While doctors of chiropractic have served in state legislatures over the years, none has been elected to the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. Could that all change in 2012? Lifelong Coloradoan Dr. Perry Haney believes so, and he brings a unique resume to the table. Dr. Haney is a doctor of chiropractic and a medical doctor, one of only a handful to possess both degrees, and he wears both hats proudly. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Haney outlines his health care platform and offers insight into some of the issues he feels are preventing chiropractic – and the health care system in general – from realizing their true potential.
What shaped your decision to become a) a medical doctor; and b) a doctor of chiropractic? [A desire] to serve. I was happy and my career was moving forward at John Deere, but I knew I could do more. My motivation to be a DC came from my parents, who took me to a chiropractor at two weeks and whose treatment most likely saved my life. After building a successful chiropractic practice, I felt that I could use those skills learned at Palmer in the practice of medicine. In my practice, I eschew drugs except where necessary, utilize many chiropractic evaluation techniques and work closely with my colleagues in chiropractic.
Chiropractic and allopathic medicine have had a tumultuous relationship over the years, at least in the professional / political sense. What do you think accounts for this? Misunderstanding to a large degree. More and more, I see DCs working with medical doctors and other health care professionals. I spoke just last week to one of our state's leading orthopedic surgeons, who works closely with many DCs. The wonderful article in Sports Illustrated [Oct. 3 issue] on the treatment by Dr. Carrick of Sidney Crosby [center for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League] demonstrates the results that can be obtained if MDs and DCs work together in the best interest of the patient. (By the way, anyone who has not yet read that article should do so. Dr. Carrick at Life University truly has helped advance the treatment of a great athlete.)
In your experience, what does the average medical doctor think about chiropractic care? This has changed dramatically over the years. The average MD (as opposed to their leadership) knows the efficacy of chiropractic and recognizes DCs as an important part of the health care delivery system.
What about within the chiropractic profession itself? In your opinion, how are philosophical / practice differences affecting the profession, and what can / should be done? There have been differences within chiropractic going back to the [days of] D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer. Healthy debate is good, but I want to focus on what unites 100 percent of the DCs in America: a) Our brave men and women in uniform, our veterans and their families should have access to chiropractic care at every single military and VA hospital in the world. b) The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should have chiropractic represented at the highest level and treat chiropractic as a full-fledged member of the health care delivery system. All future health care reforms should have chiropractic included as a full partner. c) Our chiropractic college graduates, should they wish to serve our country in uniform, should be allowed to enter as commissioned officers. d) Insurance companies must treat chiropractic equitably. One hundred percent of chiropractors support these points and we should unite to fight for them.
Describe your practice philosophy as a medical doctor and a chiropractor, including with respect to drugs and surgery. I utilize both only as a last resort.
Outline your health care platform as you will be presenting it during the election process. We need to fix Medicare, not destroy it. One way to fix Medicare is via greater utilization of chiropractic, which is proven to save costs. Chiropractic [also] must be included on an equal playing field in all insurance systems. The American people must be given the right to freely choose between allopathic and chiropractic in appropriate cases.
What role do you believe chiropractic can and should play in health care? I believe chiropractic must be a full partner in the health care delivery system to the full extent of chiropractic training and state licensing.
As an MD, explain your perspective on the cervical manipulation – stroke risk connection and surrounding hype. I have read the research purporting to show a correlation between chiropractic and strokes. This is a fallacy. The proof frankly is in malpractice rates. In Colorado, the cost of malpractice insurance for DCs is less per annum than the average MD pays in a month. If chiropractic were dangerous, malpractice rates would reflect that. This is just one of the many fallacies I can speak out on as a member of Congress.
What is stopping the 85-90 percent of patients who do not choose chiropractic care, and what can be done about it? Educate the public. I am sure that the article on Sidney Crosby will bring many new patients to chiropractic. Similarly, I read an article [about] a young man at [Texas Christian University] running one of the fastest times in the world after receiving chiropractic treatment for a chronic injury that threatened his athletic career. Most people, for example, don't know that most NFL, NBA and NHL teams, as well as Tour de France teams, have chiropractors on staff. Let's educate the public about the good we do.
If elected to Congress, what will you do to improve the health care system – for health care professionals and for patients? Medicare needs to be reformed so that all patients can see the best practitioners. Insurance companies and all third-party-payer systems must be strictly regulated so that patients get the care and treatment they need (and have paid for) by the licensed providers of their choice.
Anything else you'd like to add? My door plate in Congress will say Perry Haney, DC, MD. It will be an honor to invite chiropractors from around the country to the unveiling. It will be momentous to have an advocate for chiropractic in the halls of Congress. Thank you for this opportunity.
To learn more about Dr. Haney and for updates on his campaign, visit www.perryhaneyforcongress.com.