Position Paper # 5 Referral


The practice of objective straight chiropractic is unique. It has a singular objective, the correction of vertebral subluxation to enable the innate intelligence of the body to more fully express itself through its innate forces. Because of that singular objective the concept of referral as it is generally understood is not part of the objective straight chiropractor’s practice. Some years back communities had service stations. In addition to buying gasoline, car owners could have their oil checked, the air pressure in their tires checked and their windshields cleaned.
Today we have “gas stations.” They have a singular objective to fill your tank with gasoline. Drivers do not expect any other services to be provided. Most health care practitioners treat diseases. To do that they examine a new patient, gather the signs and symptoms, perhaps run a few diagnostic tests to rule out some things and then arrive at a diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, the health care provider can then determine the best treatment for the particular diagnosis. If he/she can provide that treatment, then the patient begins care. However, in the event that the practitioner can not provide that treatment he/she refers the patient to the appropriate physician/therapist. It is worth noting the importance of the order of these events, determine which disease/condition the patient has, then what the most effective treatment would be and then the possible need for referral. The objective straight chiropractor has a single objective, so he/she need only determine whether an individual has vertebral subluxations to determine whether or not the person needs the care of the chiropractor. If the individual does not have subluxations, then he does not need care at that time. The chiropractor is not responsible for determining whether an individual needs some other type of care or not. That is for the individual to decide when they understand the unique role of chiropractic. Advice regarding other types of care should be obtained from an expert in various medical conditions and treatments. That person is not an objective straight chiropractor and further the objective straight chiropractor is not in a position to know who that person is unless he makes some type of medical judgement or diagnosis himself, and that is not part of the practice of objective straight chiropractic.The straight chiropractor clearly informs people that chiropractic is not a substitute or an alternative to medical or therapeutic care for diagnosed or suspected medical problems. People seeking care are encouraged to see a medical physician if they indicate that they want to be treated for the symptoms they are experiencing or if they would like a medical diagnosis to
determine the cause of their symptoms. This is as close to making a referral as the objective straight chiropractor comes. The straight chiropractor never refers to a specific provider or to a specific specialty. Occasionally, people seeking chiropractic care in an objective straight chiropractor’s office will express a desire to have a medical condition treated with chiropractic adjustments usually because they have had a previous experience with a non-objective straight chiropractor for the same or a similar condition. The objective straight chiropractor will explain to the individual that that type of chiropractic is not (or no longer) practiced in this office but that there are other chiropractors in the community who may be willing to address his/her medical condition. For patient safety and for risk management reasons objective straight chiropractors never refer to a specific non-objective straight chiropractor or to a medical provider. There are risks to utilizing chiropractic care for medical conditions just as there are risks to all medical care, including delay of proper care as well as risks related specifically to the practitioner such as negligence and competence. The objective straight chiropractor does not subject a person to risks outside his area of expertise and so specific referrals are not given.There are no inherent risks to objective straight chiropractic care. So an objective straight chiropractor may refer an individual to another objective straight chiropractor who may be able to meet that individual’s chiropractic needs better because of location, fee system or technique. This is the only true referral made by an objective straight chiropractor.
An objective straight chiropractor has a responsibility to inform a practice member of unusual findings and to explain that person’s options. He is not responsible for evaluating that condition or diagnosing it. Further the straight chiropractor is responsible to act appropriately in obvious emergency situations. (See Diagnosis position paper)

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Posted in: Thinking Straight

This article has 3 comments

  1. Steve 06/24/2014, 4:44 pm:

    Excellent save one small typo: The objective straight chiropractor will explain to the individual that that type of chiropractic {in/is} not (or no longer) practiced in this office but that there are other chiropractors in the community who may be willing to address his/her medical condition.

    • Joe Strauss 06/25/2014, 12:25 am:

      Thanks Steve. Noted and hopefully corrected. Do you ever hire out as a proofreader?

  2. Steve 06/25/2014, 12:29 pm:

    It is difficult to proof your own work, always easier for someone else. My late wife was an excellent proofer, in fact proofed and typed every paper I wrote in school. I was always grateful, up until her editing changed the flavor of my writing. Now I rely on my daughter the English teacher. I would be happy to help you any way I could. You have done so much for me, it would be an honor.

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