Over the past few years, doctors of chiropractic around the country have been screaming, and I do mean screaming, about the abuses of the American Chiropractic Network (ACN) and have been pleading for someone to do something. Well, as you probably know, the ACA listened, did its homework, and then filed a lawsuit against ACN. [For more information, see "ACA Files Federal Suit Against American Chiropractic Network" in the July 4 issue: [www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/14/01.html] The ACA alleged that ACN participated with the other managed care companies in the case in a conspiracy to illegally and systematically underpay providers by denying reimbursement for medically necessary treatment. In addition to filing the lawsuit, current ACA activities include engaging state attorneys general and other regulatory authorities to join the effort.
Perhaps ACA President, Dr. Richard Brassard, summed it up best when he stated: "There is simply no greater priority for ACA than to oppose what we view as the abusive tactics of ACN and other managed care organizations that systematically deny needed chiropractic care toour patients. Doctors from across the country have provided us with reports of intimidation and coercion conducted under the guise of utilization control. This can no longer be tolerated by a profession dedicated to quality patient care. The ACA intends to expend every effort and seek every possible legal remedy to put a halt to these harmful practices."
The National Chiropractic Legal Action Fund (NCLAF) has repeatedly stated it was only a matter of time until further legal action would be necessary to protect and defend this profession and our patients. That prediction was not prophetic; it was merely a statement of the obvious. The NCLAF already has expended a significant amount of money (in the five-figure range) for legal research prefatory to the ACN filing. Now that the lawsuit has been filed, it goes without saying that our legal expenses will increase greatly.
The ACA and the NCLAF are fighting for your practice, your profession and your patients. If this legal action has not earned your ACA membership and NCLAF support, what does it take? If you are not an ACA member, it is time for you to join the organization that is fighting for you! From the defeat of S.1955 [www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/12/15.html] to the filing of the ACN lawsuit, the ACA truly has earned your membership! And after joining the ACA, you should become a monthly contributor to the NCLAF. The abuses of ACN have occurred on our "watch," and it is our duty and our time to protect and defend this profession.
Right now, while this article is fresh in your mind, please send an e-mail to me and I will personally help get you signed up as an ACA member and as a monthly NCLAF contributor.
If not you, then who? If not now, when?
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