CHIROPRACTIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE NAMED BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
After months of waiting, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) has finally named the members of the congressionally mandated Chiropractic Advisory Committee. Included in this roster is ICA Board Member and private practitioner Dr. Michael S. McLean of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Dr. McLean also Chairs ICA's Legislative Committee and has been active on the veterans issue for many years. The Chiropractic Advisory Committee was created by Congress and members selected by DVA Secretary Anthony Principi to assist the agency in implementing the long-overdue and much obstructed chiropractic benefits program. The Committee is comprised of eleven individuals, six of whom are doctors of chiropractic, and five representing other health professions or the DVA itself. The other chiropractic representatives on the Committee are Reed B. Phillips, DC, PhD, President of the Southern California University of Health Sciences; Charles E. Duvall, Jr., DC, President of the National Association of Chiropractic Medicine; Ronald C. Evans, DC, of Urbandale, Iowa; Leona Marie Fischer, DC, International Board Member of the World Chiropractic Alliance and Cynthia S. Vaughn, DC of Austin, Texas.
While it has been over six months since this legislation took effect, ICA is pleased to see that some action has finally been taken. Initial indications are that the Chiropractic Advisory Committee will have at least three meetings in the coming year, based on budget information the DVA has provided ICA. "We are pleased to finally see some movement on this vital new chiropractic program," said ICA President Dr. D.D. Humber. "We continue to have concerns, however, over the delay in taking this first step of naming Chiropractic Advisory Committee members and what it might mean for the rest of the process. ICA will urge the chiropractic representatives of this committee to come together and aggressively assert the rights of veterans to receive the chiropractic services mandated by Congress, without obstruction or unnecessary delay on the part of the DVA."
The legislation authorizing the chiropractic program in the DVA, HR 3447, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 11, 2001, and was signed by the President in mid-January of 2002. H.R. 3447 contains a number of key elements, including specific subluxation language, for which ICA aggressively lobbied and which represent a major victory for chiropractic. HR 3447 provides for a nationwide program involving "at least one site for such program in each geographic service area of the Veterans Health Administration" (VHA), chiropractic care that specifically includes subluxation care, a training program to orient the VHA personnel regarding the benefits of chiropractic care and services, employment of doctors of chiropractic "...through personnel service contracts and by appointments of licensed chiropractors in Department medical centers and clinics," and the establishment of an advisory committee that will work with the agency to provide for a swift, thorough and meaningful implementation of this major new benefit.
Among the key issues which this advisory committee will deal with will be direct access to chiropractic care, a vital component of any benefits program and one of ICA's top priorities in this and in all health benefits programs, both public and private. The inclusion of a representative from the National Association for Chiropractic Medicine is an unwelcome though not unexpected development, since the DVA had sought their participation from the very beginning of the discussion about possible legislation. ICA is preparing for what could very well be a difficult effort to insure that the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) implements the provisions of the legislation fully and fairly. The congressionally approved language in H.R. 3447, reads as follows:
Program For The Provision of Chiropractic Care and Services to Veterans.
- REQUIREMENT FOR PROGRAM. - Subject to the provisions of this section, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out a program to provide chiropractic care and services to veterans through Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and clinics.
- ELIGIBLE VETERANS. - Veterans eligible to receive chiropractic care and services under the program are veterans who are enrolled in the system of patient enrollment under section 1705 of title 38, United States Code.
- LOCATION OF PROGRAM. - The program shall be carried out at sites designated by the Secretary for purpose of the program. The Secretary shall designate [at least] one site for such program in each geographic service area of the Veterans Health Administration. The sites so designated shall be medical centers and clinics located in urban areas and in rural areas.
- CARE AND SERVICES AVAILABLE. - The chiropractic care and services available under the program shall include a variety of chiropractic care and services for neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, including subluxation complex.
- OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS.
- The Secretary shall carry out the program through personal service contracts and by appointments of licensed chiropractors in Department medical centers and clinics.
