ACS KILLS CHIROPRACTIC BOARD'S UNLIMITED FEE INCREASE BILL
UPDATE AFTER APRIL 8, 2011 NEWSLETTER WAS EMAILED
Good morning Senator Gray,
I noted from Dr. Immerman's newsletter that there may be a misperception that I have refused to provide you with the 20 subpoenas you requested. Actually, I am still in the process of preparing the package. I apologize that I was unable to respond immediately; however, we have a very small staff with a substantial work load. To date, the subpoenas have been pulled and copied and patient information has been redacted due to confidentially requirements. I have drafted an explanation for each subpoena, and have sent my draft to the Office of the Attorney General for review to make certain that I do not violate any confidentiality laws. I expect to have the package completed by next week and will have it delivered to your office.
Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Dr. Immerman's Response:
Interesting. I wonder if Director Pritzl really intended to send over the subpoenas before the newsletter was sent out. In any case, they will be very revealing. We all can't wait to see them. It never should have taken her this long to simply make copies of 20 subpoenas. Also, there was no need to redact names since they are all public documents. I believe that is a phony argument and a stall tactic.
ACS has killed the Chiropractic Board's effort to pass legislation which would have given it the authority to raise chiropractor's relicensure fees by an unlimited amount without having to gain the approval of any independent authority such as the Legislature or the Governor's Office. The bill, HB 2111, failed to move out of the Republican Senate Caucus for a vote by the full Senate due to a hold placed by Sen. Linda Gray and so died this year.
The bill had passed the Senate Health Committee by one vote after ACS testified in opposition and the AAC testified that it was neutral on the bill. Then, Sen. Linda Gray demanded that the Board supply the last 20 subpoenas sent out to chiropractors in response to complaints filed. Her intent was to see if the Board is still sending out broad and open-ended subpoenas ("fishing expeditions") in every case or if the Board has begun to comply with the recommendations from the Auditor General to only send out narrow subpoenas pertaining exclusively to the issues raised in the complaint. For example, if the complaint only mentions fees, the Auditor General stated the Board should only subpoena records regarding fees and not also subpoena clinical records such as x-rays and progress notes.
Sen. Gray, a member of the Health Committee, asked Patrice Pritzl, Executive Director of the Board, to supply the 20 subpoenas as part of her investigation. Ms. Pritzl, in a rare act of defiance to a state legislator, refused to comply with the request and instead asked that HB 2111 be pulled from the voting calendar and all further consideration. This was done and the bill is now dead as a result. Clearly, Ms. Pritzl did not want the Legislature to see that the Board has elected to ignore the dictates of the Auditor General and is still routinely sending out broad and open-ended subpoenas in every case and wasting the state's resources.
The AAC, as usual, could not stand up to the Board and just say "no." In the Senate Health Committee, the AAC's position on HB 2111 was "neutral," not "opposed." ACS was opposed. Once again, the AAC proved its deep alliance with the Board. The AAC has never and will never protect the profession from the excesses of the Chiropractic Board. That has been and will continue to be solely the responsibil
ity and mission of ACS. We are very pleased to report victory again this year, and thank Sen. Linda Gray for her part in this achievement. The profession did not need the Board flooded with loads of extra money to hire more investigators to pour over doctors' progress notes, exam forms, x-rays, treatment plans, etc. looking for minor errors to prosecute.
ACS argued to the Legislature that if the Board complied with the Auditor General, it would save so much money that the increase in fees would not be necessary. The fishing expeditions result in the Board unnecessarily combing through scores of doctors' files looking for violations unrelated to the original complaint. Some minor violation is almost always found leading to generation of a new complaint and Board proceedings with disciplinary or non-disciplinary action.
For extensive information about ACS's effort to reform the Board over the past five years, read the information on the webpage devoted to the Chiropractic Board at http://www.azchiropractors.org/pages/ARIZONA-BOARD-OF-CHIROPRACTIC-EXAMINERS.php. Chiropractic Board reform is one of the major missions of ACS.