TCA Files Petition for Review with Supreme Court of Texas Regarding Nerve Issue
Written by Editor   
Friday, March 01, 2019 11:00 AM

The Texas Chiropractic Association (TCA) has joined the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (TBCE) and a filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court of Texas. Both TCA and TBCE are seeking to overturn a decision by the Third Court of Appeals in TBCE & TCA v. TMA, which threatens the future of chiropractic in Texas. Read TCA's petition for review and TBCE's petition for review.

Both the District Court in Travis County and the Third Court of Appeals in Austin previously ruled in favor of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), which successfully challenged rules adopted by TBCE regarding the lawful scope of practice for Texas chiropractors. TCA has been involved in what many have called the “VONT lawsuit.”

In its petition, TCA asked the Supreme Court to examine four issues:

  1. Is TBCE’s definition of the “subluxation complex”, which it defines as a “neuromusculoskeletal condition,” valid?
  2. Is TBCE’s definition of “musculoskeletal system,” which includes “associated tissues and nerves,” valid?
  3. Does TMA, an association of physicians, have standing to challenge a rule adopted by a chiropractic board for the regulation of chiropractors?
  4. Is the rule authorizing trained chiropractors to perform Vestibular-Ocular-Nystagmus Testing (VONT) valid?

In its argument, TCA believes the Third Court of Appeals erred by striking down TBCE’s definition of the subluxation complex without analyzing the term’s meaning, radically redefining the field of chiropractic. TCA believes that, without a doubt, nerves are an essential part of the subluxation complex and that TBCE’s rules do not authorize chiropractors to practice medical neurology. Secondly, TCA feels the Court was incorrect in striking down TBCE’s functional definition of “musculoskeletal system,” which acknowledges the functional relationship among muscles, bones, tissues and nerves.

“If this decision isn’t reversed, it could negatively impact the identity and future of chiropractic in Texas,” said TCA President Devin Pettiet, DC, a chiropractor from Tomball, Texas. “Chiropractors have always focused on the interaction between joints and nerves. In the Texas Chiropractic Act, the Texas Legislature chose statutory language that gives nerves a limited but essential role in the scope of chiropractic and this is reflected in TBCE’s rules. The Third Court of Appeals’ decision overturns more than a century of practice and could radically change chiropractic. TCA hopes the Supreme Court of Texas will order a full briefing, grant this petition, and reverse the previous judgment in favor of TBCE and TCA.”