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Dynamic Chiropractic – June 18, 2001, Vol. 19, Issue 13

NY Association Leaders Agree to Unification Talks

By Editorial Staff
Norman Cohen, executive secretary of the New York State Board for Chiropractic, invited the leaders of the three state associations in to an April 19 meeting. The associations in question were the Chiropractic Federation of New York ("Federation"), the New York Chiropractic Council ("Council"), and the New York State Chiropractic Association. Also invited were representatives from New York Chiropractic College.*

The invitation came via a letter from Ms. Cohen in which she noted the history of relations between the state organizations, including various efforts for interorganizational cooperation. With that in mind, she put forth "some rallying points around which everyone can agree," so that "everyone can begin the meeting on the same foot."

The rally points drawn up by the board were:

  • Less than 25 percent of the 6,000 licensed chiropractors in New York State are represented by a state-level membership organization.

     

  • Factional interests have fragmented the advocacy efforts of each of the organizations, virtually prevented concerted action, and, as one consequence, have impeded the regulation of the profession by compounding communication to and from the field.

     

  • As frequently heard by the Board and staff, field practitioners reject state organization membership on the basis that they perceive the rival groups as being "more interested in fighting among themselves than serving their members." Thus, they remain without a focal point for shared concerns, a forum for collegiality, or a collective voice with which to advocate for patients and themselves.

     

  • Pharmacy, dentistry, dental hygiene, speech/language pathology and audiology and other professions have been successful in attaining continuing education legislation; chiropractic has not.

     

  • Pharmacy gained legislative and gubernatorial support for a three-year waiver of their U.S. citizenship requirement for licensure, for the purpose of assuring service to shortage areas; chiropractic has not been able to move any bill toward removing its citizenship requirement.

     

  • New York State chiropractors have not been able to garner sufficient support for legislation to replace nonchiropractors on the state board with chiropractors. Thus, as if it were still a newly licensed profession that needs oversight from more established professions, the law continues to require medical licensees and science educators on the chiropractic board nearly 40 years after it was first constituted.

     

  • Implementing the insurance equality bill has been largely ineffectual, a result of the successful efforts of unified and powerful nonchiropractic forces that are neutralizing chiropractic forces, which are divided and competing with one another instead of thwarting the external threats.

The board felt the April 19 meeting was an opportunity "to produce a consensual plan for cooperation." and that "no one comes to the meeting with any preconceptions of having 'the solution' to be adopted by the others. Any eventual solution must be borne of the real leaders of the profession in this state, the leaders who will attract the support of the field practitioners, and chiropractic organization leaders."

Mr. Cohen observed in his letter:

"Our specific need is to tap into the representative opinions of the profession in this state, and to work together
with you in launching such initiatives as ensuring that chiropractic care is accessible in all areas of the State,
enhancing diversity in the profession and its consumers, strengthening the practitioners' sense of professional
responsibility, and supporting legislation in the public interest."

The April 19 meeting came to these points of agreement:

  • The NYSCA will share with the Council and the Federation all its legislative proposals, some of which have not yet been introduced into the legislature, to attempt to reconcile differences in bill language for the purpose of supporting focused lobbying efforts. (The packet of bills distributed at this meeting contained all the bills proposed by the Council and Federation.)

  • Dr. Coyne agreed to take the lead in detailing and setting up a meeting of the organizations' leaders to begin talks on collaboration and possibly unification. The meetings would include representatives of both chiropractic colleges in this region as advisors, and would be convened by a professional facilitator Dr. Coyne agreed to identify with assistance from the colleges. (Dr. Quatro clarified that the NYSCA had called for binding arbitration in past years, which it no longer requires. Comment was made that binding arbitration can work with single issues, but not so well with broad issues like organizational unification. Moreover, a facilitator could enable the "dating" process while keeping all options open for potential "marriage.")

  • All understood and accepted that the NYSCA must authorize participation at such a meeting, and that Drs. Quatro and Penna would carry the message to the NYSCA Board of Directors for action at the earliest time possible and in accordance with the NYSCA bylaws. Dr. Coyne will provide the details of the proposed meeting as soon as possible to facilitate the NYSCA's consideration to participate or not.

Mr. Cohen summed up the meeting by observing: "There is an obvious willingness to get together to engage in a dialogue that continues from today's meeting. The benefit of doing so is much bigger than all of us - it is chiropractic."
  • The NY state leaders attending the meeting:
Chiropractic Federation of New York
A. Alessandro Pireno,DC, president
Robert Matrisciano,DC, director
(for Richard McAlister,DC)

New York Chiropractic Council
Ellen Coyne,DC, chairperson
Robert Reiss,DC, regent

New York State Chiropractic Association
E. Daniel Quatro,DC, president elect
Mariangela Penna,DC, secretary

New York Chiropractic College
Frank Nicchi,DC, president
Thomas Ventimiglia,DC, downstate admissions coordinator

Guest observers:
Gennetta Greer Mitchell,DC, nominee to the board (licensee)
Rhonda Fenderson, Dr. Greer Mitchell's office manager
Todd Olson,PhD, nominee to the board (consumer)
Gertrude Smith,DC, nominee to the board (licensee)
William Suh,DC, nominee to the board (licensee)
Marilyn Thibodeau, nominee to the board (consumer)
Frank Zolli,DC, president, University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic

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