Allowing chiropractors in New Mexico to prescribe will be nothing more than using chiropractic as cheap labour in a state short of Medical Doctors

March 17, 2011


Good discussion going on Brett Kinsler DCs blog about prescribing. Can someone please give me some figures that would suggest a majority of chiropractors or patients want prescribing to be included as part chiropractic care?

Drug DealersPlan lets chiropractors prescribe drugs. Controversial bill advances in Legislature

Published : Monday, 07 Mar 2011, 11:05 PM MST

  • Reporter: Tim Maestas

SANTA FE (KRQE) – A controversial bill to allow certain chiropractors to prescribe drugs in New Mexico is making its way through the state Legislature.

House Bill 127 would make some visits to the chiropractor seem more like a visit to a medical doctor.

“I think we’re the first state that will be doing this,” said House Speaker Ben Luján, D-Santa Fe, who is sponsoring the bill.

According to Luján, the purpose behind the bill is to address a shortage of primary-care physicians in New Mexico, which will only get worse as federal health care reforms take effect.

“There’s potentially approximately 450,000 more people that could need service,” Luján said.

The bill calls for chiropractors with advanced training to start writing prescriptions for drugs under an approved list that has yet to be developed.

Chiropractors would not be able to prescribe narcotics or perform surgery.

“We’re trying to do this within our own profession and expand our profession,” said Santa Fe chiropractor Stephen Perlstein, one of the bill’s supporters.

Perlstein and the New Mexico Chiropractic Association insist the bill is good for New Mexico by creating a way to establish a “one-stop shop” for patients who seek the treatment of a chiropractor but also require certain medications.

“We feel that we as chiropractors are uniquely qualified, with additional education, to take up that position,” Perlstein said.

But the proposal has some powerful foes.

“There is some concern about the safety of the public,” said Dee Dennis, superintendent of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, which oversees the state Board of Pharmacy and the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

“I would say this is dangerous for the citizens of New Mexico,” Dennis told News 13.

He’s not alone.

In fact, the National Chiropractic Association issued a statement earlier this year saying it is committed to chiropractic care as a “drug-free, non-surgical science.”

In a separate statement, the International Chiropractic Association also voiced opposition because of “the inherent threat to public well-being.”

Luján said the bill has changed a lot from its original version, largely because of the criticism.

“As we’ve gone along we’ve made some amendments to the bill,” Luján said.

At first, the bill left the state’s pharmacy and medical boards out of the loop. But the version that passed the House last week on a two-thirds majority vote, now calls on those boards to help establish a list of approved medications.

The latest version also increased the amount of required classroom hours from 200 to 450 in a two-year master’s degree program to qualify chiropractors to write prescriptions.

A change in state law two years ago allowed chiropractors with 90 hours of additional training to prescribe homeopathic substances.

Perlstein is already certified for that. Now he’s hoping to expand his services.

“The basic chiropractic degree is extremely similar to the basic medical degree,” Perlstein said. “When you compare the hours and the subjects taught, they’re almost identical.”

Whether the bill survives the remainder of the legislative session is still unknown.

Gov. Susana Martinez has serious doubts.

In a statement to News 13, the governor’s office said, “She has great concerns about allowing chiropractors to prescribe medication without undergoing the same rigorous training and certification as licensed physicians

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18 Responses to Allowing chiropractors in New Mexico to prescribe will be nothing more than using chiropractic as cheap labour in a state short of Medical Doctors

  1. Garland on April 18, 2011 at 20:19

    The New Mexico Senate has voted this bill down and due to the margin of against vs. in favor, the bill is considered dead.

  2. Fedup on March 29, 2011 at 15:01

    I’m sure I have read in the past blue wode tell readers to see their GP and not go to a chiropractor, as it may be dangerous and chiros use bait and switch techs to get you tied into spending money. Also I’m sure skeptics have said chiros are driven by financial gain. This then is quite revealing in Pulse.

    “Our investigation shows two-thirds of PCTs are set to bin their prescribing incentive schemes and the financial incentives offered, resulting in a massive loss of income for GP practices.

