The Integrated Practice

Tickets Still Available for the Titanic

by Bob Braile, D.C.

I’m sure that just before the fateful maiden voyage of the Titanic someone found some last minute tickets to sail aboard her. It probably seemed like a lucky break to that person as they boarded the majestic vessel about to sail across the Atlantic. But in just a few short days history would prove that having a ticket for this maiden voyage was not the fortunate way to travel. And to be sure, after the tragic event no one purchased a ticket for Titanic’s second voyage.

The difference between the Titanic and the medical paradigm approach to health care is that we can see the allopathic model sinking well in advance. Despite the advance warning there are still those in the chiropractic profession who want to buy tickets.

The sinking of the medical model is certainly not a secret. It is widely publicized every day in every major publication throughout the country. We constantly hear of the failure of antibiotics against new "super resistant bacteria". We hear statistics such as 180 thousand deaths each year attributable to medical malpractice, or 90,000 deaths due to properly prescribed hospital medications. For years chiropractors have been touting the dangers of vaccinations, and now we finally begin to see more articles questioning the efficacy of these toxins. Day after day more people are reading about and questioning the failure of a system that they dare not question just a few short decades ago.

Even the government now recognizes the need for change in medical care. Politicians are continually sponsoring new bills for health care reform. If the medical model worked, why would they be speaking about reforming it. Despite the glaring failures, the cost of medical care continues to rise beyond what the consumer can afford. Costs for this failing system have gotten so out of hand that corporate business can not even afford it anymore. Thus we have the advent of Managed Care where business tries to run their own health care companies.

Despite all the attempts at refinancing or reform the medical paradigm is sinking just as sure as Titanic. The hole in the side of the Titanic is nothing compared to the hole in allopathic health care from which a trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives spill through. The medical system is sinking, the water is freezing, and there aren’t enough lifeboats to go around.

Even as the allopathic vessel takes on water, chiropractors are rowing out to hitch their dinghy to the listing hull of allopathy. One of the latest crazes in chiropractic is what is being called the integrated practice. This is where a chiropractor ties his practice to an MD or some kind of medical professional in order to offer what they call "complete service". In this setting the chiropractor gives the chiropractic care while the MD gives the medical care and diagnostic services.

Despite all the thin rationales concerning patient care, the bottom line is money. I would seriously doubt if many of the chiropractors involved in the integrated practice would be doing it if they didn’t think they would be paid better or have more insurance access from association with a medical practice. In most of these arrangements the DC offers chiropractic adjustments while the MD or PT conduct a series of medical diagnostic tests, procedures and therapy which are covered by insurance or managed care plans.

Setting aside the moral or ethical questions for a moment, the legal authorities have not turned a deaf ear to this phenomenon. Indictments and prosecutions have begun when the legal authorities believe that this integrated arrangement is nothing more than a way to enhance reimbursement. It is my feeling that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in prosecutions of this arrangement.

Morally and ethically the questions go much deeper. Chiropractic has always been a non-treatment, non-therapeutic approach to health. Medicine has mainly approached health from the treatment of end tissue phenomenon. How can you properly synergize these two opposite approaches. How confusing the integrated practice must be to patients. On the one hand you talk to them about the body healing itself, while on the other hand they are given drugs to treat things in their body based on the concept that the body can not heal the ailment they came to your center with. What type of message are you giving patients when they receive a conglomeration of various treatments and a chiropractic adjustment. Obviously your adjustment becomes just another form of therapy or treatment in addition to their medical regime.

I’ve always considered chiropractic care to be something more special and true than allopathic care. I consider what we do to be on a higher level. It disturbs me to see a failing allopathic paradigm muddy the clear waters of chiropractic. It would be like viewing a beautiful natural landscape and having a set of high tension wires running through it. Somehow the purity and beauty are reduced.

For years most of my new first time chiropractic patients were previous medical failures. They came to me because they tried the medical route and failed. Chiropractic has grown and thrived because our principles are true and they worked on those who could not get help through the allopathic model. Now with these integrated practices we are in essence promoting or sending our patients back to the same failure that brought them to us in the first place.

The medical model, like the Titanic is sinking fast. I for one do not want a ticket to climb aboard.

Proud to be, Chiropractic!