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ACP-ASIM Urges Congress to Reject Chiropractors as "Primary Care Providers"

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine is urging Congress to eliminate language in Disabled Veterans Service Dog and Health Care Improvement Act of 2001 (H.R. 2792) that would allow chiropractors to serve as primary care providers within the Veterans Health Administration.

"Chiropractors do not have the necessary training and background to provide the full scope of evaluate and treatment normally associated with primary care providers," said ACP-ASIM President William J. Hall, MD, FACP. "The potential risk of a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose are too high."

The Institute of Medicine defines primary care as "integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health needs, especially as a first point of contact for undiagnosed symptoms." The Council of Chiropractic Education (CCE), the accrediting body for chiropractic colleges, describes the scope of chiropractic training much more narrowly.

"A primary care provider is the first source of care for patients and must be prepared to prevent, diagnose or treat a wide range of illnesses," stated Dr. Hall. "In addition to three or more years of medical school and postgraduate training on diseases affecting adults, internists and other medical doctors are required by hospitals, insurers, state and national licensing boards to meet rigorous continuing education standards. Our nations veterans deserve the highest quality primary care."

"Chiropractors have limited or no prescribing authority in many states and would be unable to provide standard medical care for their patients," stated Dr. Hall.

The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine represents more than 115,000 physicians and medical students. It is the largest medical specialty society and the second largest medical organization in the United States.

Contact:

Jack Pope, Washington Office, (202) 261-4556
Jennifer Whalen, Washington Office, (202) 261-4575

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