On September 13, 2012, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) filed an amicus curae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the New Mexico Chiropractic Association. The ACA’s took a position in favor of the right of that state association to set its own scope of practice.

Battle in New Mexico over advanced practice certification program for chiropractors deepens division between two forces in chiropractic

On September 13, 2012, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) filed an amicus curae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the New Mexico Chiropractic Association. The ACA’s took a position in favor of the right of that state association to set its own scope of practice. The issue is a 2011 law passed by the New Mexico legislature, with support of the state association, that creates a structure through which those chiropractors who choose to add prescriptive authority to their scope can do so. Under the law, they must follow a defined educational path to support the new competencies. An ACA release on the brief states that the ACA felt “compelled” to weigh in after “the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) joined forces with the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy and the New Mexico Medical Board in a December 2011 memorandum to the court. The ICA requested a halt to efforts by the New Mexico Board to create the advanced practice training and certification program. Representatives of the ICA and LIFE University had testified before the New Mexico legislature against the advanced practice direction for the profession. 

Comment: In a moment in which the documentary Doctored celebrates the contributions of chiropractic, the long simmering fight between what used to be called the “straights” (ICA) and “mixers” (ACA) comes curdling to the surface. A commentary in the Integrator by Stephen Bolles, DC, explores the issues. (See Stephen Bolles: Regarding a Trojan Horse with Chiropractic/Chiropractic Medicine at a Cross Roads.) Bolles, presently a consultant to LIFE, opposes New Mexico move toward advanced practice. He finds the association of chiropractic with “medicine” damaging to the field. In my commentary, I consider perspectives and come down in favor of the ACA’s stance in favor of the right to self-determination. 

 

Washington state massage organization pushes inclusion in essential benefits package

Washington massage therapist Marissa Brooks, LMP, MPH, reports action from her state association to gain inclusion in that states essential benefits. Brooks shares that her state chose the Regence Innova plan as its “benchmark plan.” Brooks noted that while “the plan covers many services including massage therapy (MT),” the document from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) on essential benefits “does not explicitly mention massage therapy anywhere.” She notes that acupuncture, occupational therapy, and physical therapy are among those specifically included. American Massage Therapy Association-WA took a position that non-inclusion was illegal under a prior state law that required all plans to include “every category of (licensed) provider.” The state organization hired a law firm. According to Brooks, the OIC then asked that AMTA-WA submit research evidence that MT is a therapeutic intervention option. AMTA-WA responded by commissioning a responsive document from a team led by Diana Thompson, LMP. Brooks served on the team. At press time there was no resolution.

Comment: Since the 1995 every category of provider law, Washington has been an insurance leader for AMTA and the massage field. Are other states were so-engaged. Brooks responded: “I do not know of any other states in this same fight. My assumption is that we are leaders or rather in front, in that we have the every category provider rule backing and grounding our position. I am not totally in the know though. I do know that AMTA-WA is assuming that national will be using the document.”