GOOD NEWS: Unity Only Steps Away for Chiropractic in New York!


The New York State Chiropractic Association Proposal for Unity

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The NYSCA and Council are approaching the final phases of the unity process. There are 3 main issues that need to be resolved in order to advance unity to completion. They are as follows:
  1. The composition of the transitional board for the new organization
  2. The ability to affiliate with other organizations either inter-professional or intra-professional
  3. The immediate consideration for expansion of the scope of practice
We understand that field members want unity. We do too. We also understand that field members feel that unity will help a divided profession heal and is a necessary first stop to secure a brighter future for us all. We agree. As a member driven organization we will continue to need input and direction from our members to address some of these overhanging issues.

The Unity Process

The NYSCA wants to go on record that we are unequivocally committed to the unity process. Unfortunately during the last several months scheduling conflicts made it difficult to have consistent unity committee meetings. We were able to have a meeting with the Council in early January.
Over the last 6 months both organizations have had joint meetings working on the by-laws. The process that the NYSCA and the Council will use to distribute the proposed by laws document to their respective memberships differs. The NYSCA prefers to have the members review the draft proposal to date before the next NYSCA meeting in March. We understand that the proposed Bylaws are a work-in-progress. We are attempting to move the process forward by giving members an opportunity to review the by-laws at this time since it is such a lengthy document. This is a vital step so that members can review its contents in order to make an informed voting decision.

On the other hand, the Council has indicated that they will wait to distribute the document to its members. Our understanding is that they have decided to have the joint by-laws committee sign off on the complete new Bylaws first before they present them to their members for a vote. Unlike the Council, the NYSCA House of Delegates is the policy-making body of the Association and only the House of Delegates can pass on the Joint Unification Committee’s work. If the NYSCA House disagrees with some proposal or change, it is best to address that sooner than later. In our eyes, a vote on the tentative CSSNY Bylaws is very necessary and not just a “delay” tactic. As representatives of the individual districts and district members, the House has the final say.

The NYSCA Proposal

1. CSSNY Governance: A Question of Membership Representation

This is a point where both parties do not fully agree. While a variety of different formulas of joint CSSNY governance were discussed, none were finalized. The elected officers of the NYSYCA have an obligation and responsibility to the membership we serve and the voice of our members should be representative in the new organization and the same holds true for the Council.

One proposal is for a two-year transitional governance period where the two organizations jointly manage the affairs of the CSSNY before the Board of the new organization is elected and takes office. The Council wants to have equal representation (50/50) from both organizations in every district during this two-year burn-in period. The NYSCA believes that if there has to be a joint, transitional governance period it should be in proportion to the current size of the respective organizations, which is more representative of one man one vote. However, we are not convinced that transitional governance is necessary.

It is our understanding that according to NYS regulations, a new Board of CSSNY Directors can be voted into office before the CSSNY is officially approved by the state, which would take office thirty (30 days) after the state approves the consolidation; or District elections could be held in the thirty (30) day window following approval within which the CSSNY must spring to life and the NYSCA and the Council Dissolve. This scenario would immediately be representative of the will of the entire new organization’s members.

At the last meeting of the Joint Unity Committee, the NYSCA representatives agreed in principle that if joint representation was a necessary artifact of consolidation, the NYSCA was willing to agree to joint representation but only by the Officers of the two existing organizations (president, vice president, treasurer, secretaries and past president)– Council and NYSCA. NYSCA has proposed that a new CSSNY Board of Directors (Delegates) should be elected and take office as soon as reasonably possible – prior too or coincident with the state approval of the CSSNY Bylaws. There is no need for the new organization to wait two years, a year, or even six months to start governing.
Finally, district members need to be aware that, as noted elsewhere, under the proposed CSSNY Bylaws, the NYSCA House of Delegates disappears. The CSSNY Board of Directors supplants the NYSCA House of Delegates. This follows, more or less, a Council governance formula. Under the proposed CSSNY Bylaws the Districts that have been proposed are similar to existing NYSCA Districts, with some changes (see proposed by-laws). District presidents will be the representatives on the CSSNY Board of directors. Larger districts (over 50 members) will have an additional representative.

