Times are Changing

ChiroFutures Malpractice Program
Times are Changing

Are You?

There has been a great deal of discussion regarding relationships between men and women going on over the past year. You would have to have been living in a cave not to know. I can tell you that these discussions spill directly over into the practice of chiropractic - whether one likes it or not.

I grew up in chiropractic having first been exposed to this great profession in the early 70's and spent most of my time around conservative, traditional chiropractors who focused on subluxation.

There is a whole generation of us that grew up in chiropractic around this time. A time when chiropractic was much different than it is today. A number of things that were done "back in the day" can no longer be done. Or I should say they can be done but its not going to end well.

For example, I recently participated in a couple of discussions on Facebook with two different groups of chiropractors where they were talking about whether or not others hugged their patients. In one group, most were cautious about the practice and there was a nuanced discussion about the risk, boundary issues etc. Nevertheless, many stated that when appropriate and with patient consent, they would hug their patients.

In another group it was a different story altogether and many of the concerns raised about consent and boundaries were either made fun of or outright dismissed. You just weren't a good chiropractor if you were afraid to hug your patients. There were also some who were rightously indignant that concerns about boundaries were silly and that they would "take their chances" and hug every patient, every time.

I always hate being Debbie Downer but since my job is to help chiropractors navigate their risk and how much of it they want to take on then I have to be the bearer of bad news sometimes. I understand that the cultural changes we are experiencing create some stress for people on all sides and opinions get very strong and people can get stubborn about change they are not comfortable with.

The reality is that you are a licensed health care professional and this is not the 70's, or 80's or even 90's anymore. The larger cultural changes spill over into your practice, involve you, your patients and your staff.

I want to gently suggest that if you are feeling upset about how you are expected to behave these days and have trouble letting go that you keep that to yourself and honor the expectations of the people who seek your care and your employment.

If you don't then you will only have regulatory authorities, the police, or a plaintiff's attorney telling you how its gonna be. And while it might make you feel good to pound your chest and tell the authorities to "bring it on" I can tell you from nearly 30 years experience that it generally isn't worth the fight - especially if you lose.

You are not an average civilian. You are a licensed health care provider and like it or not the bar is set higher for you and that higher bar brings with it increased risk and responsibility.

As I am fond of saying: you cannot avoid risk but you can manage it and make intelligent decisions about how much of it you want to take on.

I look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions.

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
CEO & Co-Founder
ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program

ChiroFutures Malpractice Program