Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

Quickie Consult 36 L

From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time.

"The New MINIMUM Standard for Success" MRI Spine Certification

Trends are changing around the country for success in personal injury. The courts, legislation, and regulatory changes and perception of both the plaintiff and defense dictate where the marketplace is for today and the future. Many of us feel that it can be business as usual. However, over time, for a reason we simply just can't put a finger on, our businesses are spiraling slowly downward. There are always reasons why and trends will often give insight and answers on how to spiral upwards.

When dealing with personal injury world, the trend has changed and lawyers are having a very difficult time from coast-to-coast admitting testimony from not only chiropractors, but all doctors who are not appropriately credentialed. Although we are working diligently in helping the courts understand that there are more significant bodily injuries than what can be found on MRI, the courts are still firmly entrenched in MRI findings.

Therefore, it is imperative that you not only have credentials in MRI but are certified. This is not my opinion, but the opinion of the courts where judges have ruled that the only way a chiropractor can testify on MRI is if his/her certification is valid and the lawyers realize that the MRI findings, in most instances, are the core of their cases. If a chiropractor cannot testify on what lawyers feel is the most important part of their cases, those lawyers will no longer have any relationship with that chiropractor.

The MRI Spine Certification course that I urge you to take is ours. Yes, it is self-serving. However, it is the only course of its kind anywhere. It is this certification that should be a main topic of discussion when you meet and/or communicate with lawyers. When you explain to lawyer or the courts who has certified you, it will open up a whole new world. Below is a comment of one doctor to give you perspective.

[I had taken the certification courses, on the stand opposing counsel objected to my testimony and our attorney presented my CV to the judge and I was allowed to continue.

This past Thursday video depo opposing council said she was not interested in the opinion of a chiropractor regarding the MRI and our attorney said if she could produce someone with a stronger MRI background he would consider not having me comment but until then..... As he slid my CV across the table..... We will admit his comments for the record.]

Another doctor recently sent me the following:

[I testified live for a trial last week and the jury returned a $50,000 verdict. MRI showed spondylosis and multilevel disc/osteophyte complex. She had left C6 and C7 radiculopathy per EMG. This was a 2008 case and I haven't seen the patient since then. I was questioned by defense about my MRI credentials. She assumed it was the NJ chiro association cert. I informed her that this was not although I did hold that cert as well. I explained that it through the Academy of chiro in association with the SUNY medical school and U of Bridgeport. She remarked that it was only for chiros. I then advised her that it was open to all types of physicians and was accredited through the AMA. She changed topic and did not argue the point.

A Neurologist testified on video and opined that there was a disc protrusion. The film was originally read by a neuroradiologist and opined that there were disc bulges with osteophyte formation. I testified and agreed with the neuroradiologist. I then explained that because of this pre-existing arthritic process she was at a higher risk of sustaining an injury to the nerve roots that were already being compromised by the foraminal encroachment. I demonstrated what happens to the spine during whiplash with a model spine. I also showed the jury a model of a disc/osteophyte complex.

I spoke to the attorney later that evening to see what he thought of my testimony. He was ecstatic. He said the jury was very focused on me and he said if he lost the trial he would be surprised.

Needless to say he won. This was a verbal threshold case in NJ which are very difficult to overcome, even with disc herniations. They won $50,000 verdict with 2 level radiculopathy with pre-existing spondylosis in the cervical spine. I was the only Dr. to certify permanency. The neurologist opined permanency but it was edited out of his video dep because he never mentioned it in his report or signed a cert.

This was a significant win for the legal community. By Friday afternoon I got a call from an attorney I am friends with telling me he heard I was instrumental in winning a verbal threshold case. He said I've been getting alot of good press.

Thank you for increasing my confidence through knowledge and credentials.]

For those of you who have not gotten certified yet, the course is credentialed by the following entities:

  1. Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) in joint sponsorship with the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for category 1 AMA PRA credits
  2. University of Bridgeport, Division of Health Sciences Postgraduate Education Department certified for chiropractic post-doctoral continuing education
  3. Academy of Chiropractic Post Doctoral Division, Recognized by the PACE Program of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards

It is the cross-credentialing through academia in both medicine and chiropractic along with licensure boards that makes this program "bulletproof" to being denied in the courts. If a judge chooses to deny you the right to testify, then he/she must also deny the medical profession which will never happen. That has been our consistent experience nationally since the certification was released. The course is also very easy to get through as MRI is not that difficult to learn in the format we presented as commented on by one doctor in Nevada:

[Now that I have finished both MRI I and II. I can unequivocally say that it was one of the most informative courses I have taken in my 24 years in practice. As a chiro graduate of 1988, I can also say that we had little MRI interpretation in our curriculum. I looked at MRI films with minimal interpretation and relied mostly on the Radiologist report.

After taking Drs Studin and Peyster's courses, I now look at MRI studies with a completely different perspective and have the confidence that I can now order and interpret MRI studies with far better diagnostic accuracy. I immediately signed my associate up for both courses and he feels the same way. We will soon have both of these courses on our CV's and send out press releases to local injury law offices to remind them of our continual pursuit of clinical excellence. Anyone interested in increasing their skills should take these courses. Thanks Mark for bringing quality Continuing Ed to our profession.]

To access the course please go to www.TeachDoctors.com

When meeting with lawyers, be sure to bring not only your CV, but your certification documents once you've completed this course and spend extra time discussing the cross-credentialing. In the past, this was all that was needed to create an immediate and strong referral relationship. However, in today's personal injury marketplace, these credentials have become critical to just keep the lawyer talking to you.

Once the lawyer understands that he/she can work with you, you now have the opportunity to get him/her to want to work with you. All you need to do is follow the rest of the program and you will reap the referral benefits that virtually every other doctor who has followed the program has done. Please remember this is not a "get rich quick scheme" as it takes time and persistence. If this was simple, everybody would be successful in personal injury and if you look around, you will see that is not the case.

You can argue, live in denial or ignore the conclusion that getting certified in MRI is the new minimum standard. However, please do not overlook the word "minimal." Getting certified in MRI is the very basis for success in personal injury. It is also my opinion that every chiropractor, regardless of his/her specialty, must know how to interpret MRI because we cannot overlook the research statistic that 42.2% of all interpretations by general radiologists are misread. As a profession, we rely on those reports to adjust/manipulate our patients and it has become a public safety issue. You are ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of your patient when treating. It is my goal to see that when others look around for successful doctors in personal injury, they see you.

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