The New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 5-2 against House Bill 127, legislation that would have given "advanced practice" DCs unprecedented scope subject to approval by the state's chiropractic board.The March 17, 2011 vote, a little over two weeks after the N.M. House of Representatives passed the legislation by a 47-21 margin, means the bill is considered dead.
H.B. 127 would have provided for "a certified advanced practice physician to prescribe and administer dangerous drugs or controlled substances and to perform certain other procedures"; defined the practice of "chiropractic medicine"; and amended certain sections of the chiropractic practice act, including but not limited to removing exclusions regarding the prescription of "controlled or dangerous" drugs and the performance of invasive/operative surgery.
Following the Senate Judiciary Committee vote, Dr. Stephen Perlstein, past president of the New Mexico Chiropractic Association and immediate past chair of the NMCA Political Action Committee, provided the following official statement. (Dr. Perlstein served as the association's expert witness on all committee hearings regarding H.B. 127):
"The bill was voted down not because of our philosophical differences, but because some senators on the committee were just not certain that the educational requirements were going to produce the safe product that would make them feel most comfortable about passing this bill at this time," said Dr. Perlstein. "Usually, bills of this highly controversial nature take many years to advance and be passed into law. We have had unprecedented and immediate success with our advanced practice bills in 2008 and 2009. This was H.B. 127's first introduction. Through the efforts of dedicated chiropractors, our lobbyist, and the office of our sponsor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, we were able to move this bill through two House committees, a House floor vote of 47-21, and the Senate Public Affairs Committee before falling short in the final committee prior to a Senate floor vote and the Governor's desk.
"This bill will have the light of day again. I can assure everyone that this bill will become law the next time around. We in New Mexico are ever more committed to being the physicians that our patients need without giving up the most important principles of chiropractic. The profession is changing. One can't help but notice that it is doing this not only in New Mexico, but around the world. What we have started here now has a life of its own. For those adamantly committed to preserving the fundamentals of chiropractic, hopefully the day will come when you realize that you can keep them and allow expansion to happen, and that chiropractic will actually, believe it or not, be the better off for it."
Chiropractic educators and leaders on both sides of the legislation testified in advance of the Senate Judiciary Committee vote; look for a point-counterpoint article on what is clearly a contentious issue in the near future.