The Department of Veterans Affairs
Health Care Programs Enhancement
Act of 2001 made it possible for veterans
to receive chiropractic care from
authorized Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals
Signed by President George W. Bush on
January 23, 2002, the act required chiropractic
care be established in at least
one facility of each of the department’s
21 service areas. It also stipulated that
these facilities provide “a variety of chiropractic
care and services for neuromusculoskeletal
[the] subluxation complex” solely by
Key to the chiropractic profession,
the law instructed Veterans Affairs
Secretary Anthony Principi to establish
a Chiropractic Advisory Committee.
On Aug. 12, 2002, he appointed six
chiropractors, two medical doctors,
an osteopath, a physical therapist and
a representative of a veterans service
organization to the committee to
After convening for just over a year,
in November of 2003, the committee
presented a list of recommendations
to Secretary Principi. After reviewing
the recommendations, on March 30,
2004, the secretary announced that
he would implement all 30 of the
committee’s proposals. And by that
summer, Mr. Principi designated the
26 VA hospitals and clinics that would
provide chiropractic care in the fall.
Chiropractic care at those authorized
VA hospitals is available to patients
who have been referred by either a
primary care physician or any other
provider, such as a neurologist or a
rheumatologist. Those veterans not
living near these facilities, may, upon
provider referral, receive care from
independent chiropractors through
the VA’s fee-basis program.
Anthony J. Lisi, D.C., West ’96
Director, Veterans Health Administration Chiropractic Service
According to Dr. Anthony Lisi,
the Veterans Health Administration
of the VA—is the largest direct
healthcare system in the U.S.,
with 154 hospitals, 136 nursing
homes, 43 residential rehabilitation
facilities, 875 outpatient
clinics and 206 veterans centers.
He should know. He was named the director of the VHA’s
Chiropractic Service on September 1, 2007.
As one of the first chiropractors to be appointed to the VHA
in 2004, Dr. Lisi developed guidelines and procedures for integrating
chiropractic care into a major medical center at the VA
Connecticut Healthcare System.
“Palmer’s West Campus has played an integral part in preparing
me for this role,” said Dr. Lisi. “I feel my training as a student,
my subsequent time as a West Campus faculty member, and my
continued collaboration with Palmer colleagues have contributed
strongly in the development of my career.”
Dr. Lisi notes that of the nearly eight million veterans enrolled in
the VA, about 350,000 have served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
Personally, he has seen a range of cases, from individuals who
incurred serious injuries due to improvised explosive devices to
those with less serious conditions.
In addition to his work for the VHA, Dr. Lisi is an associate professor
of clinical sciences at the University of Bridgeport College
of Chiropractic and an associate faculty member of the Palmer
Center for Chiropractic Research.
Kevin Fogard, D.C., West ’86
VA Northern California Health Care System, Mather, Calif.
Dr. Kevin Fogard provided chiropractic care on
a part-time basis at his local VA facility for more
than two years before beginning his current fulltime
position in May of 2008.
Each year, Dr. Fogard and a group of West
Campus alumni who work for either the
Department of Defense or the VA, gather at the
Association of Chiropractic Colleges Research
“Part of our mission is to continue to advance
chiropractic in the VA and the Department of
Defense (DoD) hospitals and outpatient clinics,”
said Dr. Fogard. “We are also currently
working to establish academic affiliations
between chiropractic colleges and the VA/DoD
settings. As we speak, we are working out
details with Palmer and the VA Northern
California Health Care System.”
David Paris, D.C., West ’01
Staff Chiropractor, Redding Outpatient Clinic, Redding, Calif.
Martinez Outpatient Clinic/Center for Rehabilitation & Extended Care, Martinez, Calif.
While president of the West
Campus Student American
Dr. David Paris developed
an interest in providing
chiropractic care to the
military. “We had a group
of students attend the 2000
National Chiropractic Legislative Conference and it was one
of our lobbying points,” said Dr. Paris.
Dr. Paris now devotes most of his time practicing at the
VA’s Redding Outpatient Clinic, except for one day a week
which he spends at the Martinez Outpatient Clinic/Center
for Rehabilitation & Extended Care.
“It’s just an honor to serve veterans and I really enjoy them
personally as patients,” said Dr. Paris. “Not having served
myself, I’ve always seen it as a small way to give back to
those who have given so much.”
Shawn Neff, D.C., Davenport ’03
Staff Chiropractor, Martinsburg VA Medical Center, Martinsburg, W.V.
In addition to enjoying working with veterans and the
collegial atmosphere of a large medical center, Dr. Shawn
Neff views the work he and other chiropractors are doing as
beneficial to his profession.
“A majority of medical providers spend some time during
their education in the VA system,” said Dr. Neff. “Think of
the possibility of every M.D., D.O., P.T., P.A. and nurse in
your community having a positive experience with a D.C.
while they were doing their clinical training. Think of the
doors that opens.”
“Our biggest obstacle with interprofessional
relations today is
lack of exposure, not outright
animosity as it once was,”
added Dr. Neff, who joined
the Martinsburg VA Medical
Center full-time in 2007, after
three years of part-time work
there. “The VA gives a great avenue to improve the situation
of countless patients through further chiropractic and medical
collaboration,” he said.