2. Affiliation with Other Organizations

Both organizations believe that affiliation is an important part in an organization’s information process. It is also much more than an exchange of information; it is about strategic planning, collaboration, tasking at the state and federal levels, conservation of precious resources and coordination for maximum effort and effect.

Currently, according to the NYSCA bylaws, affiliation is open to any organization that seeks to affiliate with the NYSCA. The terms of affiliation have to be mutually agreeable and approved by the NYSCA House of Delegates. NYSCA proposes that with CSSNY the terms may differ with each organization, to be determined by the new Board of the CSSNY. Having this provision in the by-laws does not mandate affiliation with any group or association, nor does the group affiliating necessarily have voting rights, but it will be an option for the new organization. It merely allows the new organization (CSSNY) the ways and means to consider affiliation with another group.

For example, thus far, only the ACA has affiliated with NYSCA, while the ACA also has affiliation agreements with other states (like Connecticut). This has given the ACA one vote out of approximately 40 votes in the NYSCA House of Delegates. The ACA representative also has to be an active member of the NYSCA, and the NYSCA representative to the ACA has to be a member of the ACA. These are not outsiders; they are members. Each gives a unique perspective to the other, and, for the reasons set out above and elsewhere below, affiliation has been mutually beneficial to both and the privilege of voting in the respective organizations cements a bond between the two groups that had been absent otherwise. To date it has been a very valuable asset for both organizations.

3. Scope of Practice Expansion: Now is the Time

It has been fifty (50) years since the chiropractic scope of practice law – the chiropractic enabling law was originally enacting in New York in 1963. In the meantime, much has changed in chiropractic education and practice as well as in health care and insurance coverage with reimbursement. Incremental changes have taken place over the years at the NYSCA’s prompting. The last of these changes, however, took place in the early 1980s. One lifted the prohibition that prevented chiropractors from taking X-rays of the lower lumbar spine and pelvis of persons younger than eighteen (18) years of age. Another allowed chiropractors to order certain clinical laboratory tests for diagnostic purposes. Still, in spite of accreditation and expanded education and training requirements, to this day chiropractors cannot perform a simple dipstick urinalysis in their office(s) for a US Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration Driver Medical Examination; chiropractors generally cannot perform physicals for school aged children in New York or New York City; chiropractors are not among those professionals exempt from the requirements imposed on applicable to all clinical laboratories and blood banks operating within New York. There still remains a question as to whether chiropractors can perform extra-spinal manipulation without relating it to the spine.

In 1994-95 the NYSCA conducted a statewide survey and referendum concerning an update in the chiropractic scope of practice in New York. More than 52% of the profession responded. According the 1995 NYSCA report of the referendum, an overwhelming majority of responders agreed with the various changes the NYSCA proposed to the state chiropractic scope of practice / enabling law.

In the approximately 18 years since the completion of the 1995 referendum, nothing has changed. In the meantime, NYSCA members are chomping at the bit to update New York’s 50-year old and outdated enabling law. We don’t see the point of waiting another two years to set in motion a plan to update the chiropractic scope of practice in New York. As it is, any change in scope is likely to be opposed by a variety of groups and organizations and could very well take a long time and abundant resources to get passed in the state legislature. Do we want to delay this another two years? We are not looking to change the scope of practice for subluxation-based chiropractors. We would like to enhance and add to the current NYS scope of practice to mirror more closely how chiropractors are educated and trained, as well as how many of us would like to practice.

We need your input on these matters. Please let us know what you think and thank you for your cooperation in the unity process. These important issues will greatly affect the future of the chiropractic profession in New York State.


Bruce Silber, DC, NYSCA President
Louis Lupinacci, DC, NYSCA Vice President
James Hildebrand, DC, NYSCA Secretary
Lloyd Kupferman, DC, NYSCA Treasurer
Mariangela Penna, DC, NYSCA Past President


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