By Amanda Donohue
ACA Immediate Past President Anthony Hamm, DC, passed the torch to ACA President David Herd, DC, at the House of Delegates meeting held Feb. 26, 2016 during ACA’s annual National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC) meeting in Washington, D.C. Dr. Herd graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and practices in Geneva, N.Y.
Why did you choose chiropractic as a career?
I developed lower back pain and bilateral sciatica while working my way through undergraduate school at the University of Buffalo. I consulted with the top orthopedic surgeon in Buffalo. He examined me, took X-rays and called me later that evening to tell me that I had spinal deformities causing nerve root pressure. He stated that there was nothing he could do to help and that I should quit school and enjoy life since I would probably be in a wheelchair in five or six years. I was urged by my mother and grandmother to visit a chiropractor. My problem gradually improved over many months of chiropractic care. I was a philosophy major at the time, and I was very attracted to pursuing a chiropractic career because of the natural self-healing approach.
What sparked your interest in getting involved with ACA?
Upon graduation, I was looking for a practice to purchase in upstate New York. Through that process, I met David Redding, DC, past chairman of the board of ACA, who was considering selling his practice in Dansville, New York, outside of Rochester. David arranged for me to work at the clinic of Frank Grayson, DC, in Rochester while he looked for a practice to purchase in North Carolina. Drs. Grayson and Redding encouraged me to become active in the local New York State Chiropractic Association (NYSCA) chapter. That was one of the best career moves I ever made. District 15 had a long history of leadership on the state and national levels. Dr. Redding, past ACA President Ken Padgett, DC, and the current ACA N.Y. Delegate John Gantner, DC, were all very active in the local chapter as were several state association leaders. A new practitioner could not have asked for better mentors. I was asked by Dr. Gantner if I would consider serving as his alternate a couple of years before he was elected ACA vice president in 1995. I have served in the HOD since that time.
What are the most important issues facing DCs? How can you help resolve these issues as president of ACA?
Those issues that are most important vary to some degree in relation to how long a DC has been in practice. For new practitioners, the No. 1 concern is career opportunities. For longer-term practitioners, it is maintaining practice satisfaction in a rapidly changing health care environment with increased burdens of documentation and data delivery. All practitioners are being affected by health care delivery and payment systems, which are undergoing seismic change. Pay-for-performance and other data- and quality-driven reimbursement models will be the norm by 2018. Individual practitioners must learn how to deliver and report on high-quality outcomes in order to compete for quality-based reimbursement. As the national chiropractic association, ACA is at the forefront of our profession’s initiatives for full inclusion in these new models. Old models of chiropractic solo practice are giving way to group practice and integrated practice models. One big hurdle to expanded opportunities in the integrated practice model has been our low reimbursement rates under fee-for-service models. This should become an advantage in reimbursement models based on quality and help open up more opportunities for our members.
What goals do you hope to achieve in your two-year term?
One of the important changes that has taken place at ACA under the leadership of the last couple presidents has been a movement away from the pursuit of individual legacy accomplishments. The focus has been on organizational accomplishment and teamwork. We have recently adopted several lofty consensus goals for the next year or two. They are the National Medicare Equality Petition, improved communications with all stakeholders, modernized corporate governance based on best practices and alignment of all our resources to support these goals. These are all measurable, realistic goals that we can achieve by working together.
What advice do you have for future DCs?
Find a mentor who exemplifies what you want in practice. Maintain relationships with those colleagues who bring out the best in you and your practice. When you move into a community, do so as a colleague, not a competitor. When deciding on where to practice, make contact with established doctors in the community. You will be pleasantly surprised by the assistance and advice they will offer. Support your professional associations; it is cheap insurance.
What are some hobbies you enjoy?
I love to take off on long rides on my road bike. I enjoy restoring and maintaining my 1824 home.
David Herd, DC, ACA member since 1980. Send suggestions for future member profiles to ACAnews@acatoday.org.