As a personal injury lawyer in BC since 1995 I have witnessed the evolution of chiropractic care from an uncommon and alternative form of treatment to a designated health profession used by the mainstream public. I have also been keenly aware of ICBCs changing policy when it comes to funding Chiropractic care for car accident injury claimants.
ICBC’s own research has shown that after a motor vehicle accident injury victims stand the best chance of recovery if given immediate access to medical supports.
A car accident victim insured with ICBC should know that ICBC must pay as benefits all reasonable expenses incurred as a result of the injury for necessary chiropractic treatment. Unfortunately the meager coverage provides little solace to injury claimants that required extensive chiropractic treatment following a car accident. An agreement between the chiropractors in BC and the Insurance Corporation if British Columbia, ICBC, says to the public that chiropractors will provide direct payment options and the injured don’t have to pay out of your pocket, getting reimbursed months or years later. ICBC says that no medical referral is necessary.
However, the College of Chiropractors of B.C. is responsible for the licensing and registration of the more than 1,000 doctors of chiropractic in B.C. and not all of these doctors agree with the Chiropractic Treatment Program.
The permanent acceptance of the Chiropractic Treatment Program is a recognition that the underlying system is not working. The vast majority of injury claimants are referred to physical therapy, such as physiotherapy as an example, yet there is no similar program for promoting access to physiotherapy.
More importantly, there is no program to ensure that accident victims have access a medical doctor in the critical months following a motor vehicle accident. The reality is that many injury claimants now have no family doctor in British Columbia and more and more physicians are refusing to treat victims of personal injury that are insured with ICBC.
Often the most important medical support is a family physician to provide the appropriate referral immediately following the injury. There are 18 professions, regulated by 17 professional colleges that are now covered under B.C.’s Health Professions Act. These include: chiropractors; dental hygienists; dental technicians; denturists; dietitians; licensed practical nurses; massage therapists; midwives; naturopathic physicians; occupational therapists; opticians; optometrists; physical therapists; psychologists; registered nurses (including nurse practitioners); registered psychiatric nurses; traditional Chinese medicine practitioners; and, acupuncturists.
The question has to be asked: Why would ICBC choose the Chiropractic profession to begin a program of early access to medical necessary treatment rather than family physicians, physiotherapist, massage therapist and other physical therapist, which are currently the lifeblood and most relevant professions for early intervention of soft tissue type injuries?
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.