With Congress returning from its annual August recess and health care reform at the forefront of the legislative agenda, the chiropractic profession is setting its sights squarely on Capitol Hill and the decision-makers who will ultimately dictate whether and to what extent chiropractic will be included in the reform process and outcome.
"Thanks to our 1,000-plus monthly contributors, the foundation is now in a position to underwrite one of the most highly visible media campaigns in the history of this profession," said Kent Greenawalt, founder and director of the FCP, emphasizing that the campaign is designed to speak directly to the decision-makers on Capitol Hill.
The four-week media blitz, announced in late August, will run from mid-September through mid-October and includes advertisements featuring two of the foundation's current spokespersons: former NFL superstar Jerry Rice and retired General Rebecca Halstead. In addition, ads will feature the AMI study by Richard Sarnat that suggests regular utilization of chiropractic care would reduce global health care costs by almost 50 percent. According to the FCP, all advertisements are available to contributors in poster format for display in their offices. Here is the publication schedule as of press time:
- Week 1: The Wall Street Journal (D.C. only), USA Today (D.C. only)
- Week 2: The Wall Street Journal (national), USA Today (D.C. only) and The Washington Post*
- Week 3: The Wall Street Journal (D.C. only), USA Today (D.C. only) and Politico*
- Week 4: The Wall Street Journal (national), USA Today (D.C. only) and Roll Call*
- *These publications are directed primarily to legislators and policy-makers in the D.C. area.
Meanwhile, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is continuing its advocacy campaign, urging chiropractors to contact their legislators and encourage their patients to do the same. The association also sent a letter directly to President Obama following his Aug. 11 town hall meeting, emphasizing the value of chiropractic care. The letter, sent by ACA President Glenn Manceaux, DC, to President Obama on Aug. 17, is excerpted as follows:
"Mr. President, as you noted in your recent town hall meeting of August 11, our nation faces a shortage of trained primary care providers who are capable of meeting the basic needs of our nation's aging population. Please be assured of the chiropractic profession's willingness and ability to help address this problem in a major way--as our profession is the second largest portal-of-entry, primary care, doctoral-level health profession in the United States, exceeded only in number by medical doctors and dentists. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) - 70,000 STRONG - treat an estimated 30 million patients annually, focusing on conservative, holistic, non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical approaches to health care. Doctors of Chiropractic are well qualified through their education to perform as first-contact, portal-of-entry doctors, and perfectly suited to help fill the workforce gap via their high-quality, patient-centered, primary care services, which our nation so desperately needs.
"Given the important primary care role currently played by America's Doctors of Chiropractic - coupled with the capacity to further expand this role - we urge you to fully engage the ACA and the chiropractic profession in the process of health care reform. In many respects the ACA and the chiropractic profession have always been on the leading edge when it comes to advocating, practicing, and advancing the nation toward a more conservative, wellness-based health delivery system, and we would appreciate any opportunity for meaningful dialog with you and your Administration to further your work for the public good and achievement of the patient-centered goals we share. ACA representatives would be honored to meet with you and/or your designated representative(s) to discuss how these progressive views regarding health promotion, wellness and integrative care can be successfully included as an important element in your reform efforts, helping to reduce the primary care provider shortage and the overall costs of health care."
The ACA also held a health care reform briefing on Aug. 19 that reviewed the major issues the profession can impact as a federal health reform plan unfolds, including inclusion of a provider non-discrimination clause that forbids any plan from discriminating against an entire class of providers, including doctors of chiropractic; preservation of state laws that protect access to chiropractic; and inclusion of chiropractic care in any minimum benefits package design.
"We should focus on where we can make a difference," said Keith Overland, DC, president of the ACA Council of Delegates and chairman of the ACA political action committee. Dr. Overland, who encouraged chiropractors and chiropractic organizations to coordinate visits to legislators while they were on recess, added: "Politics equals participation. Our strength lies with grassroots activism focused on educating the legislators about issues important to our profession and our patients."
For more information about the FCP's ad campaigns in support of chiropractic, or to make a donation, visit www.foundation4cp.com. To learn how you can participate in the ACA's ongoing advocacy efforts, visit www.chirovoice.org.