In one of my favorite movies, "Patton", General George S. Patton is looking off into a smoldering battle field as he utters these words, "A chance like this wont come around for a thousand years. We are in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, with exactly the right equipment. In ten days we could be in Berlin." In this memorable scene he felt that the enemy was on the verge of defeat, and that his forces were on the verge of total victory. All he felt he needed was as he put it, "a few miserable gallons of gas."
As president of the ICA I feel much the same as Patton did at that moment. The allopathic model is crumbling before our eyes. We in chiropractic stand at the threshold of becoming the dominant force in wellness and health. We have everything we need at this moment, except for a few miserable gallons of gas? As with many things in life, that gas is participation and money.
I recently have seen some articles lamenting at the AMAs decline in membership. Numbers suggest that they have now dropped below 50% down to 44% of all MDs. This means that only 44% of the half a million or so MDs in the U.S. belong. This means that they only have dues from about 220,000 members from which to try to stomp us out. Doctors, these are not comforting numbers when you realize that we in chiropractic only have about 25% or less of all DCs who are members of either the ICA or the ACA. This is shamefully low number despite the fact that we are in a war for our very survival.
Even in the face of these low numbers I feel we are on the verge of victory. We have the equipment we need, in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. By this I mean all the ICA projects poised to have chiropractic come out in front. First of all we have the chiropractic coding project CPDT-1. This historic effort of having a complete set of unique codes for our own profession is well underway and should start impacting our profession in the coming months. This will ensure control of our own future with a credible and concise description of what we do as Doctors of Chiropractic. The entire profession will become a part of this consensus process in the near future as we endeavor to make this a truly profession wide effort.
Another momentous project ICA has adopted is the adaptation of the Florida practice guidelines. This historic document was put together by both state groups in Florida and submitted jointly to the State of Florida. These have been approved, and stand as a model for other states and jurisdictions. The ICA has adapted these to fit a national and international audience so that all chiropractors will have a credible and viable alternative to the ill conceived Mercy Guidelines.
In addition to the codes, the guidelines, and hosts of other projects, the ICA has jumped with both feet into a public relations campaign through the Alliance for Chiropractic Progress with the ACA. We have committed substantial resources to producing a public relations campaign that is effective. By effective I dont mean a hand full of ads in magazines or some spots on TV. I mean an ongoing campaign that combines elements of all areas with direct active in-office participation from practicing chiropractors. This program needs to be designed to accomplish one thing, put patients directly into your office! Anything less than that to me is unacceptable.
With all this going on, and with the constant attacks from outside chiropractic, a membership of only 25% in both national associations combined is dangerous. We can not have victory slip from our hands due to apathy or lethargy. We must step up now and cease the moment.
With this in mind ICA is making a pledge. For the next year, any doctor who joins ICA, or former members who rejoin, we will devote 100% of their first quarters dues directly to this public relations effort. That means that every penny of the first quarter new members dues paid to ICA will go directly back toward helping you in this public relations effort. If you are already a member, you can help too by getting your colleagues to join with you. Check your ICA directory. You will probably be surprised to see that some of your close friends are not presently members. Keep in mind that for every one of them that joins, we will use 100% of their first quarter dues exclusively toward this public relations effort. There has never been a better return of your dues investment.
With the backing of the profession, we can win a tremendous victory. The ICA pledges to do our part to lead this effort and help you in your office to spread the word of chiropractic. All we need from you is a few miserable gallons of gas. For when it comes to true progress in chiropractic, you the member are the fuel that makes us work. Now is the time to step up.
Proud to be Chiropractic
Bob Braile, D.C., F.I.C.A.