Not The Only Game In Town

Bob Braile, D.C.
President ICA

Recently I have seen and heard much vibrato from ACA president Dr. Mike Pedigo about the ACA being the only real organization capable of addressing the professions problems. The suggestion is that the ACA is the only game in town worth spending your dues money with. While I read these comments with amusement, I feel there are several questions that need to be asked.

If the ACA is the only game in town, how come they are a full equal partner with the ICA both financially and creatively in the newly formed Alliance for Chiropractic Progress? Why did we both speak equally to the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations on this upcoming project? Why is it that every other group and institution understands that the ICA is a viable entity in chiropractic.

If the ACA were the only game in town the Wilk antitrust suit would have died long before it got off the ground, for it was ICA who supported this effort when ACA would not. Even though Dr. Pedigo was a plaintiff in this suit, he knows ACA refused to support it leaving ICA and individual volunteers to carry burden. ICA was the only game in town who stepped up as the lone voice supporting the Wilk antitrust suit for many years long before any other national associations would dare to join in

Thank goodness the ACA wasn’t the only game in town when the Wall Street Journal published an article attacking chiropractors for caring for children and daring to suggest parents should have freedom of choice on the issue of vaccinations. It was the ICA alone who did not weaken their response in a full page rebuttal. The ICA then stood as the only chiropractic organization on record as having a freedom of choice policy on vaccinations.

If ACA were the only game in town we would all now be practicing under the restrictive yoke of the Mercy Guidelines. If they were the only game in town we might have changed the name of our profession and given up the relationship with subluxations as was suggested by the then ACA chief council in the ACA Journal of Chiropractic in 1986. If ACA were the only game in town chiropractic would have a web page that tells sufferers of lower back pain that the first thing they need to do is use mild medication.

If ACA were the only game in town many a pioneer in chiropractic would have remained in prison for practicing chiropractic, for it was ICA that came to the aid of thousands of these heroes. And if ACA were the only game in town would we not all be relegated to four codes of "Chiropractic Manipulative Treatment" for ever, instead of embarking on a journey to create our own coding chiropractic coding system as the dentist for their profession?

I’m not going to tell you that ACA has not had its accomplishments over the year. But to dismiss the 72 year history of dedicated service, accomplishment, consistency and pride that the ICA has shown, is both inaccurate and misleading. Let us not forget that Dr. Pedigo was once an elected official of ICA. He worked through the ranks and became president. He then tried to dismantle ICA and merge it into ACA. After that attempt failed he jumped ship and moved into ACA only to become the ACA president a short decade later. If one were a little suspicious, one would wonder if this only game in town rhetoric were not part of a long term personal agenda.

In any event, the profession knows there is not only one game. It is in fact the healthy competition that keeps the national association striving to improve their level of service to the profession. The National associations have shown the world that they can work together on common issue if we act maturity and responsibly. The time has come to stop seeking members by telling chiropractors you are the only game in town. The time has come to show the profession what you’ve got and ask them to join because of it.

As president of ICA I don’t want to steel ACA members. I’m happy that those people are at least members of something. What I want is for the 75% of chiropractors who do not belong to ICA or ACA to come alive and make a decision. Of course I want them to join ICA! But I want them to do it for what we have done, and can do. Our accomplishments, consistency and history speaks for itself. We are proud of who we are and respect your right to be who you are. But neither one of us, Michael, is the only game in town.