The regulation of chiropractors and physiotherapists prevents efficient and equal competition
On 5 December 2013 the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority published an analysis of the markets of private chiropractors and physiotherapists. The analysis shows that the current regulation of the practice sector on the chiropractor and physiotherapist markets prevents efficient and equal competition between enterprises. It also contributes to a considerable loss to consumers and society.
The Danish people could get more chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy for the same money if the regulation was structured more appropriately. The existing regulation restricts the chiropractors and physiotherapists potential for operating an efficient business and expanding their business.
The majority of treatments provided on the chiropractor and physiotherapist markets are subject to comprehensive regulation. Conditions such as price, supply and ownership are regulated. The regulation restricts access to obtain a provider number and therefore shields the practices in the practice sector against competition.
The analysis shows that chiropractors and physiotherapists find that specific elements of the existing regulation restrict their potential for operating an efficient business and expanding their business.
In order to elucidate the size of the socioeconomic loss caused by the regulation, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority has made productivity and potential calculations, for example. Estimates show annual savings potential of DKK 267 million if half of the providers, i.e. those with the highest number of treatments per patient, reduced the number of treatments to the same level as the average provider.
The analysis points out that the regulation could be structured more appropriately. The analysis particularly gives reason to consider whether the restriction of numbers, the capacity restrictions (particularly for physiotherapists, the fee system (the fixed rates and the rate structure) and the ownership provisions are expedient.
The consumers experience good service, short waiting times and accessibility among chiropractors and physiotherapists.
In the past two years, four out of ten Danes have been treated by a chiropractor and/or a physiotherapist. For these services, they – together with public funds, the mutual health insurance company ‘Sygeforsikringen “danmark”‘ and private health insurance schemes – have paid approx. DKK 5.4 billion altogether over the past two years.