Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chiropractors qualified to give DOT physicals

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration removed New York chiropractors from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners without providing any criticism for the work they had done.

The FMCSA said their hands were tied, pointing to the New York State Education Department’s interpretation of state law that DOT physicals are outside a chiropractor’s defined scope of practice. The decision was based on scope and not competency, they said.

Regardless of the reason, the action decreased the already limited number of DOT doctors in the state. Early reports suggest that some doctors have increased the price of DOT physicals now that the competition has decreased and the demand has increased.

What’s worrisome is that the dilemma may not stay contained to New York. The Safe Drivers, Safe Roads Coalition believes New York may only be the start. The coalition says there are groups attempting to remove chiropractors from the registry state by state.

This would have a negative impact on truck drivers as it would become increasingly difficult to schedule a DOT physical, and there’s no doubt the prices for a physical would only go up.

A DOT physical should be a simple process. Is the patient medically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle? Chiropractors are more than capable to make that determination, and they have been doing it in good standing for years.  

If you question the qualifications of a chiropractor, let me point out that William Moreau, the chief medical officer for Team USA at the Olympic Games in Rio, is a chiropractor.

According to a recent article in Chiropractic Economics, doctors of chiropractic receive a minimum of seven years of higher level education; are primary care professionals for spinal health and well-being; and are qualified to diagnose, treat and manage a broad spectrum of health conditions.

“Chiropractic plays an important role in preventive, maintenance or injury specific care, and contributes to enhanced clinical outcomes and high patient satisfaction levels among all athletes,” said Moreau, who is also the managing director of sports medicine for the United States Olympic Committee.

Moreau’s selection for such an important job is evidence of the increased amount of respect chiropractors are receiving around the medical world.

It’s too bad that respect doesn’t extend to chiropractors in New York.