December 15, 2011 — The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) received a recommendation for a one-year continuing accreditation following a Dec. 14 hearing before the Department of Education’s (DOE) National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI).
A one-year continuing accreditation means that the council’s federal recognition is renewed with the requirement that it provide additional information in 12 months. The decision indicates that CCE substantially meets NACIQI’s criteria but must address specific issues to be considered in full compliance.
In addition to CCE’s own testimony, representatives of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), representing 15,000 members; the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC), representing all accredited chiropractic colleges; and the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) provided testimony recommending that CCE receive continuing accreditation and praising the agency for its efforts to improve chiropractic education and prepare students to meet public health needs.
Dissenting opinions were also expressed by several groups and individuals, who cited concerns about CCE’s leadership, performance and its recently approved revision of chiropractic education standards. NACIQI determined that many of these issues are out of the purview of the reaccreditation process; however, the committee did require CCE to improve communication with its constituents over the next year and to “demonstrate compliance with section 602.13 dealing with the wide acceptance of its standards, policies, procedures and decisions, and how its standards advance the quality of chiropractic education.”
In respect to the critical role that CCE plays for the chiropractic profession, ACA’s Executive Vice President William O’Connell put the matter into perspective, stating that “when healthcare reform is fully implemented, an estimated 32 million previously uninsured Americans will have coverage for their health care needs. Since doctors of chiropractic serve as portal of entry providers in every state, students must be trained in a wide range of skills in order to meet the demands of the public and of state licensing requirements. CCE’s standards prepare our students for their future responsibilities.”
“Chiropractic colleges are providing an excellent, quality education,” added David O’Bryon, ACC’s executive director. “CCE’s rigorous standards and policies have helped ensure those high standards that the public has come to expect.”
Members of the education community, some of whom have worked directly with CCE on accreditation for their institutions, also provided testimony bolstering the recommendation for CCE accreditation.
DOE staff person Rachael Shultz, who reviewed CCE as part of the accreditation process, noted that CCE leadership was very open to fixing the 43 regulatory compliance deficiencies identified during her review. She noted that because of recently updated Higher Education Act (HEA) regulations, it is typical for agencies under review now to have more findings than in the past.
The hearing served to alert everyone of the critical role CCE plays in the chiropractic profession. The availability of federal loans for chiropractic students and state licensing for doctors of chiropractic are all contingent upon the federal recognition that CCE accreditation provides. As FCLB President Lawrence O’Connor, DC, testified: “Without CCE, state licensing [for doctors of chiropractic] would grind to a screeching halt.”
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org