The bitter legal battle between the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (TBCE) and the Texas Medical Association (TMA) has been ongoing since 2006. Although there are many caveats to the lawsuit, the most perplexing component is the Texas Medical Association’s challenge of a chiropractor’s right to diagnose.
In October 2016, the attorneys in the TMA vs. TBCE case received a letter that the judge intended to strike Chiropractic Board Rule 78.13. Board Rule 78.13(d) which states, in part, that a chiropractor may render “analysis, diagnosis, or other opinions regarding findings of examinations and evaluations.” The TMA argues that the Chiropractic Act (Chp. 201 of the Tex. Occ. Code) defines the practice of chiropractic as a means to “analyze, examine and evaluate,” but that the Act does not specifically state “diagnose.” The TMA challenges that the use of diagnosis in the Board Rules exceeds the scope of practice. This issue was initially litigated by the TMA in a prior lawsuit in which the Third Court of Appeals ruled against the TMA. The TMA reasserted the diagnosis argument in this current lawsuit. As such, the Board has argued, that the claim should be barred because it was fully adjudicated in another lawsuit.
What happens in Texas, could impact the entire profession and has chiropractors across the country on edge. Without the ability to diagnose, chiropractors would be dependent on referrals from medical doctors which could potentially limit a patient’s access to chiropractic care. As the courts continue to consider the TMA’s claim that “diagnosis” is outside the scope of chiropractic, the Texas Chiropractic Association (TCA) is hoping to resolve the problem through legislative change. The TCA is taking advantage of the 85th Texas Legislative Session and looking for consideration of the Sunset Committee’s recommendations to “open the Chiropractic Act.”
Anthony Robbins has been quoted as saying, “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” There has never been a better time for the entire profession to come together and take action to protect the founding principles of chiropractic. The outcome in Texas will impact the profession for good or bad. To support the TCA’s Chiropractic Development Initiative (CDI), visit chirotexas.org/CDI.
Kristi Hudson is the Director of Special Projects and Administrator of the ChiroHealthUSA Foxworth Family Scholarship. Since 2010, she has worked with state associations, COCSA, F4CP, and the CCGPP to provide educational awareness on changes within the profession. As of February 2016, ChiroHealthUSA has donated over $1,000,000 to support the chiropractic profession. To apply for the scholarship, go to chusascholar.com.