ACA Announces Development of Patient Advocacy Database During National Chiropractic Legislative Conference

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has announced it will launch a historic and bold advocacy effort later this year by creating a national database of chiropractic patients. Designed to strengthen the profession’s political voice, the planned database was unveiled during the association’s National Chiropractic Legislative Conference (NCLC) Feb 27-28 in Washington, D.C.

More than 500 practicing doctors of chiropractic and energetic students attended NCLC, where they heard speeches from government leaders, received advocacy education and training, urged elected officials to support pro-chiropractic measures, and networked with colleagues from around the country. “In the upcoming election cycle, chiropractic must grab the attention of members of Congress and the White House,” said ACA President Glenn Manceaux, DC. “We must galvanize our patients to action and fully engage them in the lobbying effort if we are to effect change.” Throughout NCLC, ACA’s lobbyists emphasized the need for the profession to make its mark on policymakers in the next few months and years. They referred to the convergence of certain factors—including the election of a new president, urgent calls for Medicare reform, and increasing momentum for a national health care system—as a “perfect storm” with a potentially significant and lasting impact on chiropractic’s future. Keynote speaker and famed political consultant James Carville echoed the importance of leveraging the influence of chiropractic patients and grassroots lobbying efforts. “If five patients call your congressman, it’s much more effective than just you.” “We’re going to have fewer dollars chasing more sick people. All the other people who don’t wish you well and want a bigger part of that health care resource are going to be at the table. You just have to be political,” he said. In commenting on the current political scene—which he called a “fascinating time in American politics”—Carville told conference attendees to expect a Democratic Congress in 2009. “I can’t tell you what the health care system is going to look like four years from now, but I can tell you it’s going to be different.” In addition to Carville, several members of Congress addressed the conference delegation, sharing their views on national health care reform and other issues important to the profession. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., U.S. House majority whip, made his first appearance at NCLC. Rep. Clyburn emphasized that chiropractors must be involved in health care debates to ensure that all sides of issues are represented. “One person making decisions is efficient, but we can’t have that,” he said. “We need your input to make health care delivery in this country both efficient and effective.” Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., a longtime champion of chiropractic direct access within the VA health care system, said there are still obstacles to overcome, particularly the use of MD gatekeepers who do not believe in chiropractic and therefore are unlikely to refer patients. “There has to be direct access,” he said. “If we change the behavior, hearts and minds will follow.” Pennsylvania Rep. Phil English (R) said he supports greater competition in the health care system and urged doctors of chiropractic to continue their advocacy work. “Your association has been a critical advocate in giving people choices and leading the nation toward a consumer-driven health care system—and I salute you,” he said. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told NCLC attendees that his support of chiropractic over the years has made him unpopular with some medical constituencies, but it has nevertheless been a consistent theme of his advocacy work in Congress. “We’ve won some big challenges in the past and we’ve got many ahead of us,” Harkin said. “It’s time to fully integrate chiropractic into all active military health care systems” and “it’s time to commission doctors of chiropractic in the Public Health Service Corps,” he proclaimed. Several members of Congress visited with the delegation during the NCLC congressional reception, including: Russ Carnahan, D-Mo.; Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich.; Nick Lampson, D-Texas; and Jim Moran, D-Va. House of Delegates Meeting Each year, NCLC is held in conjunction with an official business meeting of the ACA House of Delegates. The HOD portion of the event included the passage of several important resolutions: ---The association clarified that the strapping codes CPT® 29200-29280 and 29520-29590 should be reported when performing Kinesio Taping; whereas, reporting neuromuscular reeducation CPT® 97112 or other codes would not be appropriate. ---The ACA House of Delegates reaffirmed its support for the American Public Health Association (APHA) and encouraged all doctors of chiropractic to maintain membership in and become active with the APHA. ---The ACA revisited its policy on chiropractic pediatrics. The current policy statement now reads: “The ACA recognizes that the Doctor of Chiropractic is an important member of the integrative pediatric health care team and encourages Doctors of Chiropractic to work with pediatric practitioners from other fields of healthcare when appropriate to maximize each child’s health and well-being.” Education Seminars Well Attended More than 80 doctors of chiropractic attended two premier education seminars offered during NCLC. On March 1, Susan McClelland presented the ACA turn-key program, “Coding and Clinical Documentation for the Chiropractic Practice: Strategies for Success.” Additionally, on March 2, Dr. Thomas O'Bryan kicked off a year-long tour of his signature presentation, “Unlocking the Mysteries of Gluten Sensitivity: Musculoskeletal and Neurological Complications.” The seminars were offered in partnership with the Virginia Chiropractic Association and the District of Columbia Chiropractic Association.


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