Tag Archives: Military

Legislative Issue Briefs Are Here

As I posted about previously, the National Chiropractic Legislative Conference (NCLC) is about to get under way in Washington DC.  They have just released the issue briefs that they will be presenting to our senators and representatives.  Y0u can do your part by familiarizing your self with these issues and contacting your elected officials about these topics.  The ACA has chosen 6 areas of emphasis this year.  They are:

Veterans Affairs (VA)

Medicare

National Health Reform

TRICARE

Department of Defense (DOD)

Chiropractic A Low Cost Solution

All of these issues are of great importance, but one is close to home for me in more ways than one.  I grew up with my father in the military.  I know many servicemen and women.  I have always wanted to serve my country and support these brave men and women.

Image from www.hill.af.mil

There are currently 11 new civilian positions required to begin by September of this year for chiropractors.  I would prefer chiropractors be commissioned, but as long as we provide chiropractic care to these soldiers who need it most then I am ok.  If that mean civilian posts, that is fine.  I will be writing to my representatives with two proposals and encourage you to do the same.  Commission Chiropractors in the military.  Baring that option, then at least provide a civilian chiropractic position for our troops here in Utah at Hill Air Force Base.

Image from www.hill.af.mil

The 75th Medical Group at Hill AFB provides health care for more than 5000 active duty military and medical services for over 50,000 TRICARE beneficiaries.  There is no chiropractic treatment for our military here in Utah, despite that full hospital facillity at Hill AFB.  If we don’t commission them then I want Hill AFB Utah to be one of those 11 new sites designated this year.  Please contact your representatives with this information.  Let’s provide for our troops who do so much for us.

Support Chiropractic Legislation

Each year, chiropractors get together to try to promote legislation that would advance people’s access to chiropractic care.  This meeting is NCLC (National Chiropractic Legislative Conference) in Washington DC usually at the end of February.  I thought I’d let you know what is going on or going to go on there.

Last November the leaders of the ACA (American Chiropractic Association) met to discuss the issues facing the profession.  Each year they come up with 5-7 issues that need action.  Legislative briefs are created so that those of us addressing our elected officials have some data to fall back on.  They usually put these out a week or two before the conference so you have a chance to review them and understand the issue at hand.  Here are last years briefs.  I will post the briefs for this year as soon as they are put out.  Look for those here in the next few weeks.

According to the ACA website this years NCLC will focus on “Grassroots mobilization, empowering patients and supporters to become involved in the legislative process as citizen lobbyists and the effective training of DCs as spokespersons and organizers of grassroots activity.”  This is an example of government by the people.  We are the people.  We get to make the rules, so let’s take part in our own governance.

Already this month, the first chiropractic legislation of this year was introduced in the US House of Representatives.  It is H. R. 484 introduced by Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL).  Click here to take action to help get this bill passed.  This bill attempts to extend chiropractic care in the military health system to U.S. military retirees, dependents and survivors through the Defense Department’s TRICARE program.  Here is some background information on the issue from the ACA.  It’s an older code, but it checks out.

Obama Win May Mean Commissioning of Chiropractors in the Military

I’ve always tried to avoid talking politics on this blog, which for me is difficult, as I’m very patriotic and interested in the function of our government.  However, I thought today I would weigh in on how the election may effect the profession of chiropractic, without trying to give away my leanings. 

Regarding chiropractic, President Elect, Barack Obama has recently said, in a letter to the American Chiropractic Association,

“We need to expand the range of chiropractic services covered by Medicare, facilitate integration of doctors of chiropractic into the health care systems of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, and allow commission of doctors of chiropractic as officers in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service”

This may be a prime time for chiropractors to get some good policies in place, to push for commissioning of chiropractors in the military and getting all of our troops the chiropractic care they need and deserve.  I urge all chiropractors, patients, friends and family to look into your newly elected officials.  What ever their policies and agendas may be they are our elected officials, and represent us, and now may be a prime season to move the cause of chiropractic forward.

