New York chiropractors stopped from doing commercial drivers’ physicals

I post this because there is some question as to whether this ruling will affect other states, including ours. Worth noting that it’s more about scope than ability. I agree with this ruling, by the way. A physical is a way of finding other conditions, such as high blood pressure, etc. Chiropractors are specialists. Physicals should be given by those trained to look for a much wider array of health problems.

Chiropractors in New York State are no longer authorized to determine whether commercial motor vehicle drivers meet the physical qualification standards of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Last June, the FMCSA notified chiropractors that the New York State Education Department had determined that Department of Transportation physicals are outside the scope of practice defined by state law. [Schremmer M. New York chiropractors no longer allowed to give DOT physicals. Landline Magazine, June 2, 2016] In a letter to some of the affected chiropractors, The New York State Board of Chiropractic further explained the situation this way:

The basis for this decision is based solely on scope and not competency. The decision focuses around the exam itself. It has been interpreted, by the state, that any examination performed by a chiropractor in New York is predicated on finding and correcting subluxations. Although chiropractors in New York are trained to perform a complete physical examination, our ability to examine and diagnose in New York is limited to detecting and correcting subluxations. As there are many areas to a DOT exam, it is felt that the DOT exam goes beyond the scope of chiropractic in New York. Further, even if you have been credentialed through programs that teach the DOT exam process, this does not change the defined scope of practice in New York.

The Safe Drivers, Safe Roads Coalition, a group whose mission is “to protect, defend and expand the rights of chiropractors in their participation in the performance of DOT physicals and the supportive services associated with these examinations,” is mobilizing to fight the ruling. In a fundraising e-mail, the group indicated that similar “scope of practice” language might place chiropractors at risk in about 30 other states and that it hopes to file suit for an injunction in New York no later than January 22, 2017.

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