Arizona Board Under Fire: Senator Janae Shamp Uses Legislative Reform to Stop Board's Abuse of Power

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Arizona Board Under Fire: Senator Janae Shamp Uses Legislative Reform to Stop Board's Abuse of Power

Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) Endorses Special Investigation by Auditor General into the Arizona Board's practices

In an era where trust in professional oversight is crucial to public safety, recent revelations by Arizona Senator Janae Shamp have cast a shadow over the Arizona Chiropractic Board of Examiners led by Wayne Bennett DC. Senator Shamp, representing Legislative District 29, has taken a stand against what she describes as misconduct, a lack of transparency, and an overreach by the Chiropractic Board. Her commentary, published on March 4, 2024, in the Arizona Capital Times, sheds light on a disturbing pattern of behavior that demands immediate legislative action.

CLICK HERE to read Shamp's Scathing Indictment

List of Accusations Against the Chiropractic Board:

  1. Failure to Investigate Sexual Misconduct: The Chiropractic Board's decision not to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct highlights a dereliction of duty, compromising the safety and welfare of the public.
  2. Damage to Lives and Careers: The Chiropractic Board's actions—or lack thereof—have adversely affected the lives, careers, and businesses of Arizona's citizens, underscoring the urgency of reform.
  3. Deviation from Legislative Intent: The Chiropractic Board has strayed from its original purpose, tasked by the Legislature solely with protecting the public from harm, while all other matters have been mishandled or ignored.
  4. Abuse of Power and Targeting: A concerning pattern of power abuse and targeted attacks on licensed service providers has emerged, notably within the chiropractic profession, undermining the integrity of the regulatory system.
  5. Ignoring Serious Complaints: The Chiropractic Board has been accused of neglecting serious complaints, including those of sexual assault, with some allegations being ignored for over 500 days, far exceeding the professional expectation of initiating an investigation within 60 days.
  6. Unregulated Judicial Actions: Senator Shamp criticizes the Chiropractic Board for taking on roles meant for the judicial or legislative branches, without any oversight, raising questions about their motives and long-term viability.
  7. Lack of Transparency and Responsiveness: The Chiropractic Board's failure to attend a crucial Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing and respond to legislative inquiries highlights a troubling pattern of behavior and a lack of transparency.

In response to these pressing issues, Senator Shamp introduced SB1233, a bill aimed at directly addressing these concerns and reinstating the Chiropractic Board's mission to safeguard public interest ethically. The bill, which has received bipartisan support, seeks to correct the Board's failures, ensure the enforcement of laws governing chiropractic practice, and reassert the necessity for allegations of criminal wrongdoing to be reported to the appropriate authorities.

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Senator Shamp's efforts reflect a broader initiative to hold professional licensing boards accountable and ensure they fulfill their mission to protect the public. The introduction of SB1233 and the call for a special investigation into the Chiropractic Board's actions underscore a commitment to legislative reform and the importance of transparency, accountability, and ethical governance.

Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) Calls for Special Investigation

The absence of the Arizona Chiropractic Board's leadership from a critical Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) hearing on February 12th has raised significant concerns about transparency and accountability. The hearing, intended to address the Board's financial discrepancies and overall conduct, was notably ignored by the Board, prompting shock and dismay among legislators, including Senator Janae Shamp, Rep. Matt Gress, and Sen. Sonny Borrelli. Gress, recognized for his fiscal expertise and a former member of the Ducey Administration, expressed his disbelief at the Board's unprecedented decision to skip the JLAC hearing. Similarly, Borrelli, with his experience as the former JLAC chair, echoed these concerns, marking the incident as part of a troubling pattern of unresponsiveness to serious allegations, including sexual assault complaints. This pattern has culminated in the JLAC's decision to endorse a special investigation by the Auditor General into the Board's practices, highlighting the urgent need for oversight and reform within the Chiropractic Board to restore its integrity and commitment to public safety.

The Tight Grip on Arizona's Chiropractic Regulation by Private Corporations and Monopolistic Control

The saga unfolding within the Arizona Board of Chiropractic Examiners, under the chairmanship of Wayne Bennett DC, illustrates a troubling trend in chiropractic education, licensing, and regulation. This scenario is not isolated but is a part of a broader narrative that has seen a concerted effort by a small group of individuals and private corporations to control the chiropractic profession since the 1970s. Wayne Bennett's appointment to the board in August 2019 has only served to spotlight these concerns further, raising questions about monopolistic control and ethical conflicts within the profession.

