NCLC General Session: Essential Role of Chiropractors in Primary Care

Speaker Margaret Flinter, PhD, APRN, to share insights into how chiropractors make an impact at community health centers.

NCLC 2018 general session featured speaker Margaret Flinter, PhD, APRN, is senior vice president and clinical director of the Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI), one of the country’s largest federally qualified health centers. She also founded CHCI’s research and development arm, the Weitzman Institute. Flinter co-hosts a weekly radio show, “Conversations on Health Care,” discussing issues related to health policy, reform and innovation. Here we pose several questions about her upcoming presentation, “Transforming Primary Care: The Essential Role of Chiropractors on the Primary Care Team.”
Flinter’s presentation takes place on Friday, March 2. For complete conference information and schedules, click here.

How did you become interested in the topic you are presenting?

More than 10 years ago, Dr. Jim Lehman from the University of Bridgeport and I met for the first time, precipitated by a federal grant opportunity to address bringing chiropractors into community health centers. We weren’t successful with the grant application—but we were very successful in immediately recognizing the potential for our respective patients, students and organizations in finding a way to collaborate. As the epidemic of opioid use and addiction took hold in our state and country, we grappled with the need to study, identify and implement new ways to approach pain in its acute and chronic forms. We again came together to consider whether the formal integration of chiropractors in primary care—particularly in what we call “safety net settings” such as community health centers that serve 24 million people across the country—would be an effective and perhaps transformative strategy. And it has been. Today, we can’t imagine practicing primary care without our chiropractic partners. I want to emphasize that my talk will focus on team based-care in general and why it is more satisfying and effective for patients and providers alike. I think the urgency of the opioid epidemic and the need to effectively treat pain is a great lens through which to look at team-based care and the value of chiropractors on the team.

Who should attend your presentation and why?

Anyone interested in practice transformation, health policy and the future of health care!

What about your presentation topic may surprise people?

I think people may be surprised at the size, depth and breadth of the community health center movement across the United States, the commitment of the federal government to supporting primary care for low-income and vulnerable populations, and the research and innovation that are underway in this system—and what that means to chiropractors in practice, training and policy development.

Are there any new developments in your specialty area that make your presentation at NCLC 2018 especially relevant?

I think the national transformation to what we call “value-based” insurance design in Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance, as well as the increasing burden on individuals with high out-of-pocket expense, has created an urgency around finding new ways to improve health outcomes and the patient experience, and to reduce costs. Team-based primary care that is data driven and patient centered and that addresses as many of the patients’ needs as possible within one accountable system is clearly one strategy. At the same time, I see a generational change in young people coming into health care; they want the social connection and communication in diversity that larger teams and practices can offer.

What’s your best advice to health care providers in respect to steps they can take today to better prepare for the future?

Master your practice, but reach out to partners and engage with other providers, systems and policymakers. Make research a priority within your system and profession. None of us can create a satisfying and effective health care system alone. We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years—but we have a long way to go.

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Learn more from Margaret Flinter about this topic by joining us Feb. 28-March 3 in Washington, D.C. Register for the annual meeting today by clicking here. Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #NCLC2018.