- As part of the program, the Secretary shall provide training and materials relating to chiropractic care and services to Department health care providers assigned to primary care teams for the purpose of familiarizing such providers with the benefits of chiropractic care and services.
- REGULATIONS. - The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section.
- CHIROPRACTIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE. -
- The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee to provide direct assistance and advice to the Secretary in the development and implementation of the chiropractic health program.
- The membership of the advisory committee shall include members of the chiropractic care profession and such other members as the Secretary considers appropriate.
- Matters on which the advisory committee shall assist and advise the Secretary shall include the following:
- Protocols governing referral to chiropractors.
- Protocols governing direct access to chiropractic care.
- Protocols governing scope of practice of chiropractic practitioners
- Definition of services to be provided.
- Such other matters the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
- The advisory committee shall cease to exist on December 31, 2004.
The Department of Veterans Affairs distributed the following news release and committee roster on August 12, 2002:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2002
VA Appoints Chiropractic Advisory Committee
WASHINGTON - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi today announced the appointment of the members of the new Chiropractic Advisory Committee that will advise him on the chiropractic health programs run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). "VA is committed to using the resources available to ease the suffering of our veterans and restore them to good health," said Principi. "With the help of this advisory committee, VA will ensure that it is providing the chiropractic services that our veterans need." The new committee will "provide direct assistance and advice to the Secretary in the development and implementation of the chiropractic health program," according to Public Law 107-135, which created the panel.
Among the committee's missions are to advise the VA secretary on:
- Protocols governing referrals to chiropractors
- Protocols governing direct access to chiropractic care
- Protocols governing the scope of practice for chiropractic practitioners
- Definitions of services to be provided.
The committee will meet up to three times annually. The committee will expire on Dec. 31, 2004.
Chiropractic Advisory Committee
- Reed B. Phillips, D.C., Ph.D., of Los Angeles, chairman. President of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic at the Southern California University of Health Sciences and member of the Department of Defense (DoD) Chiropractic Health Care Demonstration Oversight Advisory Committee. Served in Utah National Guard.
- Charles E. DuVall, Jr., D.C., of Akron, Ohio. President of the National Association of Chiropractic Medicine. Navy veteran and combat medic in Vietnam.
- Ronald C. Evans, D.C., of Urbandale, Iowa. Chief executive officer of ICPC, a specialty provider network. Associate professor at Northwestern College of Chiropractic, Bloomington, Minn. Member of DoD Chiropractic Health Care Demonstration Oversight Advisory Committee. Navy veteran.
- Leona Marie Fischer, D.C., of Elmhurst, Il. Certified emergency medical technician and massage therapist. Member, International of the Board of Governors for World Chiropractic Alliance. Navy veteran.
- Warren A. Jones, M.D., of Jackson, Miss. President of the American Academy of Family Physicians and clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Retired Navy Medical Corps captain and former special assistant to the Navy Surgeon General.
- Michael S. McLean, D.C., of Virginia Beach, Va. Member of the Board of Directors of the International Chiropractors Association and post-graduate faculty member of Life College of Chiropractic in Marietta, Ga. Served in the Navy Reserve.
- Brian P. Murphy, of Salt Lake City. Clinical manager of rehabilitation at VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System and instructor at the University of Utah.
- Michael K. Murphy, D.O., of Pikeville, Ky. Executive director of the Appalachian Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institute Consortium and professor of family medicine at Pikeville College's School of Osteopathic Medicine. Retired Navy captain and liaison to the DoD Chiropractic Health Care Demonstration Oversight Advisory Committee.
- Michael J. O'Rourke, of Washington, D.C. Assistant director of Veterans Health Policy with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Marine Corps veteran, served in Vietnam, later commissioned as a physician assistant.
- Paul Gordon Shekelle, M.D., Ph.D., of Los Angeles. Physician at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Cynthia S. Vaughn, D.C., of Austin, Texas. President of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and Texas delegate to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards.