Academy of Chiropractic

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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. -Mark Studin 2006

“Chiropractic Under Attack”

 

 

Coming to You Soon

A "Make or Break Moment" in Personal Injury for DC's

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“Yesterday controls tomorrow” Mark Studin 2021
 

Not since 2012 have I seen this level of attack on the chiropractic profession from a carrier that could have NEGATIVE far-reaching effects on our entire profession. Two things I historically study the most are TRENDS and COURT RULINGS. Most don't realize that court rulings are the cause of most tends that end up in our everyday practice and affect our ability to both treat at the level we choose and earn a fair and equitable living.

The 2012 ruling was in a lower New Jersey Court in the case Lamb vs. Allstate. In that case, Allstate was trying to get every doctor of chiropractic in the state of New Jersey disqualified to render an MRI opinion. The judge (correctly at that time) ruled that:

  1. There is no testing in courses
    1. State organizations who teach only have you attend with no verification of what you learned
  2. No training in pathology
    1. Disc interpretation isn't enough
  3. No accepted credentials upon completion
  4. Instructors credentials questioned (DACBR's are inadequate)
  5. Chiropractic colleges lack specialists
  6. You cannot merely repeat the radiologist's report

I was requested in 2012 to find a solution for DC's in NJ, and it took me a few years to create adequate coursework in both chiropractic and medical academia to overcome and quash these levels of attacks. This ruling became a national trend as I read many court proceedings nationally with the same arguments. When our doctors graduated from the MRI Spine Credentialing course (25 Hours), 100% of every doctor who had that credential was allowed to opine on MRI's… Until now. I sent a consultation about 6-8 weeks ago that I started to hear of the carriers mounting a new strategy against chiropractic in (as always) New Jersey. However, the attack was not mounted in NJ; it was a different state, perhaps because the judges in NJ had already allowed so many of our doctors to testify previously.

A few weeks ago, State Farm argued in court that a chiropractor could not interpret an MRI as it falls outside of a chiropractor's expertise, and the judge ruled in State Farm's favor. They were citing a 2019 ruling with the same conclusion with a chiropractor that had zero MRI credentials. The current 2021 doctor has over 400 hours of formal MRI training from both chiropractic and medical academia, including Mini-Fellowships in Neuroradiology Spine and MSK Extremities.  

The judge ruled in this case:

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This ruling is highly inaccurate and appears very prejudicial, and State Farm was able to prevail in the ruling. The plaintiff's lawyer also bears significant responsibility for not doing the legal research to prevent this. However, unless contested, it becomes the law of the case and makes it difficult from now on for this doctor who has a VERY BUSY PI practice. It also set up a negative legal precedent for all other DC's in his state and other states that testify after him.

NOTE: Because this is ongoing litigation, I am precluded from naming the doctor or the state.

The doctor in the 2021 case retained an independent lawyer that specializes in admissibility issues. The doctor's cost to represent only him will be between $15,000 - $50,000 as the case is ongoing, and we do not yet have the final legal bill. The lawyer retained is close to a legal scholar on Daubert (admissibility) issues. Although it will help his patient's case, it is critical for all future cases as this sets a precedent not only for him but every doctor that follows him in court in his state. It also sets a precedent for every DC nationally as this could become the Trend in all 50 states if successful and not challenged.

Based on the merits of this doctor's credentials, he just defeated another motion, allowing him to testify on another case with a different judge. These types of precedents set the stage for him to prevail in all cases, along with other precedents already established. Without his coursework credentials, I doubt he would be allowed to testify, and all lawyers would avoid him. Also, these precedents (good or bad) will spread both statewide and nationally. Once a carrier has a successful court strategy, they "roll it out" nationally.

As a result, I no longer urge but DEMAND everyone get the credential "Advance Training in MRI Interpretation" (formerly called MRI Qualified) [click here to learn more]. This level of recognition is becoming the new minimum based upon the new Trend that has revealed itself. By doing so, you will make your competition irrelevant and secure a robust personal injury practice. It doesn't matter how many times in the past you testified; precedents create an "entirely new ballgame."

 

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