Time to Take a Stand
I remember taking the chiropractic boards in the late '80s and hearing the news that Chester Wilk and the chiropractic profession had won a huge legal victory. We would finally become equals to MDs and DOs in the health care world. I remember jumping around excitedly with fellow students, knowing that we were graduating and passing our boards in an enlightened time. We would be doctors, able to treat and refer patients on an equal footing as other federally recognized doctors.
It's been about 22 years since that ruling came down, and that's how long I have been a chiropractic doctor. So, in that time, what good has come out of that momentous decision? Realistically - nothing! It has actually gotten worse.
Let's lay out the facts. The chiropractic profession is hobbling. We have a broad license to treat the entire human organism, as do the MD and the DO. Yet they thrive and we suffer. Are there exceptions to this? Yes, but by and large, the great majority of chiropractic doctors are financially distressed. I have only met a handful of DCs from my era who have actually been able to not only pay off their huge loans, but to actually thrive from their chosen profession with no other source of income. Most DCs I see work harder than ever. Most DCs are struggling. Many of the people I graduated with in '89 are no longer practicing. Many have totally changed careers or professions. Many have gone bankrupt or are so in debt that they live in conditions that are deplorable.
How can this be? We sacrificed. We studied for years. We took on huge debts based upon the lives we were promised by our college admissions departments. We came out of school in debt. We scrambled and scrambled and scrambled, only to make below-average incomes as a professional.
When a DC gets their license to practice their art, there are no jobs available. For every one job that is available, multitudes of DCs call for the position. This creates a downward cascade of pay scale and income. Try and call for a position in Los Angeles; believe it or not, you will be lucky to get $15 an hour. I personally called around to see what wages were offered. I expressed that I was an X-ray supervisor, that I have been in practice for 22 years, and that I am a qualified medical examiner and an industrial disability evaluator.
They seemed impressed. Then they asked me to come in for an interview. I said, "Before we jump through hoops together, can you please tell me what kind of salary you are offering?" The office manager said $15-$20 an hour based upon experience. I asked her, "Do you actually have chiropractors responding to your ad?" She said she had received more than 100 calls in three days. She was scheduling for interviews as we spoke.
Why is this the case? It's because we are not allowed to practice our profession on the same footing as the MD or the DO. With limited exception, we can't treat patients in hospital settings. For the most part, we have been promised and promised that we would one day be equal in patient care and in our ability to be on hospital staffs at hospitals across the nation. To this day, there are but a few tiny examples of chiropractic doctors on staff at hospitals. A few hospitals have given us a token position or outpatient wing, but overall, the promise of equality for DCs has not happened.
Hospitals are either publicly owned or privately owned. Either way, MDs and DOs are actively employed in each type of hospital. Where are the DCs? It seems to anyone looking at this gross imbalance that there is professional prejudice going on. To add insult to injury, there are partial-license practitioners in hospitals: podiatrists, optometrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, physical therapists, physical therapy assistants and many more.
The AMA and the AHA don't make the laws that call us doctor. The federal government accepts us and recognizes us as doctors. Our individual states put out exams that we must pass in order to be able to actually care for another human being. After being tested to death and passing all the exams, we are then granted the title of Doctor of Chiropractic, and the right and privilege to see and care for patients.
I feel the chiropractic profession has been patient long enough. I feel we have been placed and held in an economically challenged environment. The playing field is clearly not equal. If there are three types of doctors who can treat the entire human frame, and only two of them are allowed to practice in the hospital setting, then there is professional prejudice going on. Why have doctors of chiropractic been singled out? Don't tell me that they need demonstration projects that last 20 and 30 years. Don't tell me we aren't versed in hospital protocol. Teach us and then let us in!
The other day, I saw a former office administrator for an office I used to practice in. She stated that she was a higher-up in a hospital and that they were opening a holistic cancer treatment facility here in the L.A. area. My ears perked up. I asked if I could apply. She said yes and gave me the name and e-mail address of the MD in charge. I wrote the doctor and later received an e-mail that said they were not incorporating chiropractors into the facility. They had yoga, aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture and a host of other services, but no chiropractic, even though we are the only ones trained in a holistic manner.
