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

An Open Letter to the Chiropractic Profession Regarding the Letter From James Healey, D.C.

"The Wrong Approach for the Wrong Reasons"

By Richard Tyler, DC
During the 1960s the news seemed filled with wild-eyed students protesting just about everything. One of my favorites was the so-called "free speech movement" which consisted of great masses of spaced-out drug addicts demanding they have the right to say and use any language they wanted. For a while they seemed to virtually control the campuses and their liberal teachers. What was most disturbing was not their demand to say what they wanted, but their demand that no one who disagreed should be allowed the same rights they insisted upon. Woe be to the ROTC recruiters on the campus as the "love children" beat on them with their peace placards.

What irritated me most was when the students of the day wanted something -- they never asked or negotiated -- they just demanded and took over buildings if their demands weren't met.

Before and since that time the word "demand" has always been an irritant when used in my direction; it implies that I haven't a choice, and that premise is totally unacceptable.

Recently, I received a letter from Dr. James Healey, president of SCASA, in which he "demanded" that I retract statements in my column dated August 1, 1990.

In this column, "Speaking in Strange Tongues," I indicated that it was my belief that "someone from SCASA got hold of some ignorant (Vermont) legislator and had him introduce legislation that would restrict the profession to adjustments only." My problem (only one of many for those who disagree with my opinions) is that I too often confuse SCASA with FSCO. SCASA is the school "accrediting" agency for the supers while FSCO is their national club for their local ones. In my defense I never stated that I knew that SCASA had a hand in the Vermont situation -- only that "apparently" this was the situation.

If, as Dr. Healey states, "SCASA has never lobbied for or participated in the introduction of legislation to restrict the rights and privileges of others, whether in Vermont or any other jurisdiction, and SCASA does not have as an objective the restriction of any non-member institutions or individual chiropractors"; This is pleasant news to me, and I fervently hope that the preceeding is carved in granite. With the track record of the super straights, however, a form of madness seems to engulf them so it should be of no surprise that I'm a bit skeptical of their statements.

The very fact that super straights live by the words of "B.J." drapes them in a cloak of fanaticism that would be almost amusing if it were not that they might be dangerous to the public and the rest of the profession. They insist on an education commensurate with their beliefs and yet expect to be portals of entry into the health care system. If that wasn't bad enough, they insist that anyone called a chiropractor must practice in a manner they prescribe. Like some holy crusaders, they journey from place to place flinging forth the "B.J." banner of chiropractic insisting that both their colleagues and the lay public accept their interpretation of the "scriptures" according to "B.J." They have this unhealthy idea that they are the anointed guardians of "the big idea." They are the thought police of chiropractic.

In March of 1989, the Public Health Committee of the Texas legislature had a hearing on a bill that would have allowed chiropractors to advise their patients on non-prescription, over-the-counter drugs. You know, "Mrs. Jones -- maybe you should take an aspirin."

Ah -- but the word leaked out that this heretical concept might be approved (big deal), and three noble, ideological knights -- Fred Barge, the current president of the ICA; Douglas Gates, president of the FSCO; and Donald Kern from Palmer College in Davenport, mounted their sturdy steeds and rode forth to do battle against the infidels of common sense.

Everyone who still believes that you can reason with people of this caliber should read a transcript of the proeedings and then make up their own minds. They just can't leave well enough alone; they just have to meddle in every legislative procedure to "protect the big idea." It's not as if the mixer were trying to force their ideas on the supers -- we don't care how they practice. But what gives the super straight troops the right to force their will on others? Who made them the boss?

There isn't enough room to print all the frightening and embarrassing testimony of the hearing, but let me quote a bit from the Gates testimony. Remember -- he's the president of the Federation of Straight Chiropractic Organizations (FSCO).

"Chiropractors address one particular condition or one particular spinal problem which is called a subluxation. Chiropractors don't address all spinal problems. The way this new Texas chiropractic law is worded, I believe it would enable chiropractors legally in the state of Texas to address a lot of problems other than subluxations, or what is commonly practiced in Texas with the current legislative act, the correction of subluxations. ...

"Historically, chiropractic has been the correction of subluxations, a spinal condition, granted, but a specific specialty, especially addressing one kind of spinal condition. Now let me take a moment Mr. Chairman. The new wording of the new Texas law says to analyze, examine or evaluate the biomechanical conditions of the spine. There are a number of things outside the domain of chiropractic, which are spinal problems, could be biomechanical problems of the spine."

In other words, Gates has decided just what bones we are allowed to adjust. He continues, "Also, further to the musculoskeletal system of the human body, the chiropractor may analyze, examine, and evaluate the musculoskeletal system of the body. It's so broad that it severely expands the practice scope for chiropractic. It enables chiropractors to address ankles, part of the musculoskeletal system, knees, shoulders, arms, etc., clearly outside of what chiropractic is and chiropractic should be. ..."

"In my experience in dealing with these kinds of situations in other states (he must travel a lot to make sure we don't stray). ...

"Expansion of the chiropractic practice act is certainly an infringement upon the practice of physical therapy, orthopedic therapy, orthopedic surgery in some cases, if they are going to treat disc problems, which is a spinal problem but certainly not within the realm of chiropractic."

So now you know what bones we are to be allowed to adjust and that disc problems are not within the realm of chiropractic. This from the president of the FSCO who admittedly travels all over the place trying to restrict chiropractic practice laws. And when asked if chiropractors are qualified through training or education to use ultrasound or diathermy to treat musculoskeletal problems, his answer was a simple "I don't believe so, no." Thus, ignoring or totally ignorant of the fact that the majority of the CCE accredited schools teach physical therapy and that the chiropractic profession was one, if not the first, of the health professions to teach formal courses on the subject in our colleges -- dating back to 1914 -- before there was any such thing as a physical therapist.

We must always be on guard for it's said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. If people like Gates, Barge, and Kern have their way, they will define chiropractic for the rest of us with the next step being straight goon squads raiding the offices of the heretic mixers like myself to enforce their will.

So good for Dr. Healey and his statement of non-interference from SCASA. This is one of those times that I'm delighted that I made a mistake -- if this is indeed the policy of his organization.

Now I have a "demand" of Dr. Healey. Openly divorce SCASA from the FSCO and their policy of going from state to state to restrict the scope of practice of others. Make a statement for all to read on how such tactics are repugnant and incompatible with the policies of SCASA and shouldn't be encouraged in the schools they accredit, because such activities are detrimental to the basic freedoms of expression and the welfare of the chiropractic profession. The "flower children" of chiropractic should be allowed their freedom of expression as long as it doesn't attempt to contain the free expression of others.

While I don't know Dr. Healey personally, I appreciate his right to practice as he feels he should and his pronounced conviction that this same respect should be accorded to others. So let's hear from you Dr. Healey. We're all waiting.


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