OBJECTIVE: Committee members investigated the terms primary care, primary care provider (PCP) (clinician, physician), neuromusculoskeletal care, neuromusculoskeletal care provider (clinician, physician), musculoskeletal care, and musculoskeletal care provider (clinician, physician) to determine which, if any, apply to the practice of chiropractic.
DATA SOURCES: A literature review was performed with in-depth analysis of the definitions of these terms and an interpretation of Connecticut Statutes for chiropractic, comparing the legal description of chiropractic practice to the term definitions. The literature review produced several detailed definitions of primary care and/or primary care provider (clinician, physician); however, no accurate description of neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) care or musculoskeletal care was found.
RESULTS: Two opinion surveys were conducted: 1 survey included presidents of accredited chiropractic colleges, as well as leaders of chiropractic organizations throughout the world. The other survey was sent to doctors of chiropractic (DC) licensed in the State of Connecticut. Survey topics addressed definitions of primary care and PCP, the formulation of these terms, neuromusculoskeletal care and neuromusculoskeletal care provider, individual rights in selecting a PCP, and the types of practitioners considered PCPs. The consensus among chiropractic college presidents, organization leaders, and Connecticut-licensed doctors of chiropractic was that the doctor of chiropractic is qualified to provide primary care. Most considered any definition of primary care invalid if the chiropractic profession was not involved in its formulation. The overwhelming majority felt the patient should retain the ultimate choice in determining who should be their PCP. Mission statements of accredited chiropractic colleges were reviewed, paying particular attention to educational goals and professional qualifications of graduates. The committee found these institutions strive to train students in all aspects of primary care.
CONCLUSIONS: Upon review of the literature and term definitions, interpretation of the statutes pertaining to chiropractic practice, results of both surveys, and review of the chiropractic college mission statements, the committee concluded that the Connecticut-licensed DC, by education, licensure, definition, and intraprofessional consensus, qualifies as a PCP.
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