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ICA wants Forbes apology for ‘outrageous, prejudicial’ article


April 25, 2014
By Mari-Len De

April 25, 2014 – The International Chiropractic Association (ICA) has called out as “outrageous and prejudicial” a recent Forbes magazine online article criticizing U.S. Medicare spending on chiropractors.

In a letter sent to Forbes, ICA’s general legal counsel James Turner called the online article, written by Forbes contributor Steven Salzberg, arrogant and ignorant.

“The arrogance, ignorance and above all, prejudice displayed in Mr.
Salzberg’s essay is rare in this day and age of universal availability
of information on any subject from any source via the Internet,” Turner
wrote in his letter to the editor. “To ignore the mass of safety,
clinical and cost-effectiveness data on chiropractic readily available
to anyone bothering to search clearly indicates the intentions of this
individual – to maliciously smear and to discredit for reasons that only
he can explain. This organization would certainly have been happy to
assist in any such search and we wish to go on record as making the
resources of the ICA available to any Forbes writer should there be an interest in an objective, balanced review of any chiropractic issue.”

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In his article, published in Forbes'
website on April 20, Salzberg cited the $496 million U.S. Medicare paid
for chiropractic treatments in 2012 as “egregious waste” pointing out
chiropractors are “not medical doctors” and claimed chiropractic
“belief” in subluxations has “no scientific basis.”

Salzberg’s
comments about chiropractic in his article elicited reactions from the
chiropractic community defending its practice and citing numerous
scientific evidence of the efficacy of chiropractic care.

“This
recent outrageous and prejudicial attack on the chiropractic profession
requires an exceptional response,” said ICA president Dr. Michael
McLean. “Attacks on our profession from critics and competitors are
commonplace and predictable but this recent piece titled, New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted on Chiropractors,
and written by Steven Salzberg, is so outrageously misleading and
hurtful that we feel all of our legal options and protections must be
explored.”
 
ICA is “especially shocked” by the highly prejudicial
assertions about the risks associated with chiropractic care and the
author’s “choice of outdated, misleading references for which compelling
data to the contrary exists which clearly documents the exceptional
safety and clinical effectiveness of chiropractic procedures.”

In
his letter to the editor, Turner indicated the ICA was deeply disturbed
by the characterization of all chiropractic expenditures in the federal
Medicare program as “waste.”

“What is particularly offensive,
indeed outrageous, is Mr. Salzberg’s characterization of chiropractic
expenditures in Medicare as ‘waste.’ This is especially the case as
Medicare is not welfare but a program into which all working Americans
are obliged to pay all their working lives. In this program, Medicare
beneficiaries are entitled to choose the care pathway and services that
they feel best meet their individual health care needs. The irrefutable
fact that over many decades millions of Medicare beneficiaries have
chosen chiropractic care as their preferred means to address their
personal health issues is the best and most compelling evidence of the
need for and effectiveness of these unique services. To presume to
dismiss those millions of Americans as foolish and misdirected, because
of their choice of chiropractic, showcases the malicious, prejudicial
agenda of the writer in glaring and, once again, outrageous terms.
 
McLean
says ICA’s response was not just to “express outrage” over the article
but to “seek redress through every possible means.”

The ICA
wants Forbes to allow the chiropractic community the opportunity to
present the true facts on chiropractic’s safety and effectiveness. It
also hopes to get an apology from the publication, said Turner in his
letter.

“We would happily accept both as a means to right what we
feel is a demonstrable wrong done to our members and, ultimately, to
the patients they serve,” said Turner
 
ICA has urged all doctors of chiropractic and chiropractic organizations to express their thoughts on the article directly to Forbes.

“ICA
also urges all within the chiropractic profession to bring to our
attention any prejudicial attack on the profession,” said McLean. “ICA
will forcefully respond with the facts.”