Sal Martingano, DC, FICPA
I remember listening to a chiropractic speaker many years ago, who described the future of chiropractic as being the newest discovery of the medical profession. His premise was that once we have watered down the principles that our profession was founded upon, by fighting over who is more correct in our profession, the medical profession will reconstruct the pieces, renaming its version to their liking. The question was, does it pay to argue over word meanings or past concepts? Does it really matter if we compromise our profession’s objectives somewhat, in order to be more “user-friendly” to the insurance industry, our medical friends or patients, all in the name of ‘progress’?
Time has proven that the medical profession may find chiropractic unique in many ways but it could care less about adopting the chiropractic principles as part of their own. The reason has nothing to do with better health or less expensive healthcare cost. In fact, just the opposite has more validity. I will be careful not to make general statements appear as fact but modern medicine depends on sickness and disease to survive. Our medical friends have become pawns to the pharmaceutical industry for their ability to write scripts. Here is a sobering fact to consider: Pediatricians earn income based on their “Quality Assessment Score”, calculated by how many children they fully vaccinate. Most pediatricians have about 1,000 children in their practice. If pediatricians fail to vaccinate 65% of children, they are punished by receiving no “stipend” from insurance companies. If compliant, pediatricians receive $400/child or $400,000 income/year, plus $16/dose from the pharmaceutical industry, equalling $418,000/yr just to implement the vaccine program. Do you think chiropractors would be rewarded in kind by enhancing the child’s immune response without drugs or vaccines?
Common sense would demand that our chiropractic schools, state and local organizations secure our niche in the healthcare market by capitalizing on our strengths and uniqueness from traditional medicine. Yet, just the opposite has occurred. Some of our chiropractic schools are teaching graduates to expand our scope of practice with injectables, non-legend drugs, physical therapy and pseudo-medical practices. Some state chiropractic organizations have gone totally amuck. The FCPA (Florida Chiropractic Physician Association), for example, openly states: “Welcome to your Future: The FCPA is fighting to integrate chiropractic physicians into the healthcare system as specialists and primary care providers with full prescriptive rights”.
Compromise is an established method for making progress; compromise can also be a default to a destructive agenda. Since the 1970’s The FSCO/IFCO has remained the only national chiropractic organization that has looked compromise in the eye to distinguish between progress and surrender. Why strive to duplicate healthcare practices performed by another established profession, when it is our uniqueness that a century of practice has perfected. Historically, the IFCO remains the anchor for our profession’s uniqueness.
Many may remember anguish when the FSCO removed the word “Straight” from its name, realizing it served no purpose but to continue fanning the flames of misplaced priorities. Becoming the IFCO was not a compromise, but a step in critical thinking. Here’s an interesting thought; after 33 years of practice, not a single patient has ever questioned my chiropractic beliefs. Well….there was one patient who read the name under my sign and asked if “Straight Chiropractic” meant that I was not gay! Ya see, labeling ourselves beyond that which is necessary, is counterproductive.
My favorite saying is that “Words Have Meaning”. I dare say that over the last decade or so, the IFCO has grown stronger by removing one of its political restraints. Chiropractic needs no modifiers, only the adherence to its founding principles. Those in our profession who wish to move chiropractic more to a medical model, then have at it. Stand up for your beliefs and become a medical doctor or start your own profession but do not attempt to distill our entire profession to a “therapy”.
Not to be trite but “if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing”. Critical mass recognition of any idea or profession requires just 13% of the population to “get it”. Amazon was nothing but an interesting name until people began to recognize its “value” as a way of bettering their lifestyle without “brick and mortar” shopping. Chiropractic hovers around that mark but can it overcome the pharmaceutical and media control over our healthcare thinking?
Listen up.. all you that read this. Our “value” is in our uniqueness in removing subluxations, not our perceived diversity. As a “seasoned” veteran in this profession, I will never “surrender” to misplaced rhetoric. The IFCO will NEVER compromise on principle.