The Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine has been petitioned to include on line continuing education courses as acceptable for meeting re-licensure requirements. On first look this seems like a no-brainer when you consider that you can get all kinds of advanced degrees completely online today and that online education is no longer considered “fringe”.
In addition, most states allow for at least a portion of continuing education credits to be earned on line.
Not the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine.
According to Form 990 tax returns, over the past five years the Florida Chiropractic Association has collected $9,631,138.00 from their seminars and conventions alone.
What would happen to this revenue if online CE were available to licensed chiropractors in Florida?
According to attorneys representing Rick Warner DC
“. . . 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.”
The Chairman of the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine is Kevin Fogarty, DC, who serves as the Chairman of the Life University Board of Trustees and is on the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards, was also instrumental in recent votes by the Board regarding restrictions to applicants for licensure in Florida as well as turning over the jurisprudence exam to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
According to Warner’s attorneys, the FBCM’s 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.”
The FBCM voted down the petition presented by Dr. Warner, and decided to send it to the legislature and formed a “task force” led by former Florida Chiropractic Association Board member Kenneth Dougherty DC. Dougherty has already removed Dr. Warner from the “task force” for unknown reasons.
Warren and his attorneys stated that 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).
The Dental Examiners case has been a hot topic in regulatory board discussions since the decision came out. The FBCM recently had this topic on its agenda and a presentation on the topic was made at the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Board Meetings just last week.