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Dynamic Chiropractic – February 15, 1991, Vol. 09, Issue 04

ACA Lobbies to Commission DCs in the Armed Services

By Editorial Staff
On January 14th, 1990 legislation to have doctors of chiropractic commissioned in the military was introduced by Senator Strom Thurmond (Republican -- South Carolina) and was referred to the Senate Armed Forces Services Committee for further study and deliberation.

The bill (S.68), co-sponsored by senators Daniel Inouye (Democrat -- Hawaii) and Richard Shelby (Democrat -- Alabama), is a piece of legislation that will, among other things, "ease the current shortage of health care professionals in the armed services," Thurmond said.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has been lobbying diligently for the introduction of this legislation by the 101st Congress. According to ACA Board Chairman David Redding, D.C., "The ACA is pleased this bipartisan group of senators has responded to the ACA's urging for legislation to include chiropractic care within armed services settings."

"This legislation," said Thurmond, "will serve to ensure that members of the armed services have a full range of health care services available to them."

Currently, some health care professionals -- including doctors of medicine and osteopathy, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, psychologists, dieticians, and physical therapists may serve as commissioned officers in the armed services, according to Thurmond's office. However, doctors of chiropractic, whose educational credentials match or exceed some of the groups previously mentioned, are noticeably absent from this list.

Armed service personnel who wish to receive chiropractic care must seek such care outside their usual health care facilities and pay for any care received themselves.

"In the last Congress," said ACA Board Chairman Redding, "in recognition of the value chiropractic would have in the military ... Thurmond and Congressman Lane Evans (Democrat -- Illinois) introduced legislation to create chiropractic sections under each branch's medical service corps. These members, and those joining them as co-sponsors (in the new Congress, just convened) realize this legislation is long overdue."

"Chiropractic is also approved for veterans' training under the G.I. Bill," continued Dr. Redding, further outlining the ACA's rationale for this effort in a letter to all members of Congress. "This is supremely ironic," he wrote, "since (doctors of chiropractic) are ineligible to offer those services in the military as commissioned officers. ... Doctors of chiropractic stand ready to serve their country as commissioned officers in their professional capacity, but are being denied the opportunity to do so. ... Please do not miss this opportunity to attend to the health care needs of our brave forces at home and abroad."

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