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September 12, 2011

Calif. Board Adopts Informed Consent Requirements for DCs

With the recent adoption of new informed consent requirements for California chiropractors, the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners has joined the ranks of only a few chiropractic regulatory agencies in the nation to require its licensees to inform patients of potential risks of their treatment.

The new law, which goes into effect on Oct. 7, 2011, requires chiropractors to obtain patient consent prior to providing any treatment that could pose a risk of harm to the patient. Specifically, this regulation will do the following:

  • Require all licensees to inform each patient, verbally and in writing, of the material risks of proposed care (defining "material" as a procedure inherently involving known risk of serious bodily harm)
  • Require the licensee to obtain the patient's written informed consent prior to initiating clinical care
  • Provide that the signed written consent shall become part of the patient's record
  • Specify that a violation of the above requirements constitutes unprofessional conduct and may subject the licensee to disciplinary action

"The BCE has been working diligently to improve the standards of care in the chiropractic profession in California," said Fred N. Lerner, DC, chair of the BCE. "The BCE's primary mission is consumer protection, and these new regulations are part of the Board's ongoing effort to ensure patient safety. Informed consent is considered a standard of care in the chiropractic profession and this regulation reinforces that standard. The informed consent process ensures that the patient's right to self-determination regarding health care is paramount."

The BCE continues to work with stakeholders on other regulations to improve patient safety and consumer protection. Please visit the board's Web site ( for information regarding existing and proposed regulations. To receive timely information concerning upcoming meetings and new and proposed laws, join the board's e-mail list.

Source: California Board of Chiropractic Examiners

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