2014: Chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists lose in state legislatures

Jan 15, 2015

By Jann Bellamy

I am happy to report some good news: chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and assorted other practitioners of pseudo-medicine didn’t fare too well in the 2013-2014 state legislative sessions.

We’ve been following their legislative efforts all year over at the Society for Science-Based Medicine. Some state legislatures meet in yearly sessions. At the end of the year, pending bills die with the session. Some meet only every other year. Others meet in two-year sessions and, in some of these, legislation introduced in one year carries over to the next year. All states with two-year sessions ended these sessions at the close of 2014, except New Jersey and Virginia. If you want to see how your state operates, several websites can help you: MultiState AssociatesNational Conference of State Legislatures and StateScape.

Chiropractors

Chiropractors are already licensed in all 50 states and all of their practice acts permit the detection and correction of the non-existent subluxation. Having achieved that goal, the focus of chiropractic legislative efforts is to expand their scope of practice (the holy grail, for some, being primary care physician status), turf protection and mandates requiring insurance reimbursement or their inclusion in various activities, such as sports physicals, concussion treatment, and scoliosis detection programs.

The most interesting chiropractic bill, one from Oklahoma, didn’t fall into any of those categories:

Chiropractic physicians in this state shall obtain informed, written consent from a patient prior to performing any procedure that involves treatment of the patient’s cervical spine and such informed consent shall include the risks and possible side effects of such treatment including the risk of chiropractic stroke.

The Oklahoma Chiropractors’ Association thinks informed consent legislation is “dangerous.” According to Chris Wadell, President of the Oklahoma Board of Chiropractic Examiners, informed consent “isn’t needed”:

“We don’t hide from this but it just hasn’t been necessary to do it,” Wadell said. He insists that chiropractors are helping people and are being unfairly blamed for strokes after a patient’s neck is adjusted.

The bill was watered down to a “Task Force on Neck Manipulation.” It passed in the House but not the Senate.

Fortunately, a bill passed and was signed into law by the governor in Wisconsin requiring chiropractors (who already had a duty to obtain informed consent) to inform patients of reasonable treatment alternatives and the risks and benefits of those alternatives. It does not require disclosure of “extremely remote possibilities that might unduly alarm the patient.” The standard for determining what must be disclosed is that of a “reasonable chiropractor,” not what a “reasonable patient” would want to know. We’ll have to see whether chiropractors will inform patients of the risk of cervical manipulation from now on, since the official position seems to be that chiropractic cervical manipulation is not a cause of stroke at all.


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7 comments on “2014: Chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists lose in state legislatures

  • ..opens the body’s defensive chi and stimulate energy movement in the meridians

    Woo merchants invariably will be one step ahead of lawmakers.

    Turn the tables – mandate a statement of for entertainment purposes only under their collective shingles, yet leave the door open for lawsuits from “patient’s” real or perceived injuries.

    But, if the Mayo Clinic of all places, now has a spiritual healing section, perhaps they won’t for money’s sake.



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  • It was explained to me that is the USA chiropractors sell woo, but in Canada they realign bones. From a practical matter ordinary physicians can do almost nothing for crippling back pain, and chiropractors can sometimes relieve it in seconds. They use xrays to measure disc damage, hardly woo.

    The woo merchants I most want stopped are the homeopaths. That is pure bogosity.

    I understand accupuncture has been shown to reduce pain temporarily. The problem is it promises far more, and it is too expensive for a short term pain cure.

    The use of probiotics can make a huge difference for some people. I hope these do not get banned in an effort to protect people who use them who do not need them.



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  • 4
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    It was explained to me that is the USA chiropractors sell woo, but in Canada they realign bones.

    Really? I live in Canada too and I was told that’s what Osteopaths do…. Anyway, what do you make of this notion of “innate intelligence” coined by the inventor of chiropractic:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innate_intelligence

    About acupuncture (as well as chiropractic), the main problem when it comes to demonstrating or refuting its effectiveness is the physical impossibility of conducting true double-blind tests. People will believe what they want to believe because they’re anxious to find relief at all costs. This is why skepticism is such a hard sell in what most people call alternative medicine (I don’t call it that).

    The problem I have with acupuncture is that the whole principle rests on ideas like “meridians” and “chi”, the existence of which cannot be demonstrated. And there is not the least bit of effort made in these alternative medicine communities to supply compelling evidence to what they claim.

    And THAT is why I think the whole thing smells fishy.



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  • Seeing as the chiropractors like to sell woo in the shape of “Chi” and “meridians”, how would they defend against a malpractice suit from a patient claiming their chiropractic session broke their chi, sapped the merians or channeled their energy the wrong way? It would be dismissed as a ridiculous claim and completely untestable – just like the claims and practices of chiropractic and eventually people will join the dots and see chiropractic for what it is.



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  • Honestly, I am an atheist and know plenty of atheist DC’s that only practice science based Chiro. Also any one that will protect the pharma industry is insane. They kill more ppl than any other goverment regulated group. I think there is a big difference between those subluxation quacks as well as those trying to relieve musculoskeletal pain through chiropractic. What ever happen to question and be skeptical. Chi is as real as a unicorn but there are plenty of scienced based chiros . It makes me upset that I can be a Chiropractor but not accepted into the Atheist community. y



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  • Honestly, I am an atheist and know plenty of atheist DC’s that only practice science based Chiro. Also any one that will protect the pharma industry is insane. They kill more ppl than any other goverment regulated group. I think there is a big difference between those subluxation quacks as well as those trying to relieve musculoskeletal pain through chiropractic. What ever happen to question and be skeptical. Chi is as real as a unicorn but there are plenty of scienced based chiros . It makes me upset that I can be a Chiropractor but not accepted into the Atheist community. One final note Id loke to point out is as the Us grows in athiest population so does the demand alternative medicine. I think as we push for acceptance as atheists amd scientists we should also push for acceptance of non invasive forms of health care founded on science which includes the more modern form of Chiropractic not the palmer version.



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