Texas: Chiropractic board pulls proposed rule to create specialties in nutrition, neurology
From an article in Statesman.com August 19th, 2012
The Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners has said it will re-examine proposals to allow chiropractors to call themselves specialists in nutrition and neurology after hearing complaints from dietitians and physicians.
At a meeting in Austin on Thursday, the board heard from registered dietitians urging it to withdraw a proposal to create a specialty in chiropractic nutrition. The board also received letters from the Texas Medical Association and physicians strongly objecting to a chiropractic neurology specialty.
The board did not meet beforehand with the affected groups, as it is required to do, representatives of those groups said. Further, they have complained that the specialist training would be too little or vague and would confuse and potentially endanger the public.
Because Texas does not regulate nutritionists “anyone can call themselves a nutritionist,” said Jessica Coffee, a registered dietitian in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and public policy coordinator for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “For most Texans, the term ‘specialist’ connotes an even higher level of training.”
The medical association’s president, Michael Speer, said in a letter that the state’s largest physicians’ group “is very concerned that not only will patients be deceived and misled, but many could also suffer injury and harm, for example by delayed diagnosis” of a serious condition, such as a brain tumor or stroke. He added that neurology was “beyond the scope of chiropractic.”
The medical association has been embroiled in litigation with the chiropractic board for several years over treatments physicians contend are in their purview to perform, not chiropractors’.
Chiropractors are mainly involved in treating conditions of the spine as well as muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints, associated tissues and nerves that move the body and maintain its form. Definitions vary, however.
Earlier this year, acupuncturists lambasted the chiropractic board for seeking to create a specialty in acupuncture. The board withdrew the proposal.
Chiropractors at Thursday’s meeting said they are highly educated and resent being portrayed as potential dangers to the public.
“There seems to be a theme that any time the board tries to recognize any achievement, the quality of those people (chiropractors) is questioned,” said Thomas Hollingsworth, a Corpus Christi chiropractor.
But Hollingsworth and other chiropractors said they favored withdrawing the proposed rule so the board could improve its procedures.
Board members indicated that they would seek more input. They agreed to let stand specialty designations in orthopedics and radiology, which were created three years ago and have not caused problems, they said.
The earliest the issue is likely to return to the board is Dec. 4, the date of the next meeting, said Yvette Yarbrough, the board’s executive director.
Ongoing issues in Texas and a call to arms by James Edwards, DC appear in the article, “What Happens in Texas Won’t Stay in Texas” . Dr Edwards serves on the board of directors of the National Chiropractic Legal Action Fund and is a member of the ACA Legislative Commission. He lives in Austin, Texas.