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Organized Medicine Attempts To Deny Chiropractors Right To Diagnose in Texas

Organized Medicine Attempts To Deny Chiropractors Right To Diagnose in Texas

The Chiro.Org Blog


The AMA has joined the TMA (Texas Medical Association) in trying to challenge Texas chiropractor’s “right” to diagnose. They are doing this under the guise of trying to halt expansions of the scope of practice of various alternative pratitioners. The AMA News web site currently brags that they are involved in fighting more than 300 scope-increasing bills around the country.

The TMA asserts that “Under Texas law, only physicians can diagnose medical conditions.” The TMA relies on the fact that the Texas Chiropractic Act, instead of using the term “diagnose,” uses the terms “analyze, examine, or evaluate the biomechanical condition of the spine and musculoskeletal system of the human body.”

The TMA’s hypertechnical reading of the word “diagnose” ignores the fact that the term has synonyms and that to “analyze, examine, or evaluate” is synonymous with “diagnose.” If they are successful, rule changes would make it impossible for a DC to treat patients, or at least to bill Insurers, bacause they could not fill in the diagnosis (Box 21) of the HCFA form.

Read more about this situation at the Texas Chiropractic Association website.

Read the obnoxious AMANews post: Organized medicine pushes back on expansions of scope of practice.

You may also want to make a donation to the Texas Chiropractic Association’s Litigation Fund to help halt the AMA’s aggressive pogrom against chiropractic.


This situation reminds me of this quote by Pastor Martin Niemotlier:


When the Nazis came for the Communists,
I remained silent; I was not a Communist.

When they locked up the Social Democrats,
I remained silent; I was not a Social Democrat.

When they came for the Trade Unionists,
I did not speak out; I was not a Trade Unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Jew.

When they finally came for me, there was no one left to speak out.

Let’s hope the profession rallies around this attack. Nobody likes becoming a statistic.

You may also want to read the follow-up piece titled:
Live and Let Live? ~ on March 24th, 2010

14 comments to Organized Medicine Attempts To Deny Chiropractors Right To Diagnose in Texas

  • Frank,

    I believe I mentioned this in a previous post, and was reminded of it again at a recent seminar done by Tom Necella, DC.

    The thing chiropractic is missing vs. other professions is unity. I grew up in a family of chiropractors so I believe I have heard almost everything there is about the political game.(We were pro ICA, ACA are enemies.)

    At this point, seeing further divisions in the profession, it has only made us more penetrable to bullying by other professions.

    The AMA has approximately 600,000 members. There are ONLY 59,000 or so chiropractors in all of the U.S.! How many belong to one, two or three of the popular organizations? How many participate? How many donate? The answer is not enough.

    In spite of our differences in the way we might practice, a common goal of a healthy profession should never leave our sites. It should take precedence beyond all else at this point. Unfortunately with politics this is rarely done.

    Unless you’re talking about M.D.’s, P.T.’s, Nurses…you name it. They have their act together when it comes to power in numbers.

    A bit of a rant, but just imagine the impossibility of a unified chiropractic profession taking any spine practitioners to court to stop them from any type of possible manipulation of the spine? (I said manipulation because only chiropractors adjust.)

  • Graeme

    Your comment (“I said manipulation because only chiropractors adjust.”) raises an interesting point. Kansas restricted PTs from doing ANY form of spinal manipulation. I always cringed when I saw chiropractic researchers calling the adjustment an SMT (after all, I’m a Palmer grad, and I love the word “adjust”).

    Unfortunately, as long as we grimly hang onto the defensive terminology BJ and his lawyers designed, for protecting chiropractors from being jailed for practicing medicine, we risk never-ending legal cases like this one in Texas.

    I know in my heart I am a better adjuster than any PT because my pride tells me so, and because I know how many hours I spent in adjusting classes. We’ve all been primed to believe the adjustment is radically different (and superior) to a “manipulation”.

    Historically, this has led the profession to fight to defend “adjusting subluxations”, while leaving manipulation for relief of pain, and for improvement of joint function WIDE OPEN for the PTs to move on in.

    I love the term subluxation, and adjust etc. But as long as we waste time quibbling with “other” DCs about terminology, we turn our backs while PT’s swoop in for the kill.

    I think we’d be MUCH better off if we fought them, to CLAIM spinal manipulation exclusively for DCs, unless the other provider gets the same level of training we do. After all, why should the public accept LESS than the high standards our profession has set?