Wayne Bennett's Involvement and Influence

Wayne Bennett's extensive involvement with key organizations in the chiropractic field, such as the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE), and the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB), has positioned him at the heart of the controversy. Critics argue that Bennett's roles across these organizations promote a move away from traditional chiropractic principles, focusing instead on aligning the profession with broader medical practices and limiting it to musculoskeletal disorder management.

Bennett's leadership has been marked by a push for standards and practices that diverge from chiropractic's foundational principles. This push, supported by the ACA's rebranding and new standards of care, has sparked significant debate within the chiropractic community. Critics point to the shift away from the management of vertebral subluxation and the marginalization of traditional chiropractic practices as evidence of a profession forced to stray from its roots by private corporations that enjoy monopolies via statutory language purposely inserted by lobbying efforts in states over the past 40 years.

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Ethical Concerns and Monopolistic Control

The controversy surrounding Bennett and his affiliations centers on the monopolistic control exerted over the profession by the NBCE, FCLB, and Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), with the ACA's endorsement. This control is said to stifle diversity within the field and emphasize policies that may not align with the broader chiropractic standards and practices. Such standards include the controversial stance on spinal x-rays and the expansion of chiropractic scope to include pharmaceuticals.

The implications of this control extend beyond professional standards to encompass the entire process of chiropractic education, testing, licensing, and practice. Critics have highlighted the ethical implications of having the educational, licensing, and regulatory processes under the control of private corporations that benefit from student loans, state tax dollars, and resources.

The Arizona Response: Universal Recognition and Legislative Action

In response to these challenges, Arizona has made significant changes, including adopting "Universal Recognition" for licensure, which simplifies the process for professionals moving to the state. This pioneering move, enacted through HB 2569, allows individuals licensed in other states to obtain a comparable license in Arizona, provided they meet specific criteria. Unlike most states chiropractors can now gain licensure in Arizona without graduating from a CCE accredited school or program.  

Despite these changes, concerns remain about the potential conflicts of interest and the integrity of chiropractic regulation since NBCE is still named as the only testing organization by which chiropractors can get licensed in the state giving it a monopoly. Bennett is an Examiner for the NBCE and serves as a so called "Delegate" to the NBCE as Chair of the AZ Board.

Similar conflicts exist with Bennet's role as a "Delegate" to the FCLB. In fact, Bennett and the board asserted in a letter sent to Arizona chiropractors that the proposed legislative changes were inconsistent with the FCLB's controversial Model Practice Act which includes broad language regarding scope of practice beyond chiropractic and specifically names the CCE, NBCE and FCLB as the "agencies" defined in the Act to regulate chiropractic education, licensing and practice. The FCLB has inserted itself as the arbiter of chiropractic post graduate education through its PACE program which gives the FCLB widespread control over what is taught in chiropractic CE programs. So draconian are the rules for instructors wanting to be approved by PACE that their freedom of speech is stifled as contractual language restricts speakers from saying anything negative about FCLB as a condition for approval.   

In their letter the Arizona Board also claims, without providing any evidence, that the FCLB's Model Practice Act is a ". . . recognized, authoritative model . . ." and that its "service area" includes all 50 states of the United States. This is not backed up by evidence and in fact the Vermont Board of Chiropractic ceased its involvement with the FCLB in 2023 and is no longer a member. 

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Bennett's claims begs the question: Recognized by who?  

The FCLB's Model Practice Act also calls for broad subpoena powers for state regulatory boards - which is one of the items Senator Shamp's Bill puts a stop to. A reading of the FCLB's Model Practice Act reveals it contains many of the same concerns that the Arizona legislature is trying to put a stop to.

This tangled web of monopolistic control of private corporations and Cartel like behavior endorsed by Bennett and the Board raise questions about the ability of practitioners to operate within a diverse and open professional landscape, free from the influence of a small cohort of individuals and private corporations.

As the situation unfolds, the Arizona case study highlights the need for transparency, diversity, and ethical governance in chiropractic regulation. It serves as a call to action for professionals and legislators alike to ensure that the profession remains true to its principles while protecting the public interest.

As the bill progresses, the hope is that it will serve as a catalyst for positive change, not just within the chiropractic profession but across all professional licensing boards in Arizona. Senator Shamp's advocacy sends a clear message: the time for accountability is now, and the well-being of Arizonans must always come first.

McCoy Press