Is “Expanded Practice” Our Pandora's Box?

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   A Chiro.Org Editorial ~ 9–13–2011

By Frank M. Painter, D.C.

I just read a Press Release from the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation (FVS) this morning, titled

Chiropractors Lash Out in Massive Campaign Against Accrediting Agency.

Previous press releases from this group have denounced (perhaps rightly) any movement to include prescribing rights for DCs, and this Blog has published extensively about both sides of that debate in the past. [1–15]

Personally, I think that seeking prescription rights is a bad idea because of the political and legal turmoil it will invite from Organized Medicine. The authors of the Foundation typically paint the "Pro Drug" movement as an attack against the idea of the Vertebral Subluxation and of the profession's historical foundation, as one that does not use drugs and surgery to accomplish our goals.

It's now time for the Profession to determine if this is "Chicken Little" paranoia,
or if the FVS has a valid concern that MUST be addressed.

According to their Press release, there is a "massive and historic outpouring" of dissatisfaction by "at least 6000 chiropractors" via "Facebook, Twitter and e-mail". The author goes on to state that "At issue is the systematic remaking of the profession by these groups into a branch of medicine."

OK, that got my attention.

NOTE: It may be true that this page has 6000 "members", but MANY of them (like myself) were added to that list without our knowledge or permission.   So their claim of 6000 "members" is spurious.   Further, even if it WAS true, 6,000 DCs represents less than 10% of the U.S. Profession. Hardly a ground swell.

I view splinter groups who want prescribing rights with a rather dim view, because the term "increased market share" invariably pops up somewhere in their impassioned plea for "expanded practice".

My natural reaction is the firm belief that, if those same individuals developed their ability to refer patients who needed temporary drug relief for co-management from a local MD, this would eventually lead to stronger professional relationships in their community, leading to more referrals from their medical counterparts, and the "increased market share" they had hoped for.

I don't believe that trying to co-opt medicine's legitimate right to prescribe will EVER generate that same good will, but that's just one man's opinion.

This press release does force us to ask (and answer) some serious questions:

  1. What percentage of the Profession actually wants prescription rights? I'm not talking about the
    "LIVE AND LET LIVE" contingent. I mean DCs who actually plan to prescribe.

  2. Why did the CCE remove the "no drugs and surgery" portion of the description of chiropractic?
    Who exactly encouraged this decision?

  3. Is the "Expanded Chiropractic Practice movement" really a last-ditch attempt by some (failing?)
    schools to shore up enrollment, simply to keep their doors open?

  4. Is the Profession financially prepared for the inevitable legal backlash from Organized Medicine?
    Please refer to references [9–14] for more about that very real topic.

  5. Is staging a protest in front of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity a sound idea?   Sure, this group is the administrative watchdog over the CCE, but are they also in a position to dictate policy to the CCE, on behalf of those protestors? Or could this backfire into another Life College fiasco, where the CCE loses it accreditation, and all the Chiropractic Schools suffer from the fallout? Is this the can of worms we really want to open?

I find myself asking many of the same questions the VS Foundation raises. I don't know if their approach is sound, so I believe it's time that OUR Profession speaks out, because there are a couple of tiny splinter groups at work, moving their own pet agendas forward, and unless the whole Profession is heard from, I fear that these small groups will have their way, and the rest of us will have to live with the consequences.

The following articles detail the progress of the expanded practice movement, from first wanting MUA (manipulation under anaestehesia), to injectable vitamins to finally wanting prescription privileges for things like steroids and muscle relaxers.

If you've been like me, standing on the side lines, waiting to see which way the wind blows, then I invite you to get informed, wake up, and make a choice.

If you are for expanded practice, then get out your checkbook, because every State Association is going to need a fat wad to pay for the court battles. If you're against, then let your State Association know that now.

The time for standing on the sidelines is over.


  1. Point/Counterpoint: Seeking A Second Opinion on Expanded Chiropractic Practice
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ June 5, 2011

  2. Best for the Profession or Best for the Public?
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ June 5, 2011

  3. Are Chiropractors Protecting Patients From Medical Care?
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ May 23, 2011

  4. The Evidence-based Rap, or What's Wrong With My Pain Meds?
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ April 23, 2011

  5. Just In Case You Don’t Believe Me…
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ April 12, 2011

  6. New Podcast Interview: Two College Presidents Discuss Prescription Rights for Chiropractors
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ March 31, 2011

  7. For Those Who Wish To Be Medical Chiropractors — Look, Before You Leap
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ March 13, 2011

  8. Majority of Alabama Chiropractors Favor Limited Prescription Rights
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ February 18, 2011

  9. UPDATE: Texas Judge Finally Rules on Diagnosis Issue
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ September 14, 2010

  10. The Council on Chiropractic Education Accreditation Standards Draft for 2012
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ September 17, 2010

    Chiro.Org Blog ~ July 21st, 2010

  12. AMA's “Contain and Eliminate” Tactics Are Alive and Well
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ July 15th, 2010

  13. A Constitutional Challenge to DCs Diagnosing – What This Means for Health Care
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ April 27th, 2010

  14. Live and Let Live?
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ March 24th, 2010

  15. Organized Medicine Attempts To Deny Chiropractors Right To Diagnose in Texas
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ February 4th, 2010


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