Members of the House Armed Services Committee have approved the inclusion of a strong, pro-chiropractic directive in their official committee report accompanying the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.The committee language asserts that services provided by doctors of chiropractic for our nation's men and women in uniform is of "high quality" and has become a "key" benefit within the military health care system. Read relevant pages from the committee report here.
According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC), the language is significant for several reasons:
"What we have here – and this is very important – is an official statement from one of the House's oversight committees with authority over the Pentagon that directly links the services of DCs to the treatment of conditions experienced as a result of combat operations. This is a huge validation that chiropractic services are of significant, direct value to a combat fighting force," said ACA President Keith Overland, DC.
Equally significant, the thrust of the language is aimed at ensuring that DCs within the military achieve "pay equality" and appropriate "job classifications" that are on par with other health care providers with similar training, education and scopes of practice. Regarding that language, Dr. Overland noted:
"Our advocacy efforts have not only been aimed at getting DCs into federal health care programs such as the DoD's, and expanding their presence there, but they also have been aimed at ensuring that DCs are provided with appropriate status, authority, salaries and other benefits equal to those enjoyed by comparable-level providers. This is a major step forward in this advocacy process. It demonstrates that Congress is not just interested in simple DC inclusion, but inclusion in the right way, which fully recognizes the status, training and professional capabilities of a DC. Part of the ACA's mission is to level the playing field down to every last detail."
Inclusion of the language follows a bi-partisan letter sent last year to the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, signed by 15 members of the House Armed Services Committee, requesting the Department of Defense take action to correct the wage rate disparity experienced by doctors of chiropractic within the DoD. Full congressional action on the Defense Authorization bill that includes the House committee language has not yet taken place, but enactment is expected later this year, according to ACA officials, and will be a positive indicator that Congress continues to support a robust chiropractic program within the DoD.
"The Association of Chiropractic Colleges is gratified that the extensive education and training that doctors of chiropractic receive has been recognized and that appropriate compensation is vital," said ACC President Dr. Richard Brassard.
Dr. Overland added, "I want to thank House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, Ranking Member Adam Smith, and especially Congressmen Mike Rogers of Alabama and Dave Loebsack of Iowa for moving this issue forward."
For further information on chiropractic inclusion in the military or to learn more about ACA's ongoing legislative efforts, go to ACA's advocacy Web page at www.acatoday.org.
Source: American Chiropractic Association