ICA Elects New Leadership & Releases Resolutions

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation
ICA Elects New Leadership & Releases Resolutions

Injectables are out, drugs are out, non-therapeutic care is in

The 89th Annual Meeting of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) recently convened in Marietta, Georgia with a transition to new leadership and the adoption of a Resolution addressing chiropractic medicine, injectables, drugs and non-therapeutic care.

The new leadership includes:

  • George Curry DC – President
  • Steve Welsh DC – Vice President
  • Selina Sigafoose-Jackson – Secretary/Treasurer

According to the ICA Press Release on the meeting Dr. Curry stated:

"This continues to be a critical time for clarity and clear-cut communications for the profession, anchored in ICA's timeless and proven principles but applying cutting edge strategies and technologies. We are committed to building on the talent and energy of ICA's leadership corps and membership with innovative programs and benefits, focused on advancing principled chiropractic as the powerful force in health care it must be in order to meet the needs of patients of all ages in communities around the world".

In a newsletter sent out to the profession Steve Welsh, ICA Vice President, echoed the desire for clarity by stating:

“While others falter, the ICA stands strong.  There are no mixed messages.  There are no ambiguous policy statements. There is no inner dissension.  The message is clear. We have been given a Sacred Trust ... and we intend to guard it well.”

In an attempt at clarity on the drug issue in chiropractic the ICA adopted a Resolution that not only states drugs are not the province of chiropractic but, in a history making move, the ICA no longer considers injectables to be within the practice of chiropractic.

The Resolution reads in part . . . 

1. The term “medicine” cannot and should not be used in conjunction with or to describe in any way, the practice of chiropractic.

2. Prescriptive rights for drugs and or injectables falls under the practice of medicine and have not and should not be included in the scope of chiropractic practice for the safeguarding of both the profession and of the practicing doctors, as well as for the safety of the public.

3. The ICA should create a statement to promote a drugless profession and should aggressively oppose the utilization of the term “chiropractic medicine” and “injectable” language in any future legislative and or regulatory efforts on a jurisdiction level.

When asked if the ICA’s opposition to injectables included the injection of vitamins and natural substances, Dr. Curry responded:

“The ICA is in opposition of any and all injections regardless of the substance.”

The issue of injectables is sure to be a sore point among many chiropractors who consider themselves to be subluxation based but also incorporate nutritional and other modalities into their practice and wish to be able to inject these substances into their patients.

One of the bases for the opposition to drugs and injectables by the ICA can be found in the Resolution’s reference to chiropractic as “non-therapeutic”: 

"WHEREAS, it is a major objective of the ICA to, “Maintain and promote chiropractic's unique identity as a non-therapeutic, drugless and surgical free health science, based on its fundamental principles and philosophy.”

A search of the ICA Policy Documents and website did not reveal any reference to the concept of “non-therapeutic” and when asked, Dr. Curry stated that he would have to ask the author of the Resolution for clarification on the intent of the term and get back with a response. No response had been received by the time of this writing. 

Proclaiming chiropractic to be non-therapeutic has far reaching implications for ICA members (and the rest of the profession) who might be engaged in the practice of third party pay (including Medicare) where diagnosis and procedure codes are necessary for billing and reimbursement purposes. Most states and other jurisdictions also mandate the making of a diagnosis and treatment planning in their statutes, rules and regulations.  

Curry and his team enter their leadership roles at a tumultuous time in chiropractic. According to ICA Vice President Welsh in his newsletter, “The past 18 months have been relatively quiet ...”  However, nothing could be farther from the truth. A number of states including Louisiana, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, New York and others have proposed or moved forward with scope expansion efforts. And such efforts are not limited to the United States as drug rights and scope expansion are being pushed in Canada and Europe as well.

While the ICA has been focused specifically on drug expansion efforts, this strategy ignores the slow boil of incremental change in scope language that is occurring across the country. Making matters worse is that such scope expansion efforts are based largely on the concept of the chiropractor as a primary care provider.

The various academic, regulatory and trade organizations in chiropractic, including the ICA, considers chiropractors to be able to practice primary care.

While many within chiropractic, including leadership, confuse the concepts of portal of entry provider with primary care provider, the reality is that the provision of primary care goes far beyond the “non-therapeutic, drugless and surgical free” domains. Understood in this context the drug issue is really a Red Herring and the real issue is primary care.

More changes within the ICA have been promised, within the home office and on the Board of Directors. Let's hope that the ICA brings more clarity to its positions in the weeks and months ahead. 

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation