Palmer's Board Dominated by ACA Members

News Staff
Palmer's Board Dominated by ACA Members

Key Faculty & Administrators Also ACA Loyalists

In what appears to be a disturbing trend among chiropractic college leaders, the Board of Trustees at the "Fountainhead" of chiropractic - Palmer, joins the growing list of school leadership that are heavily influenced by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

Palmer's Board of Trustees includes six chiropractors with four of them being dues paying ACA members including the Chairman of the Board:

  • Trevor V. Ireland, D.C. - Chairman of the Board - ACA Member
  • Charles J. Keller, D.C. - ACA Member
  • Michael D. Chance, D.C. - ACA Member
  • Donna Craft, D.C. - ACA Member

But the Board is not alone. Several key administrators and faculty are also ACA members including:

  • Robert Cooperstein DC - Professor
  • William Meeker DC - Palmer West President
  • Christine Goertz DC, Ph.D - Research Consultant to Palmer
  • John Stites DC - Director of community clinics
  • Ian McLean - Professor Clinics
  • Larry Swank DC - Professor Clinics
  • William Dumonthier DC - Professor

The American Chiropractic Association has recently rebranded itself and adopted standards of care that are inconsistent with the management of vertebral subluxation and present a threat to public health.

The ACA requires its members to sign a pledge agreeing to the standards of practice promulgated by the organization.

The ACA standards include a list of five tests it states are commonly ordered but not always necessary in chiropractic care. The recommendation includes the admonition to not take spinal x-rays in acute low back pain patients unless there are so called "Red Flags" and to never take repeat x-rays to monitor progress. Teaming up with ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports, the ACA’s President referred to these as “unneeded or overused services” and that following these recommendations would yield the “best possible care”.

The recommendations by the ACA, which has been pushing hard to remove subluxation language from Medicare and to expand the scope of practice of chiropractic nationwide including drugs, are at odds with what is considered to be a standard of care within chiropractic.

Despite this, insurance companies have already adopted the guidelines and are making payment and clinical necessity decisions based on them.

A number of chiropractic techniques rely on x-rays in order to determine the misalignment (biomechanical) component of the vertebral subluxation and imaging (especially plain film) is the only objective, valid and reliable method to make that determination.

Further, those techniques require the taking of follow-up x-rays in order to determine whether or not the misalignment has been reduced or corrected.

Insurance companies have for decades attempted to deny reimbursement for radiographs taken for this purpose. Subluxation deniers, and some trade organizations like the medically oriented ACA, have sought to paint such practices as unprofessional and to steer consumers away from chiropractors who rely on these procedures in order to administer care.

The ACA’s recommendations regarding x-rays are at odds with several other recommendations by chiropractic trade organizations, best practices, and standard of care guidelines as well as what is taught at several chiropractic schools in the United States.

Practicing chiropractors and alumni have been shocked that these guidelines have been so widely embraced and while the Chancellor of Palmer Dennis Marchiori DC provided a tepid response to the ACA's x-ray debacle after outrage by Palmer alumni, he did so only after praising the ACA's rebranding efforts stating the ACA ". . . should be lauded for its efforts to improve communication and care."

Palmer's support of the ACA should come as no surprise given Marchiori's support for scope expansion.

More on the ACA's Re-branding Efforts

McCoy Press