This is my last article in ACA News
as ACA’s chairman of the board. My two-year term concludes at the end of February 2016 at NCLC. I’ve tried in past articles to highlight that chiropractic’s future depends on our education and competencies. That chiropractic physicians must gain cultural authority as experts in the treatment of human conditions, injuries and ailments. That we must make it clear and demonstrate to all decision-makers and the public that we are essential to the health and wellness of the American people. We must unite in our goals and strategies to these ends. One need not look too far to see that other professions are mastering the approach. They are staking a claim and attempting to gain cultural authority and reimbursement for what have traditionally been chiropractic services.
One point that those same professions have in common is that they are mostly united in their efforts and have embarked on ambitious legislative agendas. The chiropractic profession, on the other hand, tends to be easily polarized. There are those who believe that we should narrow our focus or that we should return to language and practices that are more than 100 years old and not look to the future. I often hear that participation or integration in the healthcare system is unnecessary because DCs can practice as all-cash providers without rules and regulations and that patients will see the miracle of chiropractic and will be willing to come to us directly and pay for our services out-of-pocket. Understand, that the perceived island in the storm that a cash practice seems to be, is unrealistic.
If we want to compete with other providers, we will have to integrate into the system. Laws and reimbursement parity that allow us to compete on a level playing field will eliminate financial barriers for our patients. If other providers are able to offer services that we provide with no out-of-pocket expense to the patient, then there is no fee that can compete with free.
So while other professions are fully engaged, our profession is sitting on the sideline disengaged and disenchanted. Members of the “no CA.”
Ultimately, once we have made ourselves competitive and united on these points, just one last piece to the puzzle remains: Nothing gets done without enabling legislation. National and state enabling acts determine scope. Some professions have an advantage in that they are starting fresh, while we are trying to reform laws written decades ago, with “stay out of jail language” that does not apply to the modern practice of chiropractic. We must be realistic about the language we use and its implications to our profession and patients. ACA has formed a coalition with other major chiropractic organizations to move the profession forward and to meet the needs of our patients.
Finally, individual DCs need to be active in three more areas if we do not want our precious profession to be stolen by others. We all must be members of ACA, contribute to the profession and urge our patients to sign the petition for Medicare statutory change being promoted by the whole profession (www.acatoday.org/equality/doctors
). We can do this if we unite and speak with one voice. ACA has the tools and strategies, but we need your time, talent and financial support to get it done.
Think about it. For only $55 a month, you can be an ACA member. One or two patient visits a month or the cost of going out to dinner could make the difference in your ability to thrive in practice. Give yourself a fighting chance: If you want to be able to practice all of the services that the chiropractic profession has pioneered; if you want to be treated the same as other physicians; and if you want the financial barriers removed for your patients, join ACA’s team and recruit a colleague, because ultimately, it’s all about the legislation.