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ACP-ASIM Applauds House Decision to Reject Designation of Chiropractors as "Primary Care Physicians"

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) applauds the House of Representatives' decision to delete language from the "Disabled Veterans Service Dog and Health Care Improvement Act of 2001" (H.R. 2792) that would designate chiropractors as primary care physicians within the Veterans Health Administration.

"The College believes that primary care should be provided only by those who have the required skill and training," stated ACP-ASIM President William Hall, MD, FACP. "Chiropractors do not have the necessary background and expertise to serve in this role. Our nation's veterans deserve the highest degree of medical care, and chiropractors do not have the medical training to effectively deliver a broad range of primary care services."

Dr. Hall noted that under the House bill, primary care physicians still have the option of referring veterans for specific covered chiropractic services if medically indicated.

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.

H.R. 3447, the "Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 2001", contains the final language agreed to by a House-Senate conference responsible for reconciling the differences in earlier House and Senate passed bills. The Senate is expected to pass H.R. 3447 this week.

"The College is urging the Senate to follow suit and pass the revised bill as recommended by the conferees," stated Dr. Hall. "Veterans' health is a top priority and this bill will help maintain the highest quality care."

ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group. Membership encompasses more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students.

Jennifer Whalen, (202) 261-4575, jennw@acponline.org
Jack Pope, (202) 261-4556, jpope@acponline.org

Page updated: 11-04-03

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