Grassroots Activism: You Are Vital to ACA
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Grassroots Activism: You Are Vital to ACA

Author: Jack Dusik/Thursday, January 07, 2016/Categories: January/February 2016

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By Jack Dusik

DOCTORS OF CHIROPRACTIC who take a leadership role in the profession by joining the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) enjoy many benefits.

Perhaps the most valuable benefit of joining the only national organization dedicated to advancing the profession is that by doing so, you have a dedicated team of experienced government relations professionals who make the profession’s voice heard by advocating in the halls of Congress, at regulatory agencies and in the White House. This ensures that chiropractic is not only treated fairly and on par with other health professions but is also viewed as a critical part of a modern, patient-centered healthcare delivery system.

ACA’s team of advocates has won numerous successes on your behalf, most recently by fending off legislation that would have subjected all chiropractic claims in Medicare to a program of “pre-authorization” review.

We believe that many more victories are imminent, including ensuring that DCs are fully integrated into the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, guaranteeing that services delivered by DCs are available to all beneficiaries in the military TRICARE system, securing the ability of chiropractors to enlist in the National Health Service Corps and enabling recently graduated DCs to participate in federal student loan repayment programs. These are but a few of the long-standing inequities ACA’s government relations team works daily to correct.

However, this important work is only one component of a successful campaign to create change within the public policy sphere of influence. The other, more vital, element of an effective advocacy program is you. ACA, like all professional associations, draws its strength from loyal members who serve as grassroots advocates.

Whether during the annual National Chiropractic Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., or back home, ACA members continuously raise the level of awareness about causes and issues of importance to the profession, increasing the likelihood that elected officials will pay attention.

ACA’s government relations professionals and grassroots activists, working together, are a powerful tool to bring about a transformation in health care, moving from a system of sick care to a system based on wellness and prevention that maximizes chiropractic’s potential to provide high quality, patient-centered care, while simultaneously cutting costs.

Equality for Our Patients

With that goal in mind, I am excited to tell you about ACA’s recently launched National Medicare Equality Petition, a major grassroots campaign to raise awareness of how the current Medicare system shortchanges seniors who want and need the essential services provided by DCs to stay healthy, pain-free and mobile.

As you know, the federal government continues to rely on an antiquated statute that discriminates against Medicare’s chiropractic patients by not covering medically necessary and mandated services delivered by chiropractic physicians. This injustice needs to stop, and ACA believes this new nationwide campaign will result in legislation that would achieve full physician status for DCs within the Medicare program. This initiative would significantly improve the health and wellness of our nation’s aging population — and your support is critical if this effort is to succeed.

This initiative is about the patients you serve, and together, we can finally bring an end to this long-standing, blatantly anti-competitive provision of Medicare that limits DCs’ participation.

Therefore, I encourage you to visit www.acatoday.org/equality, and sign the petition, then forward it to your colleagues, friends and patients, requesting they do the same. Once you sign up, you will begin receiving periodic, timely updates on ACA’s progress to ensure that any Medicare-covered service in the chiropractic physician’s scope of practice be made available to patients and that DCs are reimbursed fairly.

Jack Dusik is ACA’s senior director, federal government relations, of the public policy and advocacy department. 
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