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FAQ: Primary Spine Care Practitioner

Thursday, March 17, 2016   (0 Comments)
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The Wisconsin Chiropractic Association is supporting state legislation that would create a new Primary Spine Care Practitioner (PSCP) practice act and education program for chiropractors who wish to obtain advanced training in evidence informed clinical interventions.


Why is the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association supporting the PSCP legislation?

The WCA supports the principle of practice freedom and educational advancement for all of its members regardless of business model or practice philosophy. This legislation creates another educational option for those chiropractors who wish to train and practice in this manner.


How does the legislation go about creating the statutory framework for the PSCP license?

The legislation would create a new practice act governed by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board called the Primary Spine Care Practitioner. This licensure is optional and only available to chiropractors who complete the required education.


What are the requirements to become a Primary Spine Care Practitioner?

A chiropractor would have to complete an accredited PSCP master’s program and 500 hours of clinical training before they could apply for licensure with the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board.


Will all chiropractors in Wisconsin be required to take the PSCP program?

No. Becoming a PSCP is strictly an option for those who wish to add training in evidence informed clinical interventions. The PSCP master’s program and licensure is an option for Wisconsin chiropractors in the same way as other dual licensures are options – i.e. physician’s assistants, advance practice nurses, pharmacists.


Would a PSCP be required to maintain their current DC license?

Yes. The rationale is that by maintaining their DC licensure, a PSCP would remain grounded in conservative care through required chiropractic continuing education.


How is the PSCP licensure different than the Primary Spine Care Physician concept that was discussed last year during WCA district listening sessions?

The key difference between the Primary Spine Care Physician (PSCP) concept that was discussed last year and the Primary Spine Care Practitioner legislation has to do with dual licensure. The Primary Spine Care Practitioner practice act being proposed by Senator Lasee would be issued by the Medical Examining Board as a second license in addition to the chiropractic license issued by the Chiropractic Examining Board (CEB).


How did the WCA Board of Directors go about gauging membership support for the PSCP initiative

The WCA Board of Directors spent over two years discussing the issue of scope expansion with members through district meetings, a town hall style listening session at the 2014 fall convention, emails and phone calls. The WCA Board of Directors carefully considered all of this input before casting a unanimous vote in favor of supporting the PSCP initiative. As a big tent association, the WCA Board recognizes that the idea of expanding scope of practice has its supporters and opponents. The PSCP creates an educational option for current and future chiropractors who chose to practice in this manner.


Why is the Primary Spine Care Practitioner being proposed as a dual license?

The WCA leadership put considerable thought into how to make the PSCP license available to those chiropractors who want to pursue it without affecting chiropractors who want to continue to practice under the traditional Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) license issued by the Chiropractic Examining Board (CEB).


Who would offer the master’s program?

The Wisconsin Chiropractic Association has been in initial discussions with the Medical College of Wisconsin to develop an academic partnership to offer the Primary Spine Care Practitioner Master’s program. This program would only be developed if the enabling legislation becomes law.


What is unique about the Medical College of Wisconsin creating the PSCP Master’s program?

The PSCP Master’s program is unique for several reasons. First, the program is the first time a medical school—should MCW offer the program—would recognize the doctoral level training you received at chiropractic school. Current physician’s assistant and nurse practitioner programs give you very little credit for your chiropractic education. Secondly, the PSCP program is only for chiropractors. This recognizes the value that chiropractors with advanced training can bring to the integrated care model.


How does the PSCP training program and licensure help address the growing issue of prescription drug abuse?

As conservative care providers, chiropractors have the best education to help patients manage pain without the use of opiates or other addictive drugs.  The additional training in pharmacology offered through the PSCP Master’s program and the 500 hours of clinical training will better position chiropractors to conservatively manage patients who may need prescriptions at times and actively transition them from potentially addictive medications to more conservative, sustainable wellness strategies.


Are you suggesting that general practitioners over-prescribe prescription drugs?

We all know over-prescription of opiate-based drugs is a huge problem, but the data on causes isn’t all that clear, especially when it comes to our GP’s who do great work in their communities and are great partners with us in patient care. Chiropractors are neck and back pain experts trained to treat pain without the use of prescription drugs.


Would a PSCP be able to counsel patients on over the counter medications?

Yes. The PSCP education would include training in how to help patients better manage OTC’s and transition them to more conservative care treatments.


What are the prospects of the PSCP legislation passing the Wisconsin Legislature and becoming law this year?

It’s admittedly late in the legislative session, but there is still time. The WCA feels that it is important to start educating people on the merits of the PSCP proposal. The future of health care in America is “continuity of care’’ — which means teams of experts are assigned to patients to provide seamless care. With neck and back pain so extremely common, we feel chiropractors who choose to do so can — and should — play a strong role in the team approach.


How many chiropractors would take the PSCP education program and pursue the expanded scope of practice?

There is strong interest within the WCA membership in the PSCP master’s program and practice act. The specific number of chiropractors who will pursue it will depend on a number of factors including the cost of the program, the mix of online and classroom requirements and the availability of clinical training.   We estimate the cost to be equivalent to obtaining a diplomate. All of these details would be determined through the WCA partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin.


Will there be opposition to the PSCP initiative?

There will be chiropractors who will oppose this initiative based on philosophical reasons. The WCA is respectful of these viewpoints and that is why the PSCP education and practice act is optional for those chiropractors who wish to practice in this manner.

How do other health care stakeholders in Wisconsin feel about the PSCP initiative?

The WCA has been working with the various health care stakeholders in Wisconsin to educate them on the PSCP proposal and gain their support.   This process will continue with the introduction of an actual bill in the legislature.


How will this degree be realistically attainable for DC’s currently in practice?

The PSCP curriculum would be delivered through a combination of online and in classroom lectures held at locations in Wisconsin. The clinically supervised 500 hours would likely be done one day a week for about one year.


If you have any additional questions, comments, or concerns, contact the WCA at 608-256-7023