A Vehicle for Greater Access to Chiropractic
Written by Michael Megehee, DC   
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:00 AM

You've already heard that the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) represents a great opportunity to help the effort to increase safety on our national highways.  You may also be aware that adding commercial driver medical exams, school bus physicals, and DOT drug and alcohol testing to your practice can be a significant source of revenue. And because that revenue comes from another source of potential chiropractic patients, the benefits are even greater. 

As great as that is – and it really is that great – I'm hoping that even more DCs will become certified in the NRCME once they've heard what it has done for them and for the chiropractic profession lately.

It's essential to point out that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not favor any specific profession. But in all cases in which you are included in a federal program, there are added benefits that can come with being part of the "in crowd." Chiropractors are included in the registry because of change in 1992 that allowed doctors of chiropractic, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to participate as DOT medical examiners.

From the very beginning in 2005, chiropractors were invited to participate on the FMCSA teams that helped establish the registry.  Recognized immediately was how the ability and recognition to perform a physical exam could have significant effects on the acceptance of and inaccurate perceptions about the chiropractic profession.

Because many drivers have medical conditions that are treated by the medical profession, communication between the medical examiner and the driver's treating physician is sometimes needed. This communication is a two-edged sword: It makes our medical counterparts more familiar with us, and it make us more familiar with them. The great majority of these communications result in a cooperative and more understanding relationship.

There is great hope that this requirement to work together will narrow the gaps between health care professionals. While MDs, DOs, ANPs, and PAs have a long history of working together, and are familiar with the training and skills of other medical professions, when it comes to knowledge about chiropractic training and skills the typical provider is woefully uninformed. With DCs serving as certified medical examiners there is no doubt that a different side of chiropractic training and skills will be in view. This can only be a good thing for chiropractic.

There are other ways that the NRCME has affected chiropractic. Over the past eight years, numerous states have either tried to eliminate DCs from performing school bus driver physicals exam, or have had regulations that excluded chiropractic participation in this or other types of physical exams. Georgia, California, Texas, Nevada and Kentucky are a few of the states where DCs can now perform school bus driver and/or other types of driver exams.

In addition, because of our inclusion to perform commercial driver physicals, it's more difficult to find reasons why DCs can't or shouldn't be able to perform other types of physical exams, including school sport physicals. Chiropractic inclusion in federal programs makes a convincing presentation for legislatures that can't be argued, the only option for retort being baseless and void of data.

We need DCs to step forward now. Do it for yourself. Do it for your driver patients. Do it for safer highways. Do it to be part of a federal program. Do it for your profession.

Source:  http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms//dc/article.php?id=56934