Don't Allow Chiropractors to Issue Handicapped Parking Placards

Testimony by Sara Austin, MD

House Transportation Subcommittee on Designation and Naming of Roads and Plates
House Bill 126 by Rep. Allen Fletcher

March 10, 2015

Mr. Chairman, members, I am Dr. Sara Austin. I am a practicing neurologist here in Austin, and today I speak on behalf of the nearly 50,000 physician, resident physician, and medical student members of the Texas Medical Association in opposition to House Bill 126, which allows chiropractors to issue disabled parking placards.

Despite the fact that many disabled parking placards are in use today, the determination of who may — or who should — use such a placard truly amounts to a medical determination of significant disability. It seems logical to me as a physician that an individual who might quality for such a determination should be under the ongoing care of a physician licensed to practice medicine.

The Texas Transportation Code says a “mobility problem that substantially impairs a person’s ability to ambulate” means that the person:

  • Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest;
  • Cannot walk without assistance, as with a brace, cane, crutch, another person, or prosthetic device;
  • Cannot walk without a wheelchair or similar device;
  • Is restricted by lung disease;
  • Uses portable oxygen;
  • Has a cardiac condition;
  • Is severely because of an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition;
  • Has a disorder of the foot; or
  • Has another debilitating condition that, in the opinion of a physician, limits or impairs the person’s ability to walk.

The Texas Occupations Code defines the practice of chiropractic as the use of “objective or subjective means to analyze, examine, or evaluate the biomechanical condition of the spine and musculoskeletal system of the human body.”

Mr. Chairman and members, virtually ALL of these requirements specified in the Transportation Code require a medical diagnosis. And the specific conditions noted in the code encompass a range of diagnoses related to cardiac, pulmonary, orthopaedic, and neurological functioning, several or all of which may be present for any given patient.

We believe chiropractors have neither the breadth of education nor the training necessary to make these critical evaluations. A plain reading of their scope of practice leads us to believe that making such determinations does not fall within the statutory definition of their profession.

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Last Updated On

July 26, 2016

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