|Watchdog Group Finds Corporate and Legal Problems Within Chiropractic Accrediting Agency
From: Doctors for Excellence in Chiropractic Education (DECE)
October 16, 2002: Doctors for Excellence in Chiropractic Education (DECE) has uncovered what appear to be major organizational problems within the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE).
"While examining the processes and rules CCE uses to accredit and de-accredit chiropractic programs and the legal sources of their authority, DECE was stunned to find that CCE had violated its own rules and procedures as well as those of the states of Wisconsin and Arizona, in which CCE has held or sought corporate status," says Dr. Donald Hirsh, DECE spokesperson.
DECE's intensive legal research and analysis has revealed that CCE may have no legitimate corporate status in any state.
DECE's lead legal counsel, James S. Turner, alerted CCE of the organization's concerns in a letter to Executive Vice President, Dr. Paul Walker, stating:
We believe that the argument can and likely will be made that CCE is operating outside the corporate validity it needs to effectively and authoritatively function as an educational standards setting body. We also believe that the additional argument could and likely will be made to the Department of Education, by others if not us, that the organization that the federal department recognized to accredit chiropractic professional programs, that is, the CCE as originally recognized, is not the body that is functioning under the name Council on Chiropractic Education today. (A link to Mr. Turner's letter of October 15, 2002 is available below.)
"This apparent lack of corporate standing brings into question the very legitimacy of the CCE and places the organization and its trustees in an awkward and legally precarious position," says Mr. Turner.
In addition to the uncertain legal status, CCE has taken steps to fundamentally change the mission of the CCE from accrediting programs that educate doctors of chiropractic to accrediting programs that educate "primary care physicians". This dramatic change not only appears to discriminate against those institutions desiring to operate within the traditional definitions and orientations of the chiropractic profession, but has also raised serious legal and operational questions centering on the definition and meaning of the "primary care physician" concept. In many states, use of this term is reserved by law to doctors of medicine and the use of that term in any capacity by the doctor of chiropractic would have considerable legal repercussions.
"Some within CCE are, it appears, seeking to engineer fundamental changes in the direction and nature of chiropractic education and practice, quite apart from any mandate from the chiropractic profession and, in too many cases, in stark contrast to what the state laws say chiropractic is," Mr. Turner continued. "Such unilateral changes in the requirements for educational institutions places both chiropractic schools and the students that they are educating in a potential confrontational position with the law. This is bad policy and needs to be corrected."
DECE is attempting to develop a meaningful dialogue with CCE decision-makers out of a grave concern for the future of chiropractic education and those institutions that are presently obliged to act according to the dictates of the CCE. "It is just possible that the leaders of the CCE are unaware of the situation they are in and we hope that our efforts will help avoid a situation in which all of the chiropractic educational institutions, as well as the profession at large, are seriously disadvantaged," Mr. Turner further stated.
DECE is urging the leadership of the CCE to address their uncertain structure and consider the possible consequences of continuing along a potentially self-destructive path. "Those who stand to lose are not only the students and other members of the Life University community, but the chiropractic profession as a whole," said Dr. Hirsh. "If it is discovered that the demands and penalties CCE has levied against Life are coming from an improperly configured organization, you can imagine the massive backlash CCE will be obliged to deal with, not just in the courts and court of public opinion but with a host of government agencies."
DECE: October 15, 2002 letter from DECE attorney Turner to CCE
DECE: Doctors for Excellence in Chiropractic Education