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Academy of Advanced Practice Chiropractic Medicine

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Things You Should Know

How AAPCM is Different from ACA

AAPCM believes that all chiropractic physicians should be members of ACA. AAPCM recognizes and acknowledges ACA as the leader of chiropractic medicine nationally. ACA is the watchdog and lobbyist for federal laws, rules and statutes that restrict the clinical practice of chiropractic physicians. ACA engages federal legislators to ensure that federal laws are as non-restrictive as possible in order to allow chiropractic physicians to practice with as broad a scope as their state allows. ACA engages in negotiations and/or lawsuits on behalf of chiropractic medicine when discrimination occurs with insurance reimbursement or insurance policy limiting clinical practice. ACA protects the chiropractic profession against unfair trade restrictions and restraint of trade practices. ACA represents all chiropractic physicians who practice regardless of their philosophy towards clinical scope of practice. ACA supports states’ rights to develop scopes of practice based on the needs of their citizens and physicians.

AAPCM has not been formed to be the national voice or chiropractic advocate with regards to federal statutes, laws, rules, policies, reimbursement or restraint of trade. That is ACA’s expertise. AAPCM has been formed to be the champion for clinical scope expansion through a state by state legislative movement. It is AAPCM’s belief that this can only occur through the formation of a coalition of like-minded physicians and like-minded colleges and universities within our profession engaging in state legislation with the singular goal of expanding our scope of clinical practice.

AAPCM’s Relationship to State and Jurisdiction Associations

It is the wishes of AAPCM to partner with any individual or association that has the goal of increasing clinical scope of practice when it benefits patients. AAPCM’s purpose is to be the focal resource for state and jurisdictional legislative change towards clinical scope expansion. Having one resource center solely dedicated to helping those individuals and associations will expedite the process towards legislative change. It is the intention of AAPCM to have chiropractic information, individuals, and institutions available to help with legislative processes engaged in clinical scope of practice changes.

AAPCM’s Position Regarding Prescriptive Rights for Chiropractic Physicians

AAPCM defends the right of the chiropractic profession to expand its scope of practice on par with other healthcare professions. Its purpose is to better serve the public.

Our profession, like others, has become more specialized. Doctors of chiropractic can now qualify for advanced training in orthopedics, neurology, sports medicine, manipulation under anesthesia, acupuncture, internal medicine, radiology, pediatrics, forensics, nutrition, as well as a variety of bio-mechanical adjusting specialties. Advanced practice chiropractic physicians in New Mexico have already adopted pharmaceutical therapy.

AAPCM thinks that prescriptive authority is simply one more specialization that should be available to interested DC’s. We believe that what makes the Chiropractic profession different is our holistic and conservative perspective, not the tools in our tool-belt. True, we are distinguished by our expertise in spine and joint manipulative procedures. While Chiropractic remains the leader in manipulation technique, other health professions such as Physical Therapy, Naturopathy and Oriental Medicine are expanding their scopes to include manipulation. Spinal “adjusting” is no longer seen as a tool unique to chiropractic practice.

Other professions are embracing modern approaches to offer evidence informed medicine. We must do the same or become obsolete. Our profession finds itself in a stalemate regarding education and scope expansion . A vocal minority has attempted to dumb the profession down to nothing more than a trade. Chiropractic graduates are finding it more difficult to compete in a marketplace that has usurped spinal manipulation. Chiropractic programs are having difficulty explaining to students that despite their physician level basic training, their license to practice will be limited and archaic. Charlatan marketers prey upon those struggling by selling schemes and philosophies to get rich quick.

The Chiropractic community can develop and encourage advanced practice options for those physicians who want to expand their scope of practice. This includes prescriptive authority. AAPCM believes that this will be done in partnership with progressive health science universities. Given that our CCE accredited schools are committed to upholding our conservative care paradigm, they should be our preferred choice for advanced practice programs. Through education and legislation, we can better serve the public.

