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Posted on 03-09-2017

The More I Practice...

March 7 marked the third CCA Leg Con, since I came to CCA and maybe it’s a product of my generally positive and optimistic attitude, but I think it was even better than the last two.  Maybe practice is making perfect; the event unfolded with panache and rolled on throughout the day seemingly flawlessly. The turnout of doctors and students was phenomenal.  Over a hundred doctors and dozens of students came to the Capitol to lobby on behalf of chiropractic. 

Focused and engaged on the issues, we had spirited conversations about our policy challenges and honed our arguments to their most essential and persuasive cores.  But before we engaged in the venerable tradition of advocacy, we enjoyed the company of numerous legislators at our morning reception.

Many legislators took time out of their busy schedules to join our doctors and students at our Morning Coffee Rise & Shine breakfast and/or our Afternoon It's A Wrap social. We learned of their legislative proposals, personal interests, and backgrounds and shared our policy agenda in a congenial and constructive environment. Many were new to the legislature and adjusting to a life away from their spouses and children. This is always a challenge for new legislators and a significant sacrifice, especially for those with young children. 

Senator Toni Atkins Assembly Member Rocky Chavez Assembly Member Kansen Chu Assembly Member Jim Cooper
Assembly Member Mike Gipson Assembly Member Ash Kalra Assembly Member Tom Lackey Assembly Member Devon Mathis

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the small, seemingly normal life experiences we had an opportunity to share with legislators and each other at Leg Con. In a political atmosphere seemingly rife with conflict and acrimony, making connections on such a simple level opens doors to our understanding of each other.  In so doing, we open channels of considered conversation that leads to fair and equitable treatment.

Having chiropractic treated fairly and equitably is a major goal for the profession and we all know the adage, “a journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.”  We’ve made much more than a single step on this journey and every Leg Con is a GIANT step for chiropractic!

Our illustrious President, Dr. Leslie Hewitt launched the conference with a rousing discourse on chiropractic that included a recounting of her dinner with the President of CMA the night before.  Dinner between the two presidents will now be a monthly occurrence.  What a wonderful opportunity for genteel dialogue between our professions.  Clearly Dr. Hewitt is carrying on the tradition of our Presidents reaching out to build relationships with other health care providers.  Many of you will recall Dr. Brian Stenzler building a mutually beneficial rapport with the President of the Naturopathic Doctors Association.  Please take a moment, when you can, to thank our presidents for acting so presidential and being such effective leaders. 

Speaking of leaders, we should also take a moment to thank Dr. Heather Dehn, Chair of the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, who attended Leg Con and brought public board member, Frank Ruffino, and Executive Director, Robert Puleo to our august event.  BCE is integral to the health of our profession and a strong relationship between our organizations can only translate into a robust environment for chiropractic to thrive in California.

Once we launched the CE portion of our agenda things really got fun.  As our venerable and charismatic Chair of the Legislative Action Committee, Dr. David Paris, our comprehensively connected lobbyist, Monica Miller, and yours truly began going over our policy agenda our doctors and students jumped into the conversation with verve and vigor.

It was an invigorating exchange of knowledge, ideas and opinions that not only prepared us for the lobbying ahead, but connected the entire room to each of us.  I must say I LOVE this level of engagement demonstrated by our members.  Leg Con brings the cream of the crop to the capitol.  Our most dedicated, devoted, and dynamic doctors and students were clearly prepared to represent chiropractic with dignity and distinction.

But we weren’t releasing them to their appointed conversations at the Capitol yet. They had yet one more opportunity to demonstrate their ardor for chiropractic.  During the lunch portion of the agenda we had a flurry of doctors, students and CCA districts step up for chiropractic like I’ve never seen before.

Dr. Lance Casazza, a Sponsor of LegCon, presented a check for $2,500 to our political action committee.  He also vowed to write another check in the same amount if twenty DCs or students attended the Re-Connect seminar by Dr. Ward's Innate Legacy in Sacramento June 8-10. If that happens, Dr. Ward pledged to also write another $2500 check to our PAC! We thank you Dr. Casazza for your undying support of CCA and the profession. For more information on Dr. Ward and his coaching team, click here! 

