N.Y. chiropractors continue fight for return to registry

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 8/18/2017

Despite encountering a snag at the New York State Supreme Court level, chiropractors in the state are continuing their efforts to overturn a 2016 decision that removed them from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

On June 1, 2016, about 50 chiropractors received a certified email from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration informing them that they would no longer be allowed to perform Department of Transportation physicals. The reason for the removal was based on the New York State Education Department’s interpretation of state law that DOT physicals are outside a chiropractor’s defined scope of practice in New York. The New York State Board for Chiropractic said the decision was based entirely on scope and not competency.

David Thorpe, a chiropractor from New York and president of the Safe Drivers, Safe Roads Coalition, said the fight to get the decision overturned was defeated at the state supreme court because they failed to meet the statute of limitations.

“Because of the statute of limitations, the case went against us even though we appeared to have an extremely strong argument,” Thorpe said. “The change of opinion went against 25 years of precedent.”

Now, Thorpe said, he and his colleagues are exploring various avenues that will allow New York chiropractors to once again perform DOT physicals. He said that in the two years of the registry chiropractors in New York performed about 30,000 physicals with no issue.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has shown its support for chiropractors being allowed to be on the national registry. OOIDA sent a letter to the New York State Education Department in August 2016.

“It is our understanding that the board is at least partially responsible for the removal of New York chiropractors from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners,” OOIDA wrote. “We hope the board will reconsider this issue based on the law and the personalized medical care that truck drivers deserve and require.”

Thorpe said that there already was a shortage of certified medical examiners in New York, and that the prices of medical exams have increased as a result of chiropractors being removed from the registry.

Only a handful of states don’t allow chiropractors to be included on the registry.

Thorpe said he will continue to work until chiropractors in New York are once again allowed to perform DOT physicals.

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