Another View of Chiropractic Associations in Oregon

By Brian R. Stearns, DC, President of Oregon Doctors of Chiropractic (ODOC), Arlen Smith, DC, Vice President of Oregon Doctors of Chiropractic (ODOC) and George Siegfried, DC, Secretary-Treasurer of Oregon Doctors of Chiropractic (ODOC)
Editor's Note: The April 26, 1991 issue of "DC" printed a front page story written by Chuck Bennett, the lobbyist of the Oregon Chiropractic Physicians' Association (OCPA). The title of the article was, "OCPA Proposes Workers' Compensation Legislation."

In Oregon, as is common in many states, there is more than one chiropractic "state" association. In alphabetic order, these are the associations vying to be "the" voice to represent chiropractic in Oregon:

CSO -- Chiropractic Society of Oregon
OCPA -- Oregon Chiropractic Physicians' Association
ODOC -- Oregon Doctors of Chiropractic

Below is a retort to Chuck Bennett's article by Brian Stearns, D.C., president of the ODOC.

The article by Chuck Bennett in the April 26, 1991 issue of "DC" has come as a shock to many chiropractic physicians in the state of Oregon. Multiple inaccuracies and inconsistencies need to be addressed. In the future, we would appreciate the opportunity to review and refute statements made by a non-chiropractic regarding the Oregon doctors of chiropractic or, at the very least, that you investigate and confirm the accuracy of those statements.

The article's title refers to workers' compensation legislation; however, the references to proposed legislation were vague and inconclusive, at best. This is consistent with the OCPA's past history of legislative communication.

Mr. Bennett claims in the article, "The other two associations are single-issue oriented and have less than 25 members." Relative to Oregon Doctors of Chiropractic (ODOC), this is patently untrue. Our organization, which has risen from the aftermath of 1990's legislation, is the only association with a positive treasury report and is communicating with the doctors in the field responsibly -- that is, reporting the facts. We have considerably more than 25 members and are growing rapidly. In contrast, the OCPA has seen a dramatic drop in membership and is operating in the red.

ODOC has within its membership four past presidents of the OCPA, as well as key people who were members of the executive board, budget and legislative committees. It is clear that Mr. Bennett is not a chiropractic physician and does not represent a majority of our peers in this state.

ODOC was founded on a multitude of issues, not one as Mr. Bennett would have you believe. It should be obvious that we are not happy with the changes in the workers' compensation system that were implemented in 1990. These severely restrict the choice of patients to seek the physician of their choice and the ability of the chiropractic physician to adequately treat that patient. We would challenge Mr. Bennett to find 25 chiropractic physicians in the state that are satisfied with these changes.

ODOC is dealing with such issues as creating and supporting a marketing program aimed at enhancing the image of the chiropractic profession in the state, something that the OCPA has failed to do. We are dedicated to keeping the lines of communication open within the profession, thus eradicating a major flaw which previously existed.

ODOC was founded to encourage doctors to realize the power we have in our patients. Doctors and patients are then able to work together to benefit the best health of the patients. Patient participation is the key to prevailing in these issues. ODOC believes that the lobbyist/politician buy-out game is neither the best nor smartest path. It benefits lobbyists and politicians and is not in the best interest of the health of our patients.

The initiative referred to by Mr. Bennett as having "...questionable impact...," though supported by ODOC it is not our brainchild but has as its source the Health Care Coalition of Oregon (HCCO). The HCCO is a group of health care providers of multiple disciplines who have joined together in the true spirit of unity. This initiative amends the constitution of Oregon disallowing discriminatory policies by third-party payers against the patients of any licensed health care professional. A statistically valid survey of Oregon shows that currently this will pass at a ratio of 55 percent for, 20 percent against, and 25 percent undecided. While this may not be a cure-all for all of the ills that have befallen our profession in this state, it will assist in leveling the playing field in gaining access to patients and our patients gaining access to the doctor of their choice.

Mr. Bennett failed to discuss the ongoing attempts for the Chiropractic Society of Oregon (CSO) and the OCPA to merge, from which, until recently, the ODOC has been excluded. The ODOC support the concept of unity in this state, but one sinking ship (OCPA) is not in a position to rescue another sinking ship (CSO). The ODOC's office has been contacted by high ranking members of both groups indicating their support of our position and activities. We invite the members of OCPA and CSO to unify by joining and taking part in ODOC.

Brian R. Stearns, D.C., president
Arlen Smith, D.C., vice president
George Siegfried, D.C., secretary-treasurer
Oregon Doctors of Chiropractic (ODOC)
Salem, Oregon

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