For some primary care doctors, hearing that a patient has consulted with a chiropractor can be a real pain in the neck.
MDs have been clashing with DCs (chiropractors) for years over their abilities and qualifications for certain procedures, and there's no sign of the debate letting up any time soon. In fact, as the national demand for spine care accelerates as quickly as an aging population's aches and pains, the chiropractor and physician debate over care is bound to intensify.
There's already a skirmish brewing over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which chiropractors cite as a path toward improved reimbursements. Physicians, predictably, are putting up resistance.
A Fight as Big as Texas
But there's been no longer or bigger clash between the two maladjusted professions than in Texas, where litigation between the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners is underway. At the heart of arguments by physicians is whether chiropractic work should be allowed to cross the line into the practice of medicine, in general and specific procedures.
One case centers on whether chiropractors may perform electromyography needle biopsies or manipulation under anesthesia, or whether such practices should be conducted only by licensed medical doctors. The case has been bouncing around various levels of courts in Texas, with appeals and reversals along the way.