Defense Health Care:

DOD Chiropractor Wage Rates

GAO-13-443R: Published: Mar 14, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 2013.

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Brenda S. Farrell
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What GAO Found

GAO found that DOD employs 90 chiropractors at 62 military treatment facilities as of January 2013. Further, the mean salary of DOD's federal civilian chiropractors is similar to the mean salary of those serving in comparable DOD federal civilian health care occupations. Specifically, we found that the mean salaries of our selected health care professions ranged from approximately $77,000 to approximately $94,000 with the mean salary for chiropractors approximately 7 percent higher than the lowest mean salary and approximately 12 percent lower than the highest mean salary. Although these health care positions have similar education and training requirements, they have some different responsibilities.

Why GAO Did This Study

In 2000, Congress mandated that the Department of Defense (DOD) develop a plan to provide chiropractic care as a permanent part of the Defense Health Program.

Prior to the establishment of DOD's chiropractic program, Congress directed DOD to conduct demonstration projects to evaluate the feasibility and advisability of expanding DOD's health system to include chiropractic care. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 directed the Secretary of Defense to establish a chiropractic demonstration project at a minimum of 10 military treatment facilities for 3 years. Following the demonstration project, DOD reported that providing chiropractic care was feasible, but not fiscally practical.

In 2012, Congress directed GAO to conduct a study on the wage rates of DOD chiropractors compared with the wages of health care professionals with similar training; skill sets; licensure requirements; certification requirements; and health care responsibilities.

For more information, contact, Brenda S. Farrell at (202) 512-3604 or

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