August 22, 2011 — In an effort strongly supported by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC), 15 members of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee have requested that the Department of Defense (DoD) address disparities in its treatment of doctors of chiropractic.
In an Aug. 5 letter to Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the bipartisan group noted that pay and job classification disparities have resulted in doctors of chiropractic who treat patients at military treatment facilities (MTFs) being compensated at much lower rates than providers with comparable, or even lesser, training, skill sets and responsibilities.
They urged Woodson to examine the more equitable system used by the Department of Veteran Affairs healthcare system to integrate chiropractic and adopt a similar approach.
The group also pointed out that institutional bias against doctors of chiropractic among DoD healthcare officials has resulted in the active-duty military patient population having greater difficulty accessing chiropractic care and in unnecessary restrictions placed on DCs in performing their services.
To address this, the legislators asked Woodson to evaluate the current supervisory procedures of DCs and to give serious consideration to having a DC as the chiropractic service leader for each branch of the military, as is the case with other specialty groups in TRICARE, the military’s healthcare system.
“I would like to thank congressmen Mike Rogers and Dave Loebsack for spearheading this effort,” said ACA President Dr. Rick A. McMichael. “The benefit provided by doctors of chiropractic to our brave men and women in uniform is integral to their recovery from injuries and their overall health and well-being. Impeding DCs from providing this care is a disservice to our troops.”
“The Association of Chiropractic Colleges applauds this expression of support by members of the House Armed Services Committee for continuing the full integration of the services provided by doctors of chiropractic into the DoD,” said ACC President Dr. Richard Brassard. “We are optimistic that this strong letter will spur positive change.”
In addition to Rogers (R-AL) and Loebsack (D-IA), the letter was signed by Reps. Todd Aiken (R-MO), Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ), Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Larry Kissell (D-NC), Frank A. LoBiondo (R-NJ), Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Bobby Schilling (R-IL) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org