Medical professionals respond to chiropractor physical exam proposal

A proposal in Madison to allow chiropractors to perform sports physicals is creating some debate in the medical community.

The bill introduced by a Republican member of the state assembly would require schools, technical colleges and UW System two-year schools that require pre-enrollment physicals to accept exams by chiropractors.

The WIAA would also be required to accept the exams.

Area chiropractors say the proposal makes sense because physicals would often fall within the scope of their work.

“We do a lot of muscular and skeletal work for treatment, but we do also diagnose other conditions that we don’t treat,” said chiropractor Mitch Anderson. “If something would come up during the physical that’s not something that we treat, we could still refer to the appropriate medical professional.”

However, many area doctors disagree with the idea. They say physicals should be handled by physicians or nurses because those types of exams are something they do every day they’re on the job.

“Many times with some aspects of the care, what you are listening for and looking for on your exam are subtle findings, and if it’s not a routine exam for you, you may easily miss those findings,” said Gundersen Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Greg Thompson.

Under the proposed bill, chiropractors would have to be certified by a state examining board in order to conduct the physicals. The board would also be required to set up certification standards.

The bill was passed by an Assembly committee earlier this week, clearing the way for the full Assembly to take a vote.