self-imposed barriers.
RESULTS: Although research into the barriers of an expanded primary care role for chiropractors is inconclusive, several inferences can be drawn from this analysis. First, prevailing state practice acts preclude only a limited number of activities that are necessary for chiropractors to serve in a primary care capacity. The self-perception by a portion of the chiropractic profession that as neuromusculoskeletal system specialists, they are either uninterested or ill-prepared for providing primary care serves as a second barrier. Third, payment provisions that do not permit chiropractors to be reimbursed for primary care services significantly limit their ability to expand primary care capacity. Fourth, consumer perceptions of chiropractors as neuromusculoskeletal system specialists are a persistent barrier to expanding status. Given the current importance of managed care, the fifth and most crucial barrier for chiropractic may be managed care organizations' lack of interest in having chiropractors in primary care roles.
CONCLUSION: Research on the barriers to a more expanded primary care role for chiropractors is incomplete. The available research helps little in ruling out plausible barriers that might make it possible to narrow the scope of subsequent research.
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