Election day is not the only day that we should participate in our government.  It is a government by the people.  Our representatives need to hear from us now as they are preparing for the transition.  If we let them know what we want done now we may be able to get something done before they start running for re-election.

There are still two resolutions sitting in committees in congress.  Let’s get chiropractors commissioned in this election cycle!

More Chiropractic For the Military… Still Not Enough

The ACA officially posted an article on Thursday announcing Congress’ latest improvement for our military troops access to chiropractic.  According to the article:

Congress has once again affirmed its desire to ensure accessibility of chiropractic care within the military and has ordered the Pentagon to expand the availability of chiropractic services to 11 additional military bases.

This is great news, however the troops that need it the most are our troops overseas.  Despite the success of the program stateside, we still have no chiropractors to care for our troops who are deployed throughout the world.

There are 3 bills still in congress that could affect this issue.  The first is HR 5658 which passed in the House and now sits in the Senate that directs the pentagon to begin opening positions overseas as part of a military funding bill for 2009.  The other two are twin bills in both the house and senate (HCR 294, SCR 75) to try to get chiropractors commissioned.  If that were the  case then chiropractors could be stationed or shipped with units where ever they were needed instead of being civilian contractors working at established stateside facilities.

For more information visit www.commissionchiropractors.com.  That site has also newly posted the Candidates up for election this next month who have been supportive of chiropractic in it’s election section.  Sadly, neither candidate for President fits that description.  They have not been opposed, but they also have not been supportive, and neither camp will respond to my questions on the topic.

The Department of Defense Answered Me

After months of waiting and re submitting I finally received an answer from the Department of Defense today. Here’s the story of how it happened, paper trail included. I found the DoD contact site and it is basically a database of previously answered questions (a knowledge base). So I looked through the KB and did not find any reference to my question, so the last option they give you is to ask a question. I did. here it is:

Question Reference #080225-000014

Category Level 1: Department of Defense Category Level 2: Military Healthcare/TRICARE

Date Created: 02/25/2008 02:47 PM The DoD has authorization and has been requested by congress to create a career path for chiropractors in the military. There is a new House Concurrent Resolution 294 renewing this request. What is the reason behind not commissioning chiropractors yet, and is there a plan to do so in the near future?

I think my first mistake was claiming that a career path has been requested. That’s not entirely true. Commissioning chiropractors was mentioned in previous legislation, but the desire to get soldiers the care was the priority. It is also my desire to get soldiers the chiropractic care that they need, and I would be fine if the DoD had actually followed through with their plan to do just that, but the problem is that they haven’t. It also seems simpler to commission chiropractors and send them where ever needed than to try to get civilian DCs to go to a war zone. Anyway, the replies came quickly and repeatedly:

Auto-Response – 02/26/2008 03:26 PM

Auto-Response – 03/24/2008 02:36 AM

Auto-Response – 03/26/2008 07:35 PM

These auto responses were merely KB articles that had nothing to do with my query, but were merely FAQs. I was sent these replies and my question was given a status of Solved. I then updated the query as follows:

03/26/2008 07:35 PM Why was this question marked resolved. I looked through each of these auto-response articles, and none of them had anything to do with commissioning chiropractors in the military. I repeat the question, What is the reason behind not commissioning chiropractors yet, and is there a plan?

This update was followed by:

Auto-Response – 03/27/2008 03:11 PM

Auto-Response – 04/04/2008 05:22 PM

To which I responded:

04/04/2008 05:22 PM The auto response is always the same, and does not relate to my question. Please respond.

I got back:

Auto-Response – 04/07/2008 10:09 AM

Auto-Response – 04/07/2008 10:32 AM

You may have guessed I was getting sick of this and resolved to just keep checking the status and not do anything unless they tried to mark it resolved again. My patience paid off. Today, I was rewarded with this (emphasis added):

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Defense…

…We are the Office of Public Communication, a part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs…

…Response (jclark) – 05/06/2008 02:30 PM

Dear Chris Duncan:

Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to contact the Department of Defense.

We apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail. We appreciate your e-mail and thank you for your interest.