    It comes after GPC negotiators and the Department of Health agreed to include quality and productivity indicators in the QOF for the first time, in a bid to meet the Government’s primary care efficiency drive.

    The new indicators were included as part of a contract deal that saw practices offered no new money for 2011/12 and only a 0.5% increase to cover rising practice expenses.

    The loss of prescribing incentive money is likely to result in more cash being taken away from patient care, say GP leaders who urged PCTs to retain their existing schemes”

  3. Richard Lanigan on March 20, 2011 at 21:36

    This is not only a problem in New Mexico is a problem with the health care system in the US.

    I met with American students when I was last in Havana, who had scholarships to study medicine in Cuba. Otherwise they would not have been able to study medicine and provide health care in their communities.

    I have started the Henry Reeve blog to create awareness of the work the Cubans are doing to provide health care in poor communities all over the world. Chiropractors are not the answer

  4. Garland on March 19, 2011 at 15:16

    Coats and Dixon are far more dangerous to the future of the profession than perscribing rights in New Mexico.

  5. Garland on March 19, 2011 at 14:20

    Richard you know that I repect you and your opinion but in this case the point is being missed. There are places in New Mexico where the nearest medical facility and or medical doctor could be over 100 miles away. A situation that does not exsist in Britan. In these situations I have no problem with a Chiro being trained to give anitbiotics or similar life saving medications. This isolated situation is NOT about chiropractors being given license to ADD drugs to chioropractic care. It’s about chiros being able to perform some of the basic duties of a GP. It’s also not about being on the cheap. I guaratee you very few chiros we know would even live in these remote areas. I certainlly wouldn’t.

  6. Andrew_gilbey on March 19, 2011 at 13:11

    For heaven’s sake, man – you’re far too easy going!

  7. Richard Lanigan on March 19, 2011 at 13:08

    It make a change to hear you talk so much sense Andrew, although I though you overworked the poor metaphor.

  8. Andrew_gilbey on March 19, 2011 at 12:28

    Allowing chiropractors to prescribe drugs would be like letting a furniture removal man restore an expensive Georgian table. Or a tyre fitter do a respray on a vintage car. Thank goodness the vote was 5-2, although why it wasn’t 7 – 0 is beyond me! Crikey – it’s like a pizza delivery man cooking a meal for 100 guests in a top restaurant! Get anti-biotics from a chiropractor? Heck, I’d rather have the RAM in my iMAc upgraded by the Megadeth tee-shirt wearing spotty teenage lad who works in the gaming section of Dixons.

  9. Richard Lanigan on March 18, 2011 at 19:31

    New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee Votes Down Chiropractic Drug Bill
    March 17, 2011 — In a morning session today at the State Capitol in Santa Fe, the New Mexico State Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 against passing the controversial HB 127 on to the Senate floor. The 11-member Judiciary Committee heard testimony from a variety of witnesses on HB 127 including Dr. Gerard W. Clum, immediate past President of Life Chiropractic College West appearing on behalf of the ICA and Dr. Guy Riekeman, President of Life University in Marietta, Georgia. Dr. Clum and Dr. Riekeman presented a compelling case in opposition to this legislation. Speaking on behalf of the bill were Dr. James Winterstein, President of National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Illinois and Dr. Joseph E. Brimhall, President of the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon.
    Today’s vote was preceded by an aggressive lobbying campaign in which thousands of concerned doctors of chiropractic, patients, students and lay people made their voices heard in opposition to this controversial measure.
    ICA coordinated a broad-based coalition of other chiropractic organizations, individual DCs and patients, proactively spoke out on behalf of its membership in New Mexico and the tens of thousands of patients of all ages they serve in opposition to HB 127. This legislation would make unacceptable and inappropriate changes to the way the chiropractic profession is defined and regulated in the state. This legislation sought to re-define the chiropractic profession as a “medical” practice. ICA believes that this language change is inherently confusing to the public, improperly portrays chiropractic training and practice parameters and is subject to inappropriate exploitation at the hands of a fringe minority within the chiropractic profession and should not be incorporated into the New Mexico statute governing the chiropractic profession.
    HB 127 also sought to significantly expand the scope of chiropractic practice into the realm of medical practice by including the prescription and administration of pharmaceuticals, changes strongly opposed by a vast majority of the chiropractic profession.
    The defeat before the Senate Judiciary Committee would normally be the end of this legislation but the ICA remains concerned that some parliamentary steps might be employed to revive the status of HB 127 before the end of the current legislative session. Concerned doctors of chiropractic in New Mexico, ICA’s Legislative Committee, allied institutions and organizations, volunteers and professional staff will maintain a vigilant watch to identify and immediately respond to any such moves.
    The current legislative session is scheduled to end at Noon on Saturday, March 19th.
    ICA will keep the chiropractic profession fully informed on developments on this critical legislative front.

