As chiropractors, we enjoy some of the most loyal patients of any profession. Because of this loyalty, we also have a tremendous influence over their decisions concerning health issues.An often-overlooked decision that could affect our patients' health is the auto insurance carrier they choose.
As all chiropractors are aware, or should be aware, some auto insurance carriers discriminate against chiropractors and chiropractic care. Due to this, our patients who have PIP/MedPay and/or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage could be limited in the amount of chiropractic care they receive, regardless of those policy limits. This would also affect the amount of any final settlement offered in the case of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Unlike group health insurance, which is usually provided by the employer, the choice of auto insurance companies is made by the individual. In most cases, these decisions were guided by referrals from friends or family. I believe the chiropractic community should make a concerted effort to inform and educate our patients, through letters, newsletters and conversations, as to which auto insurance companies discriminate against chiropractic care, and encourage them to seek coverage elsewhere.
Perhaps Dynamic Chiropractic could run a survey once or twice a year and have chiropractors rate auto insurance coverage, and then publish the results, listing the three best and three worst auto insurance companies with regards to chiropractic care. This survey could then be used as a tool for educating our patients.
Conservatively, it is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of the population regularly seeks chiropractic care. That means that chiropractors have an influence over 30 to 60 million people. If each of us were only able to persuade 20 patients to change auto insurance carriers, from one that discriminates against chiropractic care to one that treats it more favorably, that would translate into approximately 1.2 million defections from those companies. This not only in turn would give our patients coverage that is more favorable to the health care delivery system of their choice, namely chiropractic care, but would also make a tremendous statement to those offending auto insurance companies, that discriminating against chiropractic care is no longer good business.
Name withheld upon request.
A Call for Changes to the FDA
In 1992, in an effort to speed up drug approvals, Congress authorized the FDA to collect funds from the brand-name drug manufacturers. I recently completed my doctorate in public administration. My thesis explored the impact of pharmaceutical fees on the changes within the FDA.
My wife of 22 years is a board-certified family physician, and I have been a senior health care executive for more than 20 years. Despite having an extensive health care background, when I first started my thesis, I wouldn't have believed that the FDA could be corrupted or influenced by this funding method.
Now, after two years of investigation, I am convinced from the evidence that the FDA's dependence on drug industry fees has created a deadly, unethical alliance and caused a principal-agent, pro-drug industry shift that puts millions of innocent Americans at risk. With the FDA's current dependence on drug industry funding, and with the drug industry's ability to use financial blackmail to limit FDA consumer protection oversight, at minimum, a new, independent, FDA Drug Safety Center must be established.
Gary W. Lawson, PhD, DPA
Diamond Bar, California
"These Concerns Now Must Meet My Satisfaction"Editor's note: The following letter was sent to Drew Boster, director of development for Palmer College of Chiropractic, following the Palmer Board of Trustees' decision to disassociate itself from the Palmer College of Chiropractic International Alumni Association (PCCIAA). To read the full story, please visit www.chiroweb.com/archives/23/08/12.html.
March 28, 2005
Director of Development
Palmer College of Chiropractic
1000 Brady Street
Davenport, IA 52803-5214
After graduating from Palmer in 1963, practicing forty years, sending numerous students to Palmer, funding numerous insurance policies on the Heritage Wall, contributing to all capital programs, funding our parents scholarship of approximately $50,000, being a member of the President's Club since its conception, and being named the outstanding international alumnus in 2002, I find the situation at Palmer ridiculous and offensive.
The Board of Trustees has, as you know, disenfranchised the PCCIAA, of which I am an officer. The Board of Trustees telling alumni officers to resign and denying us the right to express any opinion concerning Palmer's management is ludicrous and overbearing. To give up our American right of freedom of speech is beyond comprehension and could only be demanded by petty bureaucrats who fear what critically thinking people have to say.
I have no choice but to redirect my contributions, i.e., insurance policies, President's Club, capital contributions, and my will. I will hold that money in abeyance until the Board of Trustees reverses its abominable behavior and Larry Patton is no longer an employee or advisor at Palmer. To paraphrase the Board of Trustees' demand, resolution of these concerns now must meet my satisfaction.
Jerry Ray Willis, DC