It’s Good To Be The King!

By Bob Braile, D.C.

By royal command, I hereby decree that the practice of chiropractic shall be according to my will and as I see fit. That because of all my majesty and accolades, chiropractic shall be practiced only by those I personally feel can pass the test of knighthood given at the hand of my chosen servants.

Those who prove worthy must only practice according to the Holy Scrolls and shall be watched over by the Royal Court of Darkness who may call you to appear at any time and show justification for your actions. Ye shall all pay a sum to the crown for the very right to exist, and shall also be levied a sum by the Dukes of Trade for the privilege of access to the peasants. These Dukes may then set your wages and garnish a portion of your wealth for themselves.

According to the legend of Rand Ye shall only practice your craft no more than a baker’s dozen or Ye shall be tried for sedition. Ye shall only use your left hand while placing the king’s own seal on your documents with the right. All those who fail any measure of this royal decree shall be stripped of his position, shall forfeit his castle and wealth, and shall be banished from the kingdom of chiropractic forever! So sayeth His Majesty, for truly... It’s Good To Be The King!

As farcical as this little rendition may sound, many of you started to realize the parallel between the Kingdom of Chiropractic depicted above, and the real world of chiropractic we now live in. I’m sure many of you would not want me to decide how you can practice. Yet, today we have individuals who believe that their credentialing or political appointments give them the wisdom to make decisions in your office.

State Boards of Examiners, such as Florida, set ridiculous obstacles and examinations to prevent qualified new doctors from entering the state. State and insurance company Peer Review panels often are nothing more than personal opinion sessions on how these chosen chiropractors feel we should practice. Even the audacity of the Mercy conference where 35 people sat in a room and decided what’s right for us in practice, shows the arrogance of those who feel they know better than the rest of us.

Managed care is the ultimate expression of one small group telling the masses how to practice. In this case insurance companies or managed care entrepreneurs tell the rest of us how often and for how long we can see a patient. This scenario even tells the patient which doctors they have decided are best for them to see.

As a profession, haven’t we matured enough to move beyond this "It’s Good To Be The King" attitude? Do we really need the practice police peeking into our every window to see if we practice outside their royal decree? Years ago the major fear most doctors had was the fear of being sued by a patient for malpractice. Today this has been replaced with the fear of prosecution from review panels, State Boards, Worker’s Comp, and other chiropractic bureaucratic authorities.

If B.J. Palmer were alive today and practicing in Florida, the Board would probably try to prosecute him on record keeping charges. Likewise, Vinton Logan and Clarence Gonstead would also be accused of practicing outside the Mercy guidelines. The names Clay Thompson, Fred Barge, John Grostic, and Glen Stillwagon are not even discussed when managed care groups are making determinations on what proper care is. Shortly before his untimely death, Walter Pierce was failed by the Florida Board of Examiners on the technique portion of the licensure test!

It would seem because someone once cried the word "abuse", the whole profession has gone crazy trying to crack down on everyone. When I was in school in NYCC, I was taught to try to get people under care for a lifetime. Today that is considered abuse and I could be prosecuted by Peer Review, turned over to the Board and have my licensed revoked. In fact, if I render the care to my patients like I have done to my wife, it would probably be considered overutilization. I would venture to say most of us render care to our family differently than we do to our patients. Not because we don’t want to, but probably because the insurance company, or some review panel says that the type of care we render to our family is overutilization. As a profession, are we now ashamed to say we want our patients to be under chiropractic care from cradle to grave?

If our profession is to grow and flourish into its second century some of us are going to have to lose the "I know better" mentality. At some point we will have to decide that chiropractic has grown this far because of the acceptance by the public, and not the approval of some Royalty. Although we may think it would be "good to be the king," many of those in our profession who act as if they are the king, do not have the wisdom that divinely should come with the job.

Illigitimati Non Carborundum