We’ve tried to find a definitive answer to this query but the unofficial word is there are no plans to make a career field for chiropractors because the services are able to supply the service through civilian practitioners. The understanding is that Congress only required the service, not to put chiropractors in uniform.

The Office of Public Communication

USARCENT image

OK! So the official, unofficial answer is basically, we’re not gonna do it. My knee jerk reaction was to yell at someone, “If the Services are supplying chiropractic then why are soldiers still coming to me paying out of pocket to see a chiropractor and telling me they can’t utilize the TRICARE benefit?” The answer is that only around 40 of the over 200 military treatment facilities provide “the service.” You know that service that was guaranteed to them years ago. The nearest site for the soldiers returning to my area to be treated is in Colorado, and I’m in Utah.

That was my knee jerk reaction. After having thought about it for a little while I decided just to take action instead of being angry. It’s OK that I’m passionate about providing for the troops, but being angry doesn’t help anyone. So, here’s what I did. I gave a copy of the email to www.commissionchiropractors.com and now I’m blogging about it. Hopefully I will get others to read this blog and do something about it. Try visiting that site, look at some of the information, and help out if you can.

I’m an Army brat that would love to serve my country in my current profession, but I’m not allowed to serve those who I think need it the most. Please help out.

Hawaii the Navy and Me

Exactly 4 weeks ago I applied for a civilian position with the US Navy. I figured that this would be one step closer, and put me in a better position to talk to people about commissioning Chiropractors in the Militarychiropractors. So far, no news. The application says that they will let me know one way or another, but 4 weeks, wow. I guess that’s good news. They would have sent me a letter already if I wasn’t even in the running, right? So, to keep up my optimism I thought I’d let everyone else know how great it is to not know if I’ll be heading to Hawaii soon.

Even if I don’t get the position with the Navy I plan to keep up with the goal to get chiropractors commissioned. I have sent letters/email to every candidate for president asking their position on the topic, and why they haven’t signed up to cosponsor the current resolutions. The current senate resolution is in the Armed Services Committee which both Hillary Clinton and John McCain sit on. I would hope that they would respond regarding a resolution that is before them at this time.

The house bill is faring a little better. The committee there has co-sponsors of the bill in the committee. A congressman from my state sits on that committee, but will not respond to me because I am not in his district. My call to everyone else out there if you have a Senator or Rep. who represents you please contact them, find out their position on this topic and urge them to co-sponsor the resolutions (HCR 294 & SCR 75). Then, report back to me so I can post their responses.

To find who your representatives are visit www.commissionchiropractors.com. The get involved section there will link you to find your reps. There is all sorts of other good information there also.

Commission Chiropractors in the US Military

Many of our brave soldiers serving overseas have been promised chiropractic care in their health care benefits, but are not able to access them because there are no chiropractors commissioned in the military to be stationed overseas with them.

Soldier

The history of chiropractic support of our military personnel is long. In 1944 the first bill to commission chiropractors was introduced in the United States Congress. In 1985 the DoD was directed to determine cost effectiveness of chiropractic. The first President Bush authorized the DoD to commission chiropractors in 1992. The Chiropractic Health Care Demonstration Program (CHCDP) that ended in September 1999 showed overwhelmingly that chiropractic would be beneficial to our troops and to the military. It was replaced by the Chiropractic Care Program in 2001, which was to extend chiropractic care to all active duty military personnel by 2003. In 2004 the Secretary of Defense was required to speed up the implementation of this program so that all service men and women would be able to access chiropractic care by October of 2005. Currently in 2008 according to Tricare’s website, barely a fifth, 49 of 232, Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) offer chiropractic services. This information is from www.commisionchiropractors.com. Please visit there for additional information.

Recently in both the US House and Senate concurrent resolutions were introduced calling for the immediate commissioning of chiropractors into the US Armed Forces.

These are great steps but unfortunately these resolutions do not have the force of law. The Department of Defense still has to choose to act on this. They have had 16 years to act. Contact your Senator or Representative to let them know of your support for this action.