ACA Takes on ASHN, CIGNA
Over the years, the chiropractic profession hasn't been shy about taking on the insurance industry in court when it witnesses abuses against patients and/or providers.The latest effort in that regard is a class-action suit filed on Dec. 28, 2012 by the American Chiropractic Association against American Specialty Health, Inc., and American Specialty Health Networks (ASHN), CIGNA Corporation and Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CIGNA). The suit, being handled by Pomerantz Grossman Hufford Dahlstrom & Gross, LLP, alleges "arbitrary reductions of care, lack of communication to providers and patients, resulting in coverage and payment errors, and interference with doctors' duty to exercise professional clinical judgment in managing patients' treatment plans, according to an ACA release announcing the litigation.
"ACA was compelled to take this action against ASHN and CIGNA because their egregious practices are undermining patient care and doctor-patient relationships. DCs feel they have to choose between acting in the best interest of the patient, and adhering to the requirements imposed by ASHN and payers they work with," said ACA President Keith Overland, DC. "Since 2002 we have worked to try and improve these issues. It is now time for action and we will not rest until patients across the nation receive all the care they need and have paid for through their insurance premiums."
Among other allegations outlined in the ACA release is the claim that ASHN / CIGNA violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing "to afford its subscribers or their health care providers an opportunity to obtain a 'full and fair review' of denied or reduced reimbursement, and to make appropriate and non-misleading disclosures to subscribers or their health care providers."
The ACA is encouraging doctors of chiropractic who contract with ASHN and/or CIGNA, and have experienced any problems relative to these allegations, to visit the association's Chiropractic Networks Action Center (www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=4374), which features forms and instructions on how to submit a complaint against one or both insurers.
Palmer Recruiting Participants for Two NIH-Funded Studies
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research has begun patient recruitment for two National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded studies, one on low back pain and the other on neck pain, that will be conducted simultaneously at the PCCR clinic in Davenport, Iowa. The Patient Response to Spinal Manipulation (PRiSM) study will investigate the relationship between back pain and possible dysfunction of the supportive muscles of the back, while the Measuring Chiropractic Delivery for Neck Pain Clinical Trial (MCD Trial) will assess the efficacy of three types of chiropractic delivery for patients with neck pain and/or pain radiating from the neck to the arms and hands.
"These studies are examples of the important work being conducted by Palmer researchers in the area of translational research," said Palmer Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy, Christine Goertz, DC, PhD. "Translational research is driven by the premise that to improve human health, scientific discoveries must be translated into practical, everyday applications. The PCCR is a leader in applying translational research to the field of chiropractic. Our research is focused on how to improve delivery of care and patient outcomes for practicing doctors of chiropractic."
The LBP study will require a patient base of 80 adults ages 21-65; the neck pain study will comprise 45 patients ages 18-70. To learn more about the details of either study, visit www.palmerresearchclinic.com.
Palmer Appoints New Board Member, Reappoints Four
In other Palmer College news, the Palmer Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Michael Chance, DC, to the board for a one-year term. In addition, the board has reappointed four members, each for three-year terms: Trevor Ireland, DC (chairman), Kent Forney (vice chairman), Vickie Palmer (secretary general) and Kent Pilcher.
Life West Faculty Published in Journal of Chiropractic Education
A study focused on the cultural competency of chiropractic students and authored by Life Chiropractic College West faculty members Kim Khauv, DC, MPH, and Joel Alcantara, DC, appears in the Fall 2012 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Chiropractic Education. Dr. Khauv outlined the study design and findings in a recent Life West press release:
"The purpose of the study was to measure the cultural competency and confidence of a group of third-year senior students. Students completed a 40-item questionnaire regarding their competency in providing care to patients of diverse backgrounds. A subsequent 15-item questionnaire focused on their confidence in delivering chiropractic care to the same group. Afterward, these students attended a six-hour lecture called 'Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness,' where they discussed cultural differences, biases and assumptions.
"Ultimately, the students increased awareness of themselves, their prospective patients' traditional healing beliefs and learned practical means of addressing cultural blind spots. They discussed non-verbal cues, word choice, active listening and building trust. Following the lecture, these same students were given the same set of questionnaires to determine how much they had retained. The results were impressive, as participants improved constructive attitudes toward a patient's unique values."
"The results of the study provide assurance that cultural competency can be actively learned and successfully applied by chiropractic students when given instruction and guidance," said Dr. Khauv.
Founding Member of NBCE Passes Away
On Jan. 2, 2013, Dr. Robert Runnells, who practiced in Greeley, Colo., home of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, until his retirement in 1986 and is credited with helping found the organization, passed away at the age of 94. While serving on the Council of State Chiropractic Examining Boards in the early '60s, Dr. Runnells offered a motion that became the first step in creating the NBCE in 1963. He later signed the board's original articles of incorporation and then served three terms on the board (1964-1967), including service as vice president from 1965-66. He also served on the Colorado State Board of Chiropractic Examiners for 20-plus years.
Foot Levelers Continues Support of Profession With Donation
Foot Levelers, Inc., recently made the announcement that all proceeds from the company's 60th anniversary seminars – $36,000 in all – will be donated back to the chiropractic profession, with chiropractic colleges receiving the bulk of the donation and the Foundation for Chiropractic College receiving more than $10,000.
"As far back as I can remember, Foot Levelers has always believed strongly in the importance of chiropractic education on both a college level and post-doctoral level," said Kent Greenawalt, chairman and CEO "These seminars meant a lot to us because it allowed us to celebrate our 60th anniversary, provide quality education, and give back to chiropractic profession in order to help the profession to grow and become as successful as possible."