Mask Police: North Carolina Board of Chiropractic Issues Mask Mandate

News Staff
Mask Police: North Carolina Board of Chiropractic Issues Mask Mandate

Board President Admits: "We have board members who will not wear masks and make an argument against it"

According to publicly available information, the North Carolina Board of Chiropractic has issued a "Position Statement" requiring all chiropractors to wear masks even though this has not been ordered by the Governor. Adding further confusion to the mandate, the board President, Thomas Ayres DC, does not offer any exemptions whatsoever for those with medical, religious or other issues.

According to records acquired under an Open Records request, the mask mandate from the chiropractic board appears to have originated from long time Board member Thomas Mitchell, D.C who, in emails to Ayres, repeatedly pushed his desire for issuing a mandate.

CLICK HERE for copies of the Open Records

In an email to Board President Thomas Ayres, Mitchell writes:

"Hi Tom, Thanks for telling me about the NCCA Facebook forum posts. I looked at it last night and it made clear that we have doctors who are resisting taking basic measures to ensure public safety."

Mitchell is referring to comments he read on the North Carolina Chiropractic Association Facebook forum where he was spying on practitioners discussing the issue.

Mitchell goes on to further assert his desire to see a masking requirement come from the board expressing his fear of being seen as "outliers on the public safety front" and his desire to tell licensees that the board oversees that "we expect that doctors will be wearing them":

Mitchell stated:

"I believe that we need to put out something more specifically worded about face coverings. Your letter of May 26th was excellent and I also believe that we need to be clearer about face coverings, that we expect that doctors will be wearing them. The May 26th letter left open to reader interpretation whether the measures indicated were requirements or recommendations. I believe that we are at risk of being perceived as outliers on the public safety front if we don't issue a specific requirement."

Ayres responded to Mitchell stating: "Do we want to be the mask police?" and reminding Mitchell that the board had already addressed the issue in their May 26th letter to licensees:

"I stated the following: it is the position of this board that chiropractic physicians must maintain standards in their offices that are equal to or greater than those of personal care businesses. It is up to our doctors to make sure that they are maintaining standards in their offices. A question for our board is, do we want to be the mask police?"

Ayres took it a step further and told Mitchel and the Executive Director of the Board, Joe Siragusa DC, that he didn't want to "micro manage doctors" and that he was aware there were board members "who will not wear masks" and will "make an argument against it":

Ayres wrote:

"I see your point but don't want to get dragged into micro managing doctors. We have board members who will not wear masks and make an argument against it. I think it might just be better to leave it at this and if we get a complaint lodged against a doctor move accordingly."

In the letter from the NCBOCE to North Carolina chiropractors, Ayres claims:

"The NC Board of Chiropractic examiners has been receiving many requests from both patients, doctors and staff for clarification about the guidelines for masks and other steps designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

What's interesting is that Ayres refers to "many requests from patients, doctors and staff" yet the records provided in response to the Open Records request contains only a single question from a member of the public or anyone else about masks. Not a single other inquiry was produced. So either they didn't really get bombarded with questions about masks or they have not actually turned over all documents responsive to the open records request.

Either way this is a major problem when the Board is making claims about something without evidence to back it up.

Keep in mind that this is the same Board that mysteriously lost all of its minutes of all of its meetings following the United States Supreme Court Case: North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission.

Readers may recall that North Carolina is the State involved in the United States Supreme Court Case: North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. That case said that state licensing boards composed of market participants do not enjoy automatic immunity from antitrust laws. The decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission affirmed the Fourth Circuit and dealt a setback to an increasingly common form of regulation by these boards.

CLICK HERE for that story

Mitchell for his part was persistent in his effort to mask all chiropractors despite Ayres response stating:

"I still think that it may be necessary to be more direct in what we expect because some doctors didn't get the message. Although we did say that we have to meet standards higher than personal care, we didn't come out directly and say that doctors have to do certain things, and it requires reading between the lines a bit."

Despite Mitchell's zeal for following rules and orders and his desire to have everyone wear face coverings, Mitchell doesn't seem to have any problem flaunting the statute regulating chiropractic in North Carolina and asserting that he is treating infectious disease with his "antiviral" remedy for COVID-19.

CLICK HERE to see related story

The Board eventually gave in on June 12th and ordered the creation of a letter template for chiropractors refusing to mask to "get with the program".

Thomas Ayres wrote:

Joe, Please draft a letter (see below) and send to Dr. Hammer warning the doctors who are not wearing masks to get with the program.

Dear Doctor Jones,

It has been brought to the attention of the NCBOCE that your office may not be following precautions to help protect your staff and patients from COVID-19. In particular, you and your staff are not wearing protective masks. I would like to remind you that this board previously informed doctors that they are to maintain standards equal to or greater than those required of personal care businesses, this includes wearing protective masks. Please review the email sent out by board President Dr. Ayres on May 26, 2020, in particular the link to Executive Order 141, section 6, D.

If you have any questions pertaining to this matter feel free to contact the board directly.


Dr. John Hammer

Earlier on in the masking discussion amongst the board, Executive Director Siragusa sent an email to Board President Ayres on May 22nd asking him:

"Having fun being president yet ;-)"

In it he advised Ayres on ways they could avoid it looking like the board members were the bad guys stating:

There is some strength in quoting the governors office because:

- it’s “them” not us that is imposing this
- it is actually the law. It’s a stretch, but a barber could be arrested for not wearing a mask.

He went on to state:

"It just depends on what tone you want to strike."

As the masking mandate from the board began to take shape there were a series of emails between Siragusa, Ayres and Kim Swintosky a public member of the Board and a tax lawyer where they began to focus on the statute's language related to infectious disease:

"Additionally, there is a North Carolina statute that requires chiropractors to comply with state and local infectious disease prevention.

90-157. Chiropractors subject to State and municipal regulations.
Chiropractors shall observe and be subject to all State and municipal regulations relating to the control of contagious and infectious diseases”

This language ended up in the final statement from the board.

And since Dr. Ayers knows the identity of the chiropractors on the board who refuse to wear masks (he admitted it in writing) we assume that the board will issue letters of reprimand to them and force their compliance.

We're sure they will do this right after they issue a cease and desist to Dr. Mitchell for claiming he has an antiviral remedy for COVID-19 that he can mail to you.

Members of the North Carolina Board of Chiropractic:

Thomas Ayres, III, D.C., President
Christopher Outten, D.C., Vice President
John P. Hammer, D.C., Secretary Rocky Mount
Kimberly Q. Swintosky, Treasurer - Public Member
Kevin Sharp, D.C., Past-President
Thomas Mitchell, D.C., Member
Wallace “Ray” Chavez, D.C., Member
Lourdes Miranda, Public Member

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