How can this be - no chiropractors in a wellness center? It's obvious they don't want chiropractors to practice there.
I feel it is time for the profession to file a class-action lawsuit against the AMA and the AHA for professional prejudice on a huge scale. This inequity is containing our profession with the intention of eliminating us altogether. I have had enough. Are you mad enough? Time is running out. We must take the fight to them.
Christopher Sabatino, DC
Los Angeles, Calif.
Pro-Solutions: Full of Integrity
It is not often that I actually take the time to sit down and write to an editor about an article, because I am too busy taking care of patients and helping my chiropractic profession grow. However, this situation needs to be addressed -- I am shocked and insulted by your article, "Second DC Files Suit Against Pro-Solutions" [April 22 issue]. There are two DCs out there who are not doing well and are not happy with their results on the ProAdjuster system because they have chosen to be lazy and inadequate. It is not due to lack of amazing research and quality and endless support from Dr. Moe and the Pro Solutions team.
I bought my first ProAdjuster just four years back and my second instrument two months later. I purchased a third and the ProSoft system five months after that. Do you think this was because the system was unsupported and lame? Of course not! It is because of the amazing hardware in the instrument, combined with the most all-inclusive, hands-on support system from Dr. Moe and Pro-Solutions.
I took advantage of all the seminars (offered for free), daily phone calls, weekly reports, online help, online training, and conference calls. In other words, I studied, went to class and aced the test. Is that something new to DC's? My practice grew from $220,000 in sales to just under a million in collections this year with three full-time docs. I owe this success and freedom to Dr. Moe.
I have also had the opportunity to teach with Dr. Moe and educate students, the public and other DCs about the amazing system and how they can do it, too. Do you know that most DCs make $70,000 a year and have not been able to take a week off since starting practice? Dr. Moe educates and leads docs to the financial freedom they have only dreamed of.
Why would you pick the negative? Plenty of DCs go out of business daily, default on payments, default on student loans, and suffer because of a lack of experts like Dr. Moe. You should truly consider an apology and ask Dr. Moe to begin writing a column on how to help our profession. I am sure he would be willing. Considering he is probably the most successful DC, it may be smart for you to ask him.
Please take my disgust as a motivation to turn yourself around and stop hurting this profession. Pro-Solutions is full of integrity and has helped so many of us that you should be handing Dr. Moe an award, not criticizing and celebrating someone's downfall.
Kimberly Woudsma, DC
Lafayette Hill, Pa.
Dissatisfied With How I Was Handled
I was sold a ProAdjuster machine by Dr. Maurice Pisciottano in December 2008. I was specifically told by Dr. Moe that if I wasn't satisfied after my first year I would be able to return it and would only have put $13,500 out of pocket. Well, before that first year ended, I spoke with him and another associate of his, and they told me that since I wasn't 100 percent compliant on their weekly computer trainings and doing all of the homework assignments, that I would not be able to return the ProAdjuster. I was floored. I said to them that I had never been told that I was not up to date on the assignments. I thought I was doing just fine with them.
I asked if I "caught up" to wherever they thought I needed to be [in terms of assignments], would that count. They said no. I said, then why should I even continue with it? It was all a scam. Later on the phone I spoke with Dr. Pisciottano and explained all this to him again, and he said that they were not in the business to have the equipment returned back to them, but that they would help me out with marketing or anything else that they could, but I would not be able to return the machine for any credit or refund.
I explained to him that the only reason I took the risk in the first place is because he promised me personally before I signed the deal (and another individual who "sold" the machine to me personally told me and my wife over the phone) that I could return it after one year if not fully satisfied. Now I am filing bankruptcy because of this dirty deal. I am sure there are may more individuals who are very dissatisfied in the way they were handled, not because of the machine itself.
Jeff Labrado, DC
Dynamic Chiropractic encourages letters to the editor to discuss any issue relevant to the profession, including response to articles that appeared in a previous issue of the publication. All letters should be e-mailed to with "Letter to the Editor" in the subject field. Submission represents acknowledgement that your letter may appear in a future issue of DC, but does not guarantee publication. We receive considerable correspondence and endeavor to publish as many perspectives as possible.