TCA leadership were among the hundreds who met with their congressional representatives this past week in Washington, D.C., to advocate for expanded access to chiropractic services for veterans, among other issues at the ACA’s National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC). TCA President Dr. R.J. Crawford, TCA VP Dr. Brock Martin, TCA Immediate Past President Dr. Andrew Dixon, TN ACA Delegate Dr. Holly Tucker and TCA ED Tiffany Stevens all participated in this annual opportunity to advocate for chiropractic in sit down meetings with Tennessee’s congressional lawmakers, their key staff members, and health care policymakers.
More than 600 chiropractors, students and other supporters convened in the nation’s capital from February 28 – March 2, 2018 to hear speeches from government leaders, receive advocacy training and urge elected officials to support pro-chiropractic measures that would expand access to chiropractic services for veterans at VA health care facilities (H.R. 103/S. 609) as well as for their families and retirees through TRICARE (H.R. 4973), and allow chiropractic graduates to participate in federal programs enabling them to practice in underserved areas in exchange for student loan debt relief (H.R. 1378). Additionally, Tennessee doctors discussed existing policy (both statutory and regulatory) as it relates to the limited inclusion of Chiropractic Services in Medicare.
Before heading to Capitol Hill, NCLC attendees heard from members of Congress who stressed the importance of educating elected officials about how chiropractors can enhance patient care, particularly for veterans. A 2017 report from the VA stated that more than 62 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn veterans who sought health care from the VA over a 14-year period were treated for musculoskeletal ailments such as back pain. As a result, many veterans struggle with addiction to prescription pain killers.
The Congress of Chiropractic State Associations (COCSA) Annual Conference Roundtables, which were moved to NCLC after being cancelled as a result of hurricane Maria, were also held bringing state association leadership together to discuss key issues impacting the profession, strategies and solutions. Tiffany Stevens, E.D. represented the TCA as a featured panelist along with Carl Alden (Michigan Association of Chiropractors Governmental Relations & Insurance Director), David O’Bryon, JD, CAE (President of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges), and John Falardeau (ACA Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy).
The panelists took questions from participants, covering hot policy issues and sharing their extensive experience on topics including growing chiropractic political action committees, the value of grassroots programs and keeping membership updated and engaged in the political process. Annual DC and ED Roundtable discussions were also held providing updates on issues impacting chiropractic state associations and their members.