Chiropractic Board’s Lack of Oversight in Question
A history of poor oversight of the state's chiropractors by the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners has led to ongoing problems that continue to draw criticism from lawmakers, patients and the legal system, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Courts are required to notify the board of criminal cases against chiropractors and civil settlements that exceed $3,000. However, sexual misconduct and fraud allegations against chiropractors are not considered malpractice and do not have to be reported by the courts to the board.
As a result, reporting of such instances is left to patients or fellow chiropractors, making it difficult for cases to be discovered, according to the Bee.
Julie D'Angelo Fellmeth -- administrative director at the Center for Public Interest Law at UC-San Diego, which monitors state licensing boards -- said the chiropractic board could compensate for the lack of reported cases by conducting its own investigations and monitoring malpractice claims.
A Bee investigation found that from 1998 to 2006, the board revoked the licenses of 219 chiropractors and placed 185 chiropractors on probation, but also "missed or disregarded allegations of questionable activity."
The board in some cases failed to investigate accusations of sexual misconduct, fraud and neglect, the Bee reports. In some instances, the board never contacted the patients or their attorneys (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 12/3).
In October, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed legislation (SB 801) by Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Leimert Park) that would have increased state oversight of the board and restored its full budget.
Schwarzenegger argued that the board already is working with the Department of Consumer Affairs "to correct any prior deficiencies."
The board also recently had to cut its staff in half and reduce the number of disciplinary cases it reviews because of budgetary constraints (California Healthline, 10/26).