Who Does the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine Serve?
In an e-mail being widely circulated by attorneys for Rick Warren DC, his counsel outline ongoing issues regarding the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine and online continuing education in that state. The attorneys went as far this time to accuse the chiropractic medicine board of an anti-competition stance in violation of both state and federal anti-trust statutes for which there could be both board, trade group and individual liability to those harmed. They refer to the Supreme Court Case: North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, 134 S. Ct. 1491 (2014).
Readers may recall that the Florida Board nixed a legislative package last year that would have removed a number of items restricting certain graduates from practicing in the state and also turned over the jurisprudence exam to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. This was after the Florida Department of Health told the Board of Chiropractic Medicine that they should eliminate the exam completely.
Below is the full text of the e-mail being circulated:
On April 8, 2016, I attended the FBCM meeting as counsel for Dr. Rick Warner, DC, who as petitioner for his fellow Florida licensed chiropractors, has for the second time in a decade petitioned the FBCM to join the 21st Century and agree to offer its membership the option of completing their continuing education (CE) hours/minutes via online coursework. This is exactly what over 45 states and most of the licensed professions in this state and country offer their licensees.
More to the point, the FBCM’s legal advisor from the attorney general’s office who is assigned to provide legal advice (what lawyers do) regarding interpretation of statutory law and administrative rules to the FBCM advised the board that they had the authority to both interpret “contact classroom hours” as to include online CE and the authority to implement an online CE program. The FBCM, especially one side of the table beginning with the chairman, decided, contrary to the legal opinion of their legal advisor, that they “did not” have the authority to interpret the language of the statute even though advised by counsel that enabling legislation gives them that authority.
Further, their legal advisor from the attorney general’s office even informed them that in her research she had found that the Board of Dentistry had made an analogous interpretation in bringing the education requirements of dentistry into the 21st century.
In the end, your board voted down the petition presented by Dr. Warner, decided to turf it to the legislature knowing that nothing would get done and formed a “task force” led by who I have been advised is a former president of the FCA. The head of the “task force” has already removed Dr. Warner from the “task force” for what amounts to a non-reason!
What is very interesting and telling is that throughout the days meeting the FBCM heard a full day of other matters and heeded the advice of their counsel from the attorney general’s office and accepted and/or corrected their positions according to the attorney general’s office’s advice on every other matter before them except the petition by Dr. Rick Warner. Unfortunately, your current board operates like something out of a Kafka novel. This meeting resembled a predetermined governmental kangaroo court in a banana republic.
In my opinion, it appears that there is some sort of “turf” protection going on between the FBCM and the Florida Chiropractic Association. It is my further opinion that, due to current personal relationships and prior positions with the FCA, several members of your board should have recused themselves from voting on this petition.
In reviewing similar matters from other jurisdictions that address licensing boards that are controlled by market participants in the same occupation that the board regulates, it would appear that the FBCM and its anti-competition stance is in violation of both state and federal anti-trust statutes for which there could be both board, trade group and individual liability to those harmed. Most recently see North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, 134 S. Ct. 1491 (2014). A pdf of that decision is attached.
This board must act in the best interest of the public and its licensees and allow the least expensive and burdensome methods of obtaining CEs to relieve chiropractic physicians of the burden, strain on family and exorbitant costs in attending these continuing education “conventions” that only raise large sums of money for a chosen market participant, to wit: the FCA. Florida law demands this.
Finally, in reviewing the amendments to the PIP statute beginning in 1999, I cannot recall an amendment that benefited the chiropractic profession. The 2012 amendment, the most onerous one yet, with the EMC requirement grants that determination to even a nurse, but not a chiropractor physician!! What a bang up job the board in conjunction with the FCA and lobbyist(s) did for you in 2012!
The insurance industry is hard at work with its next proposed amendments to the PIP statute. What’s next NY style PIP? Medicaid payouts? Limitations on chiropractic care?
J. Manuel (Jesse) Neyra, Esq. - Tampa
Noel H. Flasterstein, Esq. – Boca Raton