  10. CDC on March 18, 2011 at 14:02

    Well said, Richard!

  11. Richard Lanigan on March 18, 2011 at 13:28

    thats the argument Eugene makes.

    What it boils down to is providing medical care on the cheap, when it could be a missed opportunity to champion the provision of chiropractic care to communities. Chiropractic care should not be a cheap “alternative” to medical care.

  12. Garland on March 18, 2011 at 12:24

    I’ve mentioned this before here on Richard’s site. This is a very unique situation and should NOT be seen as opening a door that will spread across the US at least. While in no way saying that I agree with what’s being proposed, New Mexico is largely made up of Indian Reservations and has a severe lack of primary care. Largely because it is a poor state and reimbursement is very low there, not many doctors of any kind want to practice there. It is also my understanding that we’re not talking about the type of prescriptions that would go along with the problems chiropractors treat ie pain meds but more in the line of things that GP would give. These chiropractors would be more like rural and isolated GPs. Of course once you open the door…it’s open. I would seriously doubt you will see this spreading to other more populated states.

  13. Richard Lanigan on March 18, 2011 at 10:26

    I want to say this, I have a lot of respect for Eugene for coming out and saying what he thinks. He has been arguing his case for many years now, while chiropractic representatives hide in the shadows hoping to sneak prescribing in the back door, while Eugene takes all the heat for their subterfuge. These are the people who are a blight on the profession not Eugene. Eugene makes us all think and evaluate what we do and why we do it as does Brett Kinsler and I applaud them for articulating their case for prescribing rights.

    What the chiropractic profession has become is not sustainable, that is clear. To remain as one profession the choices are: to medicalise as one homogeneous group regulated by people trained in biomedical reductionist methods like Osteopaths in the US. Alternatively we maintain the diversity around a consensus of what chiropractic is and what chiropractors do. That profession is probably more suited to being regulated by the HPC in the UK.

    Hasta Victoria Siempre

  14. Stefaan A.L.P. Vossen on March 18, 2011 at 08:17

    Hi Paul,
    I think that is a tad disingenuous or you didn’t read Eugene’s reasoning for prescription rights, either way I think you’re falling in the trap of assuming certain motives and projecting fears.
    Ultimately the problem is far bigger than that as strictly speaking Eugene has more evidence behind him for making his position certifiable than you and I. Unless we seek to examine the issue more rigourously and open up our practices to scrutiny and evaluate our results objectively (even if objectively subjective) Eugene stands more of a chance to have scientific research backing his reasoning. Whether he should still be able to cal himself a chiropractor whilst prescribing is a different issue yet again.
    I don’t mean to come across all sanctimonious but we can’t have it both ways: not seek to validate but still be allowed to make claims… it would be a bad world in which that were possible.

  15. Richard Lanigan on March 18, 2011 at 01:06

    Great news, this is just a victory in the first battle please dont become complacent. The powers that be will try again and again and slip it in through some regulatory body. Oh yea, have the BCA asked the GCC asked the medicines regulatory body to put on a course.

    I wonder if the ECU will respond in the same way as when Tedd Koren was teaching technique to non ECCE accredited chiropractors.

  16. Amit Patel on March 17, 2011 at 22:44

    Sad day for the chiropractic profession……. I hate medipractors…..

  17. Paulm123 on March 17, 2011 at 22:29

    thankfully this is the result – any comment Eugene?

  18. Paulm1234 on March 17, 2011 at 22:22

    Maybe Eugene would rather prescibe drugs for ear ache than adjust children ..


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