Palmer College

Palmer Board and administration go to Washington

Palmer officials in Washington, D.C., from left: Dr. Robert Percuoco, Dr. Dennis Marchiori, Dr. Kevin Cunningham and Board members Dr. Ervin Malcheff (next to U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack— D-IA), Ken Koupal, Dr. Charles Keller and Dr. Paul VanDuyne.
Members of the board and administration standing in office

For their November 2011 meeting, the Palmer Board of Trustees and members of the administration met in Washington, D.C. They set aside several days to visit legislators on Capitol Hill representing Iowa, California and Florida, and discuss pending legislation affecting chiropractic, along with topics of concern for chiropractic educators. These meetings are already bearing fruit in terms of follow-up meetings with the legislators to discuss particular bills, as well as letters written on behalf of Palmer to advance legislation favorable to chiropractic.

“The meetings in Washington clearly demonstrated how important Palmer College is to the future of chiropractic,” says Chancellor Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D. “We met with staff from the ACA, ICA and ACC to ensure that our efforts coordinated with their on-going political agendas. In meeting with our legislators, we were told that Palmer is the first chiropractic college ever to canvass Capitol Hill with a full board and administrators. There was a real sense of purpose and feeling that we were changing hearts and minds in favor of chiropractic. So now, in addition to our local and state legislative visits, we plan to visit Washington regularly to inform politicians of chiropractic and Palmer College.”

The Board members and administrators split into three groups for meetings with legislators, including the campus presidents who met with legislators representing their respective states to discuss particular bills of interest in Iowa/Illinois, California and Florida. The group also toured the National Naval Medical Center, led by trustee William Morgan, D.C., who heads the chiropractic clinic at this prestigious facility—also known as “the president’s hospital.”

“The purpose of these meetings was to build relationships and make legislators aware of pending legislation that advances the chiropractic profession and ask for their support,” says Palmer’s Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Robert Percuoco, D.C. “We did our homework beforehand by working with the ACA, ICA and ACC to learn about specific legislation. We also reviewed the work of those legislators who had supported favorable legislation and advanced our cause in Congress.”

A number of bills were discussed during the meetings, but major items of interest included the following:

HR 664: A bill introduced by Representative Gene Green (D-Texas) to include D.C.s in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which is comprised of approximately 6,000 well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the nation’s public health promotion and disease prevention programs, and advancing public health science.

HR 409: Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) has introduced this bill to provide TRICARE beneficiaries in the Department of Defense healthcare system with access to chiropractic care.

HR 531: Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) has introduced this bill to create a new national loan repayment program including chiropractic college graduates who agree to practice in an area designated as a “health profession shortage area” or an area designated as having a shortage of “frontline care services.”

HR 2117 and S. 1297: These bills were introduced to repeal an administrative interpretation of “State Authorization” and the “Federal Definition of a Credit Hour,” which has been tied directly to Title IV funding (student loans).

State Authorization requires any educational institution that does business in a state, including offering instruction on the ground, online, or through correspondence education, recruiting students or advertising programs in that state, to be authorized by the state to conduct their business. Authorization varies from state to state and, in most cases, comes with a fee. The unintended consequence of this legislation is for Palmer College to become licensed in any state where the College has set up preceptorships (47 states) and/or recruits prospective students (50 states), which would involve considerable cost and staff time.

The unintended consequence of conforming to a Federal Definition of a Credit Hour is for Palmer to restructure course credit hours and billing practices per a federally defined credit hour. Palmer presented a case to the legislators to support the repeal bills.

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