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Dynamic Chiropractic – April 22, 2011, Vol. 29, Issue 09

The NCLAF: Protecting Your Right to Practice

By Robert Mastronardi, DC

Day after day, I hear that doctors of chiropractic are having a hard time surviving in this economy. Some have been forced to close their business or let their staff go; others have had to take on a part-time job or see more patients to compensate for decreasing reimbursement.

The burden of the slow economy also falls on our patients, with their deductibles and co-pays getting higher, but without increasing the doctor's reimbursement. It's not a secret to anyone that our reimbursement levels are much lower compared to MDs, DOs and PTs.

Since 1999, the National Chiropractic Legal Action Fund (NCLAF) has protected doctors of chiropractic on the state and federal level against discriminatory insurance practices and attempts to limit chiropractic scope of practice, such as is currently taking place in Texas and Connecticut. The NCLAF was created to help defend state organizations and states that come under attack.

The problem is, just as doctors of chiropractic are struggling in the economy, so is the NCLAF. In 2009, the NCLAF had 256 contributors; in 2010, this number is only 172. Last year, the NCLAF took in $58,000; in 2009, it was $124,000. At present, we have roughly $80,000 in the fund.

As new NCLAF chairman, I have several important goals: to increase the fund to at least $100,000 and to increase the number of individual contributors to 200. Ultimately, of course, my goal is to increase the total revenue.

Like the majority of ACA leaders, I've been a contributor since the fund was established. We all contribute to many important chiropractic funds. I ask you to find some resources and contribute as much as you can to the NCLAF, to continue to build ammunition that we can use to fight the attacks from outside forces.

If most DCs can contribute $100 a year, it will be a significant boost to the fund's resources. I know times are tough. We are competing with CHAMP, the F4CP and other important causes. Without the NCLAF, however, doctors are left unprotected.

If your state is under attack, you can request help from the NCLAF. Urge your state association to contact the ACA. The NCLAF Executive Committee will invite your state association representatives to a conference call to review your issue and make a decision.

The NCLAF has won important victories including restoring chiropractors' physician status in the federal Blue Cross Blue Shield program. Now the NCLAF is contributing to important battles, including those currently ongoing in Texas and Connecticut, the states that are fighting chiropractic adversaries armed with much deeper pockets than the chiropractic profession. Your state could come under direct attack any time.

Go to www.acatoday.org/NCLAF and contribute to the NCLAF today. Help us build protection for you and your right to practice.


Dr. Robert Mastronardi is the ACA's District IV governor, chairman of the NCLAF Advisory Board and the NCLAF Executive Committee, and past chairman of the ACA Finance Committee.


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