  • This is the same battle chiropractors have been fighting Since the beginning. I would however say that it is the unity that we have that has helped win so many of these fights. Of course it would be great if we had more unity but compared to other professions we do quite well.

  • When are they ever going to grow up? I am next door to a dentist and I never tell him he can’t diagnose, that would be crazy!

  • Dr. Young

    Under the law in Florida there would be no fight here because it’s written in the law that we are Chiropractic Physicians, thus making their fight mute. It seems that the wording of the laws for chiropractors in Texas have been chosen poorly and probably a bit outdated to how far our profession has advanced in recent decades. I think this is a good opportunity for chiropractors in Texas and their health board to re-write their laws to better represent who we are and to prevent fights over semantics such as this.

  • The more things change the more they stay the same

    Do you remember the wilkes case?

    Any one want to bet a texas MD would testify in a malpractice case the DC hurt the patient because they did not diagnose an underlying condition .After they took away our right to diagnose.

    DOES THE PHRASE CATCH 22 MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU

  • John Raymond

    I think it was in NY, where 20 years ago they stated that PTs could manipulate, but only DCs could adjust VSC. Well nobody but us sees a difference, and when they tried to get PTs to stop they were told “to late”, they have been doing it too long to say they have to stop now.

    We need to shut down this philosophy of ours (if you can call it that) and get back to reality. We are being stagnated by it and others are leaving us in the dust.

    The truth is that it all comes down to money. For every pt. we help they lose out on thousands of possible dollars, and times are tough right now. So they need to blame someone for their lack of funds, why not the DCs?

    Until we move into the new century without the baggage, nothing will change. We should not be slaves to our history, nor idolize those before us. BJ had some interesting ideas, but we should not turn them into a religion, nor him into a godlike icon. He was just a man with an idea, and ideas should change with time and when new information becomes available. I love being a DC, and hate being a DC. I love what I can do for people with my hands, but hate having to shoulder the misconceptions that follow our profession.

  • Best of luck to everyone in Texas. This fight really shouldn’t still be going on. Every time I think we as a profession have made strides as far as public acceptance and solidified our place as musculoskeletal specialists… something like this happens.

  • nene

    This did not pop out of the blue. This effort(as far as I understand it) has been underway for years(officially), and is NOT limited to Texas. It would be prudent to spend some time looking/getting informed/involved at the info provided below:

    http://theintegratorblog.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=590&Itemid=189

    “The American Medical Association’s Scope of Practice Partnership (AMA SOPP) campaign, through which the AMA has been monitoring and typically fighting against scope expansions by non MDs since 2006 has its hands full. A chart from the AMA available here lists 154 separate legislative campaigns in various states in 2009 which it opposes. These are from professions ranging from psychologists, advance practice nurses and optometrists to naturopathic doctors and chiropractors and other nominally “CAM” disciplines. Below is the subset of actions related to complementary and alternative healthcare practices which made the AMA’s watch list.”

    “AMA’s Scope of Practice Partnership Targets 30 Legislative Efforts of DCs, NDs, LAcs and Certified Professional Midwives in 2009

    Summary: The American Medical Association has been working in opposition to over 30 state legislative actions of naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners and Certified Professional Midwives in 2009. The list of these actions, published here, is part of a broader list of 154 against all non-MD profession which the AMA as part of that guild’s Scope of Practice Partnership campaign (AMA SOPP). The campaign, begun in 2006, is presented by the AMA as a public safety concern, though little evidence has materialized suggesting that this is other than an effort to keep other professions from entering the MDs turf.”

    AMA Scope of Practice Campaign

    http://www.oacns.org/imported%20files/news/Scope%20of%20Practice%20Campaign%20by%20State.pdf

  • Thanks for the article. Texas Chiropractors have to be (more) aware of pending legislation.

  • chiropractor

    Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

  • chiropractor

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  • @ chiropractor

    You can follow us on Twitter at @Chiroorg.

  • John Raymond

    They state that only physicians can diagnose, right? Then why don’t we just lock in the term Chiropractic Physician? I have heard the term numerous times. Besides that, I can not believe this has even gain ANY ground. That most politicians (not in AMAs pocket) would not even consider it an issue. They cannot remove us from doing something we have been doing for decades (a century?) Just like they can’t stop NY physical therapist from manipulating, since they have been it so long as part of thier practice. Remember the DCs there didn’t care if they manipulated as long as they did not “adjust subluxations”. Well, that was stupid since the public does not know and will never know the difference no matter what any idoligist will tell you. What else would they be adjusting if not subluxations (I prefer joint dysfunction)

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