June 17, 2011 — The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles certain employees to take unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons without jeopardizing their group health insurance coverage.

Eligible employees are entitled to 12 work weeks of leave during an annual period. Leave is authorized for a number of reasons, which include: the birth of a child; the placement with the employee of an adopted child; caring for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job; military caregiver leave; and other reasons.

At times, chiropractors may be called upon by their patients to certify leave under the FMLA. The FMLA regulations only allow DCs to certify leave for care in instances of manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation, and the subluxation must be demonstrable by x-ray.

Certifications provided by DCs for any care beyond this limited coverage will not be accepted. The complete FMLA regulations are accessible here.

It is also helpful for you to become familiar with the FMLA certification form. Amending federal regulations like those in place for Medicare and FMLA, which limit the scope of practice of doctors of chiropractic, is a major focus of ACA’s lobbying efforts.

Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org