As we approach the end of 2014, we can and should look back on our personal lives, the association and profession to reflect on our successes and near misses. We can begin looking ahead to the next year or as Jimmy Buffett sings, “another trip around the sun.”
On a personal level we can build new friendships, begin a weight-loss program, add another ancillary service to our practice or learn a new skill. The ideas are endless and restricted only by our imagination.
From an association perspective, we look back on 2014 with mixed results. On the positive side of the ledger, ACA strengthened its financial position. We completed our national headquarters building renovation, providing a much brighter and more ergonomically sound work environment. From an advocacy approach, our Medicare Committee and staff have begun to establish meaningful working relationships with individual Medicare administrative contractors. This will result in a collaborative effort to reduce our error rates. In payment policy, we are working to develop meaningful tools to assist members with navigation of the new and emerging payment models associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These include accountable care organizations, patientcentered medical homes, community health centers and others.
ACA is responsible for a positive adjustment of relative values for chiropractic manipulative treatment codes, resulting in across-the-board increases in 2014 Medicare fees. We continue to work toward reimbursement for evaluation and management services in Medicare. ACA has also launched a new daily e-newsletter, Chiropractic Today, to update us on contemporary chiropractic topics and other health care news. We continue to support evidence in practice through our association with the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT). Putting more emphasis on research, evidence, clinical guidelines and care pathways will boost our ability to make consistent clinical decisions and support our role in care delivery.
As a profession, we have been successful in placing doctors of chiropractic on panels that are shaping the future of health care, which in turn enables us to advocate on behalf of our patient population. I thank each of those individuals for their tireless volunteer service. The success of our profession over the next decade is predicated on strong individual state and national organizational cooperation. That’s one area we must improve on. Collaboration, sharing of ideas and mutual advocacy efforts are critical to our mission.
We are a diverse group with differing clinical interests and expertise. Chiropractic medicine offers a unique and distinct approach to health care, but we are not separate from other disciplines. In fact, we should be a part of the health care team offering our unique perspective to health and wellness. Those who wish to keep us totally separate simply do not comprehend current health trends. Full integration into the health care system is critical to public trust and authority.
So what can we do better in 2015? We can become more patient-centered. We can support research through the NCMIC Foundation or the Lincoln College Education and Research Fund or your alma mater. We can improve our clinical skills. We can build relationships with other health professionals in our communities. We can contribute to community public health efforts. We can join an ACA Specialty Council. Each of us can recommend ACA membership to a colleague. We can attend the upcoming National Chiropractic Leadership Conference in February 2015. We can reach out to our congressional members and advocate for our patients. We can stop complaining and become a part of the solution.
Our patients deserve our best effort. Let’s not be satisfied with mediocrity.
We can do better!