OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Kansas chiropractors pledged their commitment to service members in a community covenant signing here Oct. 15 at the 100th anniversary celebration and fall convention of the Kansas Chiropractic Association.
The Congress of Chiropractic State Associations signed the first Army Community Covenant in November 2010 at the national convention, and 11 state associations have since signed covenants with Kansas being the latest.
"The Army is where it's starting," said Dr. Jerry DeGrado, a chiropractor from Wichita, Kan.
COCSA is the first professional association to sign a covenant, and this is being used as a template, DeGrado said.
Service members report traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress and musculoskeletal injuries as primary ailments from their combat tours, according to DeGrado.
"Chiropractors are uniquely qualified to deal with those," DeGrado said.
The main pledge in the covenant is for chiropractors to take free continuing education units to learn how to treat service members, eventually become certified with the Healing Hands for Heroes project.
There are seven online courses to get certified, and then the chiropractor is added to a national website service members can search to find a Healing Hands for Heroes-certified chiropractor near their zip code. Certified chiropractors also receive posters and other marketing materials for their practice to show they are certified.
"It's about the readiness of our troops and cost effectiveness of care," DeGrado said.
Each chiropractor can choose to provide treatment to service members free of charge for a period after they return from a deployment if they choose, since TRICARE does not cover chiropractic care for Soldiers who are in remote locations away from a military installation that provides chiropractic care only to Active Duty Soldiers.
"I dream of the day when TRICARE covers all of our services--and that will happen," DeGrado said.
Army OneSource reached out to the communities to see if they could help Soldiers, especially Reserve and National Guard who live in rural areas without convenient access to a military installation or Veterans Administration facility, said Lindsey Lowe, community support coordinator for Army OneSource.
The community covenants between the Army and chiropractors began with Dr. Kate Rufolo who is president of COCSA and a military spouse.
"Thank you for leading by example. This sort of partnership is very important, especially to the Reserve and National Guard. Your outreach, partnership and collaboration will take us to the next level," said Retired Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead, a spokesperson and supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
Dr. Paul Brackeen, a chiropractor in Derby, Kan., and Maj. Jennifer Glidewell, chief of the Department of Primary Care and Community Medicine for Fort Riley Medical Department Activity, signed the covenant to conclude the ceremony.
"It's the right thing to do," DeGrado said.
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