I’m humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve the chiropractic profession as President of the New Mexico Chiropractic Association.
I hope I can live up to the standard set by the incredible physicians that have held this position over the past 75 years. I would like to use this space with my first Presidents Report to give a 30,000ft view of my focus and vision for my time in the leadership of our association. As I have reflected on this over the past number of months, I boiled it down to 3 words: Access, Integration, and Advancement.
Improving patient access to chiropractic medicine has been an area of focus for the NMCA well before my time in leadership and will continue to be a primary goal moving forward.
We have had recent success with the passage of the co-pay parity legislation and the establishment of the Medicaid Pilot Program earlier this year. We will continue to seek collaborative relationships with the major insurance providers in the state to remove barriers to accessing care and limitations on guideline-based, evidence-informed care.
Arbitrary limits to care from managed care organizations are an issue to patient access. However, perhaps the biggest looming issue with access to care in the near future will be availability. It is no secret there are significant provider shortages for all medical specialties in New Mexico. Looking at the classified section of this Journal over the past few editions, there have been as many as 24 positions available across the state.
A shortage of chiropractic physicians in the state, especially in our rural communities is becoming a worsening problem. Finding creative and effective recruitment strategies for providers looking for help will be essential to patients having access to our services.
I believe patient access to chiropractic medicine can also improve with greater integration of chiropractic physicians into the healthcare delivery system.
We currently have a few physicians employed with major medical groups or Federally Qualified Health Centers, but there is room for significant growth. Focus will be placed on continuing to develop these opportunities and expanding into other institutions like the VA and IHS. Integration in these areas will certainly improve patient contact opportunities and will also facilitate greater collaboration with other medical providers. Although I have seen significant improvements in team-based medical care over my career, there is still a lot of ignorance on what we actually do within the allopathic community. I have found when given the opportunity to work alongside and engage other medical providers a better understanding of our value and education level can occur. This understanding will increase our utilization and exposure in the healthcare market.
My focus on integration does not stop at the clinical level. There are many healthcare-focused groups and organizations that steer policy and allocate resources to healthcare providers in New Mexico. Currently, the chiropractic profession is severely underrepresented in these areas. As it has been said, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu.”
By improving access and integration of chiropractic physicians, the advancement of our profession will occur. We will continue to elevate and advance our profession by continuing to offer high-level educational opportunities at our annual convention and seminars.
The NMCA will seek out presenters and programs that provide educational opportunities focusing on improving patient outcomes and preparing our doctors for success. Additionally, I see an opportunity for the advancement of our profession to fill a large need in New Mexico. As we all have experienced, provider shortages are creating a widening gap in our healthcare delivery system.
I would like to create educational pathways that would allow chiropractic physicians to increase their scope of practice and offer additional services to their patients in the musculoskeletal and primary care settings. There is a great need for additional primary care providers and the timing is right to implement these programs.
I realize this is a very ambitious vision with difficult roads ahead. I’m blessed to be surrounded by an incredibly dedicated and brilliant team around me on our Board of Directors, as well as an engaged membership at large. I don’t have all the answers on how we will accomplish these goals, but I know with the weight of the NMCA behind me anything is possible. Thank you for the opportunity, and I look forward to the challenge.