Choosing the Primary Care Path: A Golden Opportunity
I agree with your opinions and applaud your insight. This question [of whether DCs should consider a role in primary care - see "A Golden Opportunity in Primary Care," Jan. 15 issue] is not a new one, but in my opinion it is an increasingly important one. The opportunity void has existed for some time.
Personally, I would welcome the scope expansion and chance to serve in a wider capacity as a physician. It would not require a lot to provide the necessary classroom training to prepare DCs who chose to become authentic, full-scope primary care providers. Those who chose an expanded path would also need the necessary clinical training (rotations, etc.) to prepare them for the role.
The biggest obstacle would come from members of our own profession. The "ostrich syndrome" and apathy is alive and well in our profession, and we have almost exclusively, for the greater part of our existence, focused on fighting to maintain the status quo or defend our existence as subluxation "fixers," and failed to grasp that if we are not growing we will eventually diminish in relevance and influence as a profession.
Perhaps your influence can provoke the profession into action. Evidence-based medicine is gaining on us, and what's more, our enemy is mostly us! As you know, our slice of the health care pie is growing smaller despite increased educational and licensure requirements to become a DC. The majority of graduating chiropractors are faced with large college debt, yet the median income for new DCs and, for that matter, established DCs, is not at parity with other health care practitioners.
Thank you for asking the question. I sincerely hope our professional leaders are listening, asking the same question, and willing to take action.
Ronald O. Williams, DC