June 12, 2017
Leading health experts have grave concerns over AB260, mandating Wisconsin’s schools and colleges to accept physical exams completed by chiropractors. Currently primary care providers examine students for clearance to compete in athletic programs.
The coalition opposing the measure includes 19 key physician organizations, other health care providers, health systems, hospitals, academic centers and other parties with a vested interest in the health and well-being of Wisconsin’s student athletes.
“Chiropractors do not have the comprehensive medical training to provide the wrap-around care provided in the primary care office,” said Dr. David Bernhardt, a team physician for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and pediatric and adolescent sports medicine expert. “The safety of youth athletes is at stake.”
During public testimony on the bill in April, some commented that chiropractors “often have more training than physicians in certain areas,” a claim contested by physicians and others.
In contrast, a 2016 American Medical Association issue brief reports that while physicians complete 10,000+ clinical patient care hours (plus additional classroom and laboratory experience), chiropractors are required only to complete 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory and clinical experience.
Dr. Kevin Walter, Program Director for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Primary Care Sports Medicine program, also cautioned against the proposal. "We want these young athletes to have quality screening by medical experts. When medical professionals are evaluating their health and physical readiness to participate in a sport, the exam includes so much more such as their cardiovascular condition, mental and behavioral health as well as educating them on health issues. The goal should be what is best for Wisconsin's kids and this proposal to allow chiropractors to handle these exams misses that mark."
The Assembly Committee on Health has scheduled a vote on the measure on Tuesday, June 13.
Now is the time for physicians concerned about this bill to contact your State Assembly representatives—please feel free to use the coalition’s April 26, 2017 memo as a source for talking points; you also can share the document with your representative. To verify the contact information for your elected officials, visit the State Legislature’s website and enter your address into the box under the “Find My Legislators” section at the right of the screen.