Our July meeting at New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls was a “twopart” meeting. After Executive Session (in which no disciplinary cases were discussed), Drs. Nicci and Mestan offered a presentation about the efforts that the College has recently put forth to advance the profession. These efforts involve the opening of new community outreaches as well as efforts to improve clinical experiences as graduates move on to treat a more diverse population. Also, within this presentation was a description of the changing demographic of chiropractors themselves, showing dramatic increases in the number of women and minorities following the chiropractic path. New Board members, Dr. Mark Craft and Dr. Elaina Pirro-Lombardi were officially welcomed.
The meeting was then moved to the College’s Delevan Theater, and the Public Session was opened to members of the state associations as well as number of chiro students. Dr. Scott Kilmer, the Board Chair, introduced the various committee chairpersons, who each gave a brief explanation of what they do for the Board and the profession.
One of the topics discussed was the current availability of a Profession Ethics and Boundaries exam for practitioners found lacking and in need of corrective action. The purpose is not to be punitive, but is to provide remediation in this regard. While many other professions and business entities are severely deficient in this area of responsibility, our profession can be congratulated for being proactive on this topic.
Discussion as well as progress regarding entrance requirements for Chiropractic College has been ongoing for some time now, and it appears that the Board, as well as both schools in New York State support the proposed CCE recommendations.
One of the topics under recent discussion by the Board is in regard to whether chiropractors would/should be eligible to provide DOT examinations required by law. Dr. Cottrell-Carson, the Board’s Executive Secretary, who met with Office of Counsel regarding the DOT examinations, informed us that it has been determined that these exam are considered “stand alone” medical examinations, and are therefore outside of the scope of practice, even though it appears certain that chiropractors are eminently qualified by their education and training to perform these exams. This is yet another example of the importance of getting a change in the scope of practice. Change in/to our Scope of Practice has been an issue that has come up in almost every Board meeting. At the July public meeting, Dr. Louis Lupinacci, of NYSCA, indicated that NYSCA has been involved in discussion of scope change for about 5 years and is working to initiate a needed change in our scope. NYSCA has a committee which intends to present a bill to a joint task force with hopes of addressing a change to the scope of practice.
In November our meeting was held in New York City. One of the topics presented was a discussion of the changing demographic of chiropractors in our state. It is a number that has steadily been decreasing. Reasons were put forth, and perhaps the most alarming were suggestions that due to staggering student loan debt, and the limited scope of practice ion New York State, graduates are simply choosing to leave NYS for economic reasons.
Dr. Ellen Coyne presented the extremely good news that s chiropractor, Dr. Terrence Murphy, has been elected to the NYS Senate.
One of the issues that the Board continually puts a great deal of effort into is the evaluation of CEU courses. The number of proposed course offerings is overwhelming, and the members of the Continuing Education Committee are the hardest working members of the Board. As a Board, we have recently discussed the value of, and proposed implementation of, protocols offered by a company called PACE (Providers of Approved Continuing Education), who offer “pre-approved” CEU courses. On the surface this seems like a valuable time-saver for the Board, but, again, due to issues such as subject area and Scope of Practice, the preapprovals may or may not be valid from state to state. A rigorous discussion was held as to methods we might employ to expedite approval of CEU courses with an aim for taking some of the burden off the Board’s shoulders, since, the CE Committee, in essence, was doing a great deal of work for the CEU providers. A suggestion was made to put more of the burden on the providers themselves. Dr. Ventimiglia, from NYCC, suggested that we run with this idea, and allow the colleges to present courses which they will “guarantee” are in compliance with CEU guidelines, and that the various colleges and other presenters be subject to a regular “audit” of these course to see if in fact they are legitimate, with various, and serious penalties for any violations or infractions, such as 90 or 180 day suspension of privileges to present CEUs in NYS. The Board decided to look into this suggestion and voted not to employ PACE for pre-approval.
Dr. Coyne delivered a presentation about Small Nerve Fiber testing and a committee was formed to find out more about it in terms of efficacy, reliability, and, again, whether or not it can/should be considered within the scope of practice for chiropractors in New York State. Additionally, Dr. Coyne was unanimously appointed Vice Chair of the Board.
On a personal note, the Board recognized outgoing Board member Dr. Lee Masterson. This was Lee’s final meeting as a Board member. His dedicated efforts on behalf of the profession were tireless, exemplary, and inspired. We will miss him.