Your article on the USPS raises a question very easily answered: to what extent does this attitude limit postal employee access to chiropractic?
Postal Service employees are provided with health insurance which completely excludes chiropractic care, even if ordered by an MD.Therefore, the only USPS employees who access chiropractic care are those who can afford to pay for it out-of-pocket, or those whose spouse's insurance includes them and includes chiropractic care. This information is provided to me by my postman at home, my postman at work, and the postal service employees who are or have been my patients in the past two years. I am told that this is the case nationwide, and that the reason for this blanket policy is "employee abuse" of chiropractic coverage in the past. "Yes, we abused it by using it, which was unacceptable. So they eliminated it."
Send Your Letters to Carl Kelly Directly
This is in regard to the "post office quack watch" article of September 8, 1997. I did some research and came up with Carl J. Kelly's address. I figured DCs across the nation would rather write him personally, rather than the senators and representatives who probably are not even aware of the letter.
His address is:
Carl J. Kelly
c/o Labor Relations
PO Box 29292
Columbia, SC 29292-9998
Kevin Scott, DC
Editor's note: When legislators receive numerous letters on the same subject, they pay attention. Congressman John McHugh, chairman of the Subcommittee of the Postal Service, has written the U.S. Postmaster General Marvin Runyon asking, among other requests, for an "official position of the U.S. Postal Service regarding the use of services by doctors of chiropractic by postal employees." (See "Report of My Findings" on page. 3 of this issue for further information and thoughts on the postal letter).
Kelly's Letter Simply "the worst"
Thanks so much for bringing this offensive letter to our attention. It's hard to imagine why this has not been published since March. I did write the congressmen you were smart enough to publish, and also my representatives.
This letter was the worst I have seen in many years.
Patrick Thomas, DC
Chiropractic Can't "stick its head in the sand"
Thank you for informing the profession about the "quack watch" memo by Carl J. Kelly, labor relations specialist to the U.S. Postal Service. Such blatant prejudice must be stopped. Our profession must not stick its head in the sand and pretend that all is well.
I appreciate the ACA's continued vigilance and urge all doctors to contact the senators and representatives who oversee the U.S. Postal Service.
Patrick Riggs, DC
Chairman of the board,
Kentucky Chiropractic Society
A Demand for Retribution
I've just read the internal U.S. Postal Service memo on the front page of your September 8, 1997 edition. First, thank you for publishing the "quack watch" memo on the front page. Second, the ACA's response isn't proactive enough. Carl J. Kelly's termination (if it happens) isn't enough. Kelly's statements about our profession are rivaled only by the lowest, dirtiest racial slurs and can be tolerated no longer. Perhaps the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or even Malcolm X, can teach us something about dealing with this type of discrimination and slander.
I call on the profession to make a nationwide united public relations effort and get an apology from the postal service, many of whom are chiropractic patients and enthusiasts. Would you please publish the address of Mr. Kelly's superior, so that the profession can write and get the apologies and retribution we deserve.
D. Michael Battey, DC, FASA
Quack Watch Memo a "personal insult"
I have been practicing chiropractic for the past 27 years. I take Carl Kelly's letter as a personal insult and ask your help in finding a solution. Call it slander, discrimination or a seriously biased opinion; it is not his position to poison other folk and seriously affect my practice. What gives him the right to use our federal post offices to vent his personal vendetta against our profession?
Our profession has been existence for more than 100 years, and we don't need people like Carl Kelly to try and destroy the relations we have built over the years. He is not only affecting our relationships with postal employees, but causing negative talk that can affect our practices.
David J. Cook, DC
" ... imagine the furor ... had he used a similarly undeserved derogatory euphemism for African Americans ..."
Editor's note: This is extracted from Dr. Robert Bader's letter to Senator Campbell (R-CO).
"One can only imagine the furor this man would have to endure had he used a similarly undeserved derogatory euphemism for African Americans, Native Americans, gays, Hispanics, Asians, females, or any other person or group in a minority position in this country. However, since there are fewer than 50,000 chiropractors (who are incidentally not especially politically active), Mr. Kelly may not have to suffer the fate Jimmy the Greek and Ben Wright underwent as the result of uttering a single verbal gaffe insulting blacks and female golfers, respectively.
"I have practiced as a chiropractor for 41 years with more than a modicum of success in getting sick and injured people back on the road to good health, and I can assure that nearly every one of the thousands of people I have treated would be incensed at Kelly's insensitive remarks which he, incredible as it may seem, actually chose to put on official United States Postal Service stationary.
"There are two matters involved: 1) He gives people the impression chiropractors are not able to treat a variety of conditions. 2) He demeans an honored healing art.
"Thank you for your kind consideration of this letter, your attention to this matter and your bringing these issues to the attention of Mr. Kelly and the folks who hold sway over his activities. It is truly appreciated."
Robert O. Bader, DC
Flooding Congress with Letters
Thanks for printing the letter by Mr. Kelly. We have sent letters to the six senators and representatives; a copy of our letter is enclosed.
I'm hopeful they got flooded with letters from DCs. Thanks for your help.
Dennis E. Arne, DC
" ... a better feeling towards chiropractic ..."
I just finished reading Dr. Terry Rondberg's article commentary in the Chiropractic Journal regarding the post office memo. I think it would be wise for you to do so if you haven't. His approach was disarming, but to the point. After reading his article, if I were the postmaster, I would have a better feeling towards chiropractic, and maybe even a better relationship, to where I would not be surprised if we didn't get more business form the post office employees. You might learn something from his approach, instead of looking for a chopping block and other wild conclusions.
Perry Postulka, DC
La Mesa, California
Editor's note: The U.S. Postal Service appears to give chiropractic little respect.
- They did not respond to our multiple requests a few years back for a chiropractic postage stamp commemorating our centennial.
- Their delayed response to the protests of the Kelly memo came from their Grievance and Arbitration Department, rather than Postmaster General Runyon; that speaks volumes.
- The U.S. Postal Service has refused all requests for a meeting with the chiropractic leadership to insure that there are no lingering misunderstandings about chiropractic, and that postal employees are aware of their chiropractic benefits.
As BJ would put it, "Enuf said."
In Dr. Clum's otherwise excellent article on "Chiropractic's Critical Mass" (DC, Aug. 11), he uses as an example the "100th monkey phenomenon." The propagator of this myth, Ken Keyes, stated that when some monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes in the ocean to get rid of the sand, once a "critical mass" of, say, 100 monkeys learned to do this, then through some "overbrain" power the practice spread to other groups of monkeys who had never seen it performed, including monkeys on other islands who presumably had no contact with the originators.
This theory presupposes an unknown, undiscovered power which transfers knowledge once a critical mass of possessors of this knowledge is reached. But let's remember "Ockham's razor": look for the simplest explanation. In this case, it was through direct contact between the groups of monkeys. The practice of washing the sweet potatoes in the ocean was spread to other groups of monkeys by monkeys who migrated to other parts of the island or who drifted across on logs to adjacent islands (all of these islands are in sight of each other). No "overbrain"; no "overmind"; no "critical mass."
Keyes himself never studied this phenomenon. He made it up out of reports from Japanese researchers who, incidentally, did not propose a 100th monkey phenomenon.
This myth is in the same category as Daninken's Chariots of the Gods, or "seeing with the third eye" (supposedly by a Tibetan monk, but actually written by a London store clerk who had never left England!
Allen Caplan, DC