But this was only the beginning...  Dr. Adam Del Torto presented a check to the PAC for $600 as part of his ongoing commitment that for every DC that attends any of his Cranial Facial Release seminars, a portion of their attendance fee will be donated to our PAC. Dr. Del Torto declared this would be the case in perpetuity! 

The San Diego CCA district then pitched in $1,000 and challenged other districts to do likewise, offering to match up to $2,000 in district contributions. Several districts quickly made significant contributions. Many thanks to these CCA districts for taking and squashing the challenge: Contra Costa District, North Bay, San Mateo, San Fernando, and Santa Monica District.

Dr. Stenzler was the Master of Ceremonies for this portion of our lunch agenda, and he was phenomenal in exhorting our membership to support the PAC.  He recruited numerous members to join the PAC 500 club (for individuals donating $500 or more.) 500 Club members receive special perks and privileges for their generosity. 

Throughout all this activity our Associate Director of Governmental Affairs, Michelle Bancroft, managed our new online fundraising platform that showed in real time how much PAC money was being raised, and who was contributing. Using nothing more than their cell phones, students and doctors were contributing to the PAC in historic numbers.

As if Dr. Casazza hadn’t already done enough, he offered to personally visit any doctor’s practice and provide his motivational services to any doctor who signed up to donate $100 a month to the PAC.  Immediately, doctors stepped up to accept the offer.  Dr. Stenzler then reminded all that Leg Con was free this year and the $50 deposit to hold their spot could easily be donated to the PAC and again numerous doctors stepped up to contribute.

Our initial goal was to raise $10,000, twice the highest amount of any previous efforts at Leg Con.  At the end of the day we’d doubled our goal! As you know, we invested over half a million dollars of PAC funds in the past election cycle successfully.  Five of the seven races we weighed in on heavily resulted in the victory of our candidate. 

It’s imperative we replenish our PAC so that we are able to engage at such a meaningful level in the next cycle.  We’re political players in this field now and we should do everything possible to sustain this image.  Clearly, our Leg Con attendees understood this dynamic and stepped up impressively.  We must continue this trend.  I encourage all our members and non-members to visit www.calchirogive.org and donate to the campaign you want to support.  We’ve demonstrated we know how to use your generous contributions successfully and we need to continue our efforts on behalf of chiropractic.

By the time the afternoon rolled around and we headed over to the Capitol everyone was psyched, prepared and confident.  Initial feedback from our lobbying has reflected a legislative body open our policy concerns.  For example,  in one of the meetings I attended after nearly thirty minutes of conversation about a variety non-policy related topics which included getting advice on running for office (one of our doctors is contemplating such an endeavor), the legislator brought up the topic of third party administrators unbidden.  When our doctors and students shared our concerns with the legislator he offered to help our coalition efforts to reform TPAs. Score!!!

Another doctor, Dr. Glenn Johnson told me that SCUHS now has a two year program for physician assistants.  He told me that he teaches the PAs to be qualified to give pre-participation sports physicals.  He made the observation it would be great lobbying for SB 746 (Portantino).  When I took his advice in one of the meetings I had the look on the legislator’s face was priceless.

We expect a vigorous year of chiropractic advocacy. Leg Con was a remarkable launching of this effort.  It seems our luck may be changing as we provide increasingly powerful evidence of the efficacy of chiropractic using increasingly inspired and prepared advocate doctors and students.  As arguably the best golfer in the history of that sport once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” 

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print, and some that probably isn’t…for now.

Want to respond to what you just read? Just look below for the comment box. I encourage your feedback and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

2017 California Chiropractic Association. All rights reserved. Please do not disseminate in part or whole without prior permission. Questions or permission to disseminate? Contact Cris Forsyth at cforsyth@calchiro.org.

Steve Whitelaw DC said:

Thanks for the great article and news.

2017-03-11 22:32:18

john emerzian said:

great piece you wrote about the legislative unity from our profession ... knowledge is power!!

2017-03-13 07:25:32

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