The Department of Defense Answered Me

After months of waiting and re submitting I finally received an answer from the Department of Defense today. Here’s the story of how it happened, paper trail included. I found the DoD contact site and it is basically a database of previously answered questions (a knowledge base). So I looked through the KB and did not find any reference to my question, so the last option they give you is to ask a question. I did. here it is:

Question Reference #080225-000014

Category Level 1: Department of Defense Category Level 2: Military Healthcare/TRICARE

Date Created: 02/25/2008 02:47 PM The DoD has authorization and has been requested by congress to create a career path for chiropractors in the military. There is a new House Concurrent Resolution 294 renewing this request. What is the reason behind not commissioning chiropractors yet, and is there a plan to do so in the near future?

I think my first mistake was claiming that a career path has been requested. That’s not entirely true. Commissioning chiropractors was mentioned in previous legislation, but the desire to get soldiers the care was the priority. It is also my desire to get soldiers the chiropractic care that they need, and I would be fine if the DoD had actually followed through with their plan to do just that, but the problem is that they haven’t. It also seems simpler to commission chiropractors and send them where ever needed than to try to get civilian DCs to go to a war zone. Anyway, the replies came quickly and repeatedly:

Auto-Response – 02/26/2008 03:26 PM

Auto-Response – 03/24/2008 02:36 AM

Auto-Response – 03/26/2008 07:35 PM

These auto responses were merely KB articles that had nothing to do with my query, but were merely FAQs. I was sent these replies and my question was given a status of Solved. I then updated the query as follows:

03/26/2008 07:35 PM Why was this question marked resolved. I looked through each of these auto-response articles, and none of them had anything to do with commissioning chiropractors in the military. I repeat the question, What is the reason behind not commissioning chiropractors yet, and is there a plan?

This update was followed by:

Auto-Response – 03/27/2008 03:11 PM

Auto-Response – 04/04/2008 05:22 PM

To which I responded:

04/04/2008 05:22 PM The auto response is always the same, and does not relate to my question. Please respond.

I got back:

Auto-Response – 04/07/2008 10:09 AM

Auto-Response – 04/07/2008 10:32 AM

You may have guessed I was getting sick of this and resolved to just keep checking the status and not do anything unless they tried to mark it resolved again. My patience paid off. Today, I was rewarded with this (emphasis added):

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Defense…

…We are the Office of Public Communication, a part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs…

…Response (jclark) – 05/06/2008 02:30 PM

Dear Chris Duncan:

Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to contact the Department of Defense.

We apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail. We appreciate your e-mail and thank you for your interest.

We’ve tried to find a definitive answer to this query but the unofficial word is there are no plans to make a career field for chiropractors because the services are able to supply the service through civilian practitioners. The understanding is that Congress only required the service, not to put chiropractors in uniform.

The Office of Public Communication

USARCENT image

OK! So the official, unofficial answer is basically, we’re not gonna do it. My knee jerk reaction was to yell at someone, “If the Services are supplying chiropractic then why are soldiers still coming to me paying out of pocket to see a chiropractor and telling me they can’t utilize the TRICARE benefit?” The answer is that only around 40 of the over 200 military treatment facilities provide “the service.” You know that service that was guaranteed to them years ago. The nearest site for the soldiers returning to my area to be treated is in Colorado, and I’m in Utah.

That was my knee jerk reaction. After having thought about it for a little while I decided just to take action instead of being angry. It’s OK that I’m passionate about providing for the troops, but being angry doesn’t help anyone. So, here’s what I did. I gave a copy of the email to www.commissionchiropractors.com and now I’m blogging about it. Hopefully I will get others to read this blog and do something about it. Try visiting that site, look at some of the information, and help out if you can.

I’m an Army brat that would love to serve my country in my current profession, but I’m not allowed to serve those who I think need it the most. Please help out.

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