The Benefit of Prescriptive Rights to the Chiropractic Profession

The absence of the ability to manage medications restricts opportunities for the chiropractic physician. With the allopathic physician shortage, midlevel providers are performing more duties as primary care and urgent care providers. With appropriate continued education, chiropractic physicians could provide a physician level primary care or urgent services.

Surgical, orthopedic, and neurological groups are using midlevel providers to manage their patient’s pre and post-surgery care. They provide direction for non-surgical pre and post-surgery care. Medication management is needed to provide this service. The chiropractic physician is well suited for this management, but will not be considered as long as they cannot manage medications.


AAPCM believes that tiering our profession serves to allow everyone to practice at the level of education that they feel most comfortable with. The truth of the matter is that we all do not practice alike. Instead of forcing a chiropractic physician to utilize pharmaceuticals in his or her practice, that physician should be free to practice without, and the public will know who does and who does not. Just as there are nurses and nurse practitioners, health care professionals who perform at different levels of service based on their education, so can there be chiropractic physicians who are trained to a more advanced degree, and who perform different services, even if those services involve the utilization of pharmaceutical treatment.

Chiropractic Universities and Their Role in AAPCM’s Advanced Practice Initiative

In order for chiropractic physicians to become proficient in the practice of pharmacology, special training will be needed. While many medical and osteopathic institutions can provide this education, it is our intention that chiropractic universities will develop these training programs from a conservative care viewpoint.

AAPCM’s Position on ICA

ICA stands in opposition to the advancement of the chiropractic profession into pharmaceutical treatment and continues to adhere to philosophical principles and practice management that AAPCM believes is not scientifically grounded. While we respect all individuals’ right to organize, we do not think that ICA, a group comprised of about 3000 members, should have the right to force their philosophy and definition of chiropractic on the majority. At the same time, those ICA advocates who wish to practice chiropractic without utilizing medicines should be allowed to do so.

ICA believes that what constitutes traditional chiropractic, most especially a definition excluding drugs and surgery, is the true chiropractic. ICA believes that true chiropractic is the only way for chiropractors to practice. ICA believes that the use of drugs in chiropractic is the practice of medicine, and, if one wishes to use drugs in practice, one should train to become a prescribing health care practitioner outside of the chiropractic profession.

AAPCM believes that chiropractors should be able to practice to the level of their education, and that drugs, used judiciously and with proper training for their use, can be used in practice in addition to traditional chiropractic if there is benefit to the patient. AAPCM believes that strict adherence to antiquated, historical, philosophical principles is presently not in the best interests of the patient, or of the chiropractic profession moving forward.

AAPCM’s Position on Chiropractic Practice

AAPCM’s goal is to allow those who wish to add certifications or advanced licensure to be able to legally practice all procedures and skills that are taught in CCE approved schools. See Tiering above.

Our aim is to create a system of chiropractic methodology that is allowed the same level of visibility (and scrutiny) as traditional medical disciplines, so that the field can better use the scientific method (especially peer review) to create standardized information that will best help the patient. We regard current dogmatic views of what chiropractics “is” to be a roadblock to better chiropractic care.

What AAPCM Will Do For Its Members

AAPCM will work on an individual basis to counsel and coach member individuals and associations on legislative basics, such as bill creation, lobbyist fundamentals, and grass roots organizing. AAPCM will also assist when requested with a member’s legislative progress.

AAPCM will have a staff lobbyist, well versed and experienced in advanced practice legislative activities, available to members to assist a state’s or jurisdiction’s lobbyist in advancing their legislative agenda.

AAPCM will have a Speaker’s Bureau available to assist and testify at legislative hearings, as well as state and jurisdiction conventions and seminars.

AAPCM is the international voice for chiropractic scope expansion.

people learning


Multiple pathways through CCE accredited institutions for advanced scope of practice.

Legislative Building


Modeling of legislative initiatives for expansion of chiropractic licensure.



Intra and interprofessional collaborative efforts yielding extraordinary results.