Wisconsin Proposes Major Scope & Licensing Changes

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation
Wisconsin Proposes Major Scope & Licensing Changes

Drugs, Surgery & Primary Care on the Menu

In an open letter from the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, President Rod Lefler DC lays out a broad plan to change the fundamental nature of the chiropractic profession in the state. In the letter he calls for an additional 2 years of training via weekend courses to fulfill a Master’s Degree, scope of practice changes to allow prescription drugs, surgery and primary care. The letter and a related White Paper provide the details of a tiering of the chiropractic profession and the creation of two classes of chiropractors in the state.     

The following is the text of Dr. Lefler’s letter:

There is a battle raging in healthcare. The various healthcare professions are aligning their troops, calling up their reserves, implementing new hardware and planning their attacks. Historically, wars were fought by primitive means. Those who attained better weapons had the upper hand, shaped the outcome in each conflict and changed history. Likewise, in healthcare, those who develop the best strategies, implement new tools and advance their education will position themselves to overcome the opposition and secure their future. Winning the battle will allow the successor the ability to shape the future of healthcare.

With the exception of chiropractic, every other health care profession is advancing its training and setting the stage for winning the battle. Physical therapists, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants all have clinical doctorate programs that include clinical residencies. In Europe, physiotherapists have full prescription rights. Australian physiotherapists have legislation pending for full prescription rights. PTs have graduate programs in spinal manipulation and with the European model they will have all the tools to win the battle and own musculoskeletal care. These professions are counting on the internal struggles that are endemic to the culture and history of chiropractic to continue until we are completely marginalized. All the while they fill the void for primary musculoskeletal care.

Many accuse the osteopathic profession of losing its identity. However the recent gains by DO's exceeds all other healthcare professions. In the 1960s there were only 5 osteopathic colleges. Today there are 30, and those schools turn out 22 percent of the nation's medical school graduates. While some may look at this as a failure to maintain identity, there's another way to see it: osteopaths have been extremely successful at integration. The failure lies in the absence of maintaining cultural authority in spine care.

Other professions have developed successful models. Dentistry owns primary oral health with limited prescription and procedure rights. Optometry owns primary vision health with limited prescription and procedure rights. Podiatry owns primary lower extremity health with full prescription and procedure rights. Who will own primary spine care? Who has the best battle plan?

The Wisconsin Chiropractic Association has always been progressive and proactive on behalf of its members and the profession. For over 100 years, the WCA has led the nation in pushing pro-chiropractic policies in Wisconsin and nationally.

The opportunity for the chiropractic profession to move itself into the health care mainstream and command a greater share of patients is now. The pending shortage of primary care physicians in Wisconsin offers well trained chiropractors the opportunity to move beyond the small percentage of patients we care for currently, integrate into the broader health care and reverse the alarming economic trend that is pushing more chiropractors out of business and discouraging young people from entering the profession.

On page 30 of this issue of the Wisconsin Chiropractor, you will find a comprehensive plan for the advancement of the chiropractic profession. This is the first of its kind and one that will set the stage for owning primary spine care. This is how we improvise, adapt and overcome to lead healthcare with a new model for education.

You took the time to get a doctoral level education and I know all of you to be well-educated and thoughtful professionals who want to see the chiropractic profession thrive.

As President of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association and a colleague in the chiropractic profession, I ask you to take the time to read the Primary Spine Care Physician (PSCP) proposal closely and give it thoughtful consideration.

Your feedback is critical. Call me, contact the board of directors or WCA Executive Director John Murray. Share your questions, concerns and ideas. Do not sit on the sidelines and remain silent while the chiropractic profession withers and other providers move into the spine care space that is rightfully ours. If we do not seize the moment, others will.

The Primary Spine Care Physician (PSCP) initiative will be an important discussion point within the WCA's major policy priorities going forward into 2015. These policy priorities will be the focal point of the WCA annual meeting at the 2014 WCA fall convention and trade show in October and the fall district meetings. Take the time to attend these important meetings and make your voice heard on the future of our profession.

Rod Lefler

President of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association