Connecticut chiropractors, under fire for allegedly violating state law and failing to warn patients of the potential risk of some of their treatments, scored two recent victories, thanks to the General Assembly and the courts.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome in the legislative arena as well as the courts,” said Dr. Gina Carucci, president of the Connecticut Chiropractic Association.
The legislative victory centers on Connecticut’s use-of-name statute, which mandates that “No person shall practice as a chiropractor under any name other than the name of the chiropractor actually owning the practice or a corporate name containing the name or names of such chiropractors.” A bill just passed by the General Assembly eliminates that requirement while still mandating that licensed chiropractors display their names at the entrance to their business. The bill also grants amnesty to chiropractors found in violation of the use-of-name law.
In action now made moot by the new legislation, Victims of Chiropractic Abuse (VOCA) had identified close to 500 chiropractors that it claimed were in violation of the use-of-name statute. The list included three members of the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the panel that regulates chiropractors in Connecticut. The group submitted the list to the Department of Public Health, which initiated an investigation.
VOCA President Janet Levy called the legislative changes “shameful.” Noting that transparency in the use of a practice name is intended to protect the public, she said, “Those who are supposed to enforce the law have been breaking it, and the answer is not only to change the law but to give the violators amnesty.”
Carucci, who testified in support of the bill, said the changes were needed to “more accurately reflect the many multidisciplinary practices that exist.”
The second victory for chiropractors involves a lawsuit filed by VOCA against two chiropractic associations, the Connecticut Chiropractic Association and the Connecticut Chiropractic Council. The lawsuit, filed a year ago, charges, in part, that chiropractors don’t adequately inform patients about the risks associated with certain neck adjustments.
Earlier this month a Superior Court judge found that VOCA lacked standing to file the suit and dismissed the case. Levy said VOCA is reviewing its legal options. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to pursing informed consent for health care consumers so that they can make fully informed decisions,” she said.
Acknowledging that the case was dismissed on technical rather that substantive grounds, Carucci said the Department of Public Health held an administrative hearing a year ago on the safety of certain chiropractic techniques. It determined that patients who undergo these procedures don’t face a heightened risk, she said.