Chiro settlement a reminder of board crony problem

Chiro settlement a reminder of board crony problem

No-more-cronyism-1024x682This week, we got a fresh reminder of the problems created by the practice of allowing governors to appoint cronies and campaign contributors to cushy, well-paying jobs on the oversight boards of many state agencies. This is from the Sac Bee:

Four years after a Sacramento jury found a Board of Chiropractic Examiners supervisor liable in retaliating against an employee and more than a decade after the case first went to court, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday he has signed legislation authorizing payment of a $2.7 million judgment in the matter.

Former chiropractic board office assistant Carole Arbuckle claimed in a whistle-blower lawsuit in 2003 that she was demoted and pushed from her job from reporting a chiropractic license had lapsed on a former board member.

Board wrongdoing alleged under both Davis, Schwarzenegger

Arbuckle’s beef was with a board member appointed by Gov. Gray Davis. But the same sort of shenanigans occurred under the next governor too, because of the guys he appointed to the chiro board. This is from a 2011 L.A. Times story that will sound quite familiar:

The former executive director of the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners will receive $600,000 to settle a claim that she was harassed and fired for helping prosecutors investigate fraud in the industry.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill authorizing the settlement,  under which the state did not admit any wrongdoing.

Catherine Hayes’ lawsuit alleged that board members tried to intimidate her into not cooperating with a 2006 probe by the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office into whether several chiropractors had engaged in insurance fraud. Eventually, she said, they retaliated by firing her.

Hayes’ allegations were an embarrassment to the administration of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Among those she accused of retaliation was Richard Tyler, the board chairman and a friend of Schwarzenegger who at one time served as his personal chiropractor. Also named in the suit was board member Francesco Columbu, a chiropractor and two-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilder — as well as the best man at the governor’s wedding to Maria Shriver.

Hayes’ lawsuit alleged that the former governor’s friends ran the board with more interest in protecting the chiropractic profession than consumers.

Why chiro board might be inclined to problems

So far, we haven’t heard of similar shenanigans with the chiro board under Gov. Jerry Brown. But just wait.

It’s a topic that has become taboo in the media for reasons unknown, but there’s a reason that the chiropractic board might be inclined to problems.

I refer to the amazing fact that chiropractors can’t even agree on what chiropractic can treat. Kind of makes establishing and policing standards of care difficult.

Some chiros say that manipulating the spine can somehow help treat everything from PMS and angina to earaches. Others merely assert that manipulating the spine can address back pain.

If America’s 146,000 dentists couldn’t agree on what they could successfully treat, that would be a story. But when America’s 44,000 chiropractors can’t agree, that somehow doesn’t raise eyebrows.


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