President Clinton Signs Into Law Permanent Chiropractic Benefit for Military

President Clinton Signs Into Law A
Permanent Chiropractic Benefit for Military

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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NOTE:  This press release from the ACA fails to mention the ongoing involvement of the ICA in discussions with the Committee on Veterans Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, or any of their ongoing legislative efforts.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ Culminating nearly a decade of joint lobbying efforts by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC), President Bill Clinton yesterday signed into law historic legislation mandating that chiropractic care be made available to all active duty personnel in the United States armed forces.

ACA Chairman Dr. J. Michael Flynn called the signing of the law the biggest chiropractic legislative victory in 26 years. "A whole new health care system one of the largest in the nation will now be opened up to the chiropractic profession. For the first time, all active duty military personnel will be guaranteed access to a permanent chiropractic benefit," Dr. Flynn stated. "Most importantly, we have achieved inclusion on a broad scope basis, and have successfully avoided a very narrow, Medicare-like benefit," Dr. Flynn added.

The law, formally known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, requires access to chiropractic services "which includes, at a minimum, care for neuromusculoskeletal conditions typical among military personnel on active duty."

According to ACA officials, passage of the legislation required years of effort and occurred despite powerful opposition by the Department of Defense (DoD) and various medical groups.

"This was a difficult and protracted battle," said Dr. James A. Mertz, president of the ACA. "We had to fight a hostile and entrenched bureaucracy every step of the way. The key to this victory was persistence and hard work. The ACA and ACC kept pressing Congress on the issue. We simply refused to give up," said Dr. Mertz.

The law requires that full implementation of the benefit be phased in over a five-year period, throughout all three service branches of the military. When completed, all active duty personnel stationed in the United States and overseas are to have access to the chiropractic benefit. The law further requires the DoD to develop, by March of 2001, a full "implementation plan" to ensure the benefit is adequately provided. ACA and ACC also fought for and won a provision within the law requiring that DoD consult with the chiropractic representatives serving on the Chiropractic Health Care Demonstration Project's (CHCDP) Oversight Advisory Committee regarding the development and implementation of the phase-in plan. According to ACA officials, the president's signing of the legislation could result in the commissioning of doctors of chiropractic as officers in the military.

SOURCE American Chiropractic Association

10/31/2000 17:27 EST

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