The Significance of Recent Political Events

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The profession is quickly polarizing into two extreme groups and there does not seem to be any room for compromise as witnessed by the recent furor over the move to broaden the chiropractic law in some sates and the expansion of CCE requirements while at the same time, attempting to get rid of certain terms that are traditionally chiropractic. The gauntlet has been thrown down and I do not believe there is any hope of a meeting of the minds. Here are the two positions as I see it. The practice broadening chiropractors (PBC) want to do just that, expand the practice of chiropractic as far into the practice of medicine as they can. Much like the practice of osteopathy did toward the middle of the last century, until by the end of the 20th century there was no difference between osteopathic medicine and allopathic medicine. The problem that confronts the PBCs is that they do not have the 125 years that osteopathy had to accomplish that task. They have already broadened the laws to allow chiropractors to do anything and everything permissible under the state laws and that has not been successful to their satisfaction. The PBC profession is still not growing and in fact is dwindling. Their only hope is to go the route of osteopathy but do it in a much shorter time and at the same time stem the influx of chiropractors until they reach that point. They are in a precarious position of wanting to limit the profession but not to the point of causing it to die. So they need to make sure that they keep the number of chiropractors entering the profession low enough that there is no glut causing the profession to die because of too many DCs, until the time that they can fill their perceived need for chiropractic physicians. Too many chiropractors and there will be no incentive to enter the profession, too few and the schools will not survive. They have only survived these past few years by raising tuition and only been able to raise tuition because of student loans. They are no longer able to do that. They have pretty much maxed out already, a problem all colleges and universities are experiencing. When the cost of tuition reaches the point that getting a four or eight year education can not be recouped, especially in light of the uncertainty of the health field, future enrollments will drop even more than hey already have.
While the PBCs feel the future and survival of the profession lies in expanding the practice they realize that at least for the time being they can only hope to fill the family general practitioners niche and that itself is a limited field. As specialties in medicine top out more MDs will choose to become GPs even though that is not where the money or prestige is, but it looks like the money will not be in the health field at all. Who knows, perhaps the DOs will begin to manipulate again and the added service the chiropractor is trying to provide (“adjusting”) will only be a duplication of osteopathy. That’s the dilemma that those who want to broaden the profession are in and what motivates their recent actions.
So, what’s the other side doing and who are they? While the practice broadening chiropractors are chiropractors with differing goals (everything from wanting to give drugs to those who want at least the right to do it), the practice limiting chiropractors (PLC) are those who appear to want to only correct subluxations or to keep chiropractic at the status quo. One thing they do not want is the CCE controlling their right to practice or require them to do more things than they want to. That might be the only thing this group has in common. There are many subgroups in this category. First you have the schools and those who are associated with them. Judging from what I have observed on the internet relative to the recent political events, the schools want nothing to do with this discussion. They are without doubt stuck in the middle. Many of the schools have PLCs as their supporters but they cannot afford to cross the CCE. If you are a student or associated with a school you are scared to death of the CCE. The servants of the profession have become the masters. They have a history of forcing the closing of two schools and removing the full accreditation of two others.
This puts those who are opposed to the PBC model in an awkward position. The PBC has a strangle hold on the profession, controlling accreditation, national board exams and most state boards. It’s pretty difficult to go against them. So what is the plan of action other than writing letters to the Dept. of Education and expecting them to give the accrediting agency a slap on the wrists and that will solve the problem. Well, the plan is that there is no plan! Okay, maybe some of the leadership has some idea as to what should be done like start a new and second accrediting agency. Oh wait, we did that once. It did not work because most of the schools did not support it. Now the CCE is further entrenched and none will support it. Some may have an idea but no one is sharing it with me and that’s okay. Perhaps there is some bright young chiropractic leader on the horizon, sort of a 30 year old BJ Palmer. If there is he better show himself soon. From what I’ve observed, he’s sure not among the leadership of the national organizations or the schools. So what can be done until then. Here’s some suggestions:
1. Keep growing in your philosophy. It’s surprising how many chiropractors want to practice non-therapeutic chiropractic but have little or no knowledge.
2. Join blogs or Facebook or some internet vehicle in which you can communicate with other likeminded or truly searching DCs.
3. Ask questions, challenge ideas. Don’t be satisfied with what BJ said or some other “authority”.
4. Talk about the philosophy each day in your office.
5. Write down your thoughts, put down on paper the philosophy in a manner that lay people can understand the concepts.
6. Be prepared so that when the time comes you are ready to be an asset to the movement and even if that time never comes your life will have been enriched by that preparation.

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