How did KY chiropractors end up in middle of debate about reopening during pandemic?

Patients signed an online petition, saying why they think Life Without Fear, a chiropractic office in Lexington, should remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Chiropractic care is important for many to remain free,” said one.

“I’m in a crucial time of getting my body adjusted,” said another.

“I do not think it’s in mine or anybody’s best interest to rely on pain medications,” another said. “Please sign to keep chiropractic care opened.”

Kentucky is the only state so far to mandate the closure of chiropractic offices during COVID-19, Annette Bernat, a spokeswoman for the American Chiropractic Association in Arlington, Va., said Friday.

“They should reopen in Kentucky,” said Dr. Mateo Franco with Life Without Fear Chiropractic.

He said he has talked to chiropractors in several hard-hit states on how they are conducting business “and we believe we have the capability to keep our patients and staff safe with the federal guidelines, things such as limiting the amount of people in the office at one time and limiting contact as much as possible, keeping everything sanitized, all those things.”

The more than 1,000 Kentucky chiropractors, health care professionals who focus on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and manipulation of the spine, are trying to reopen their offices.

They are not medical doctors.

Gov. Andy Beshear last month originally asked health care facilities to stop performing all “non-essential” procedures, but the governor said he had to turn his request into an order after some groups thought they should be an exception, including chiropractors.

Beshear said a group of chiropractors had been “exceedingly difficult.”

He stressed that he must do everything he can to limit human-to-human contact as deaths to the virus continue in the state.

Chiropractors looked this week to the state legislature to help them. But this year’s law-making session ended Wednesday without action in the Senate on a coronavirus relief bill that would have put chiropractors back to work.

Beshear took issue with the bill, saying it would ultimately be up to the Kentucky Department of Public Health to determine when things reopen.

Rep. Kevin D. Bratcher, R-Louisville, pushed the legislation. He wrote on his Facebook page Thursday that its demise was “disappointing.”

“Personally, I have never been to a chiropractor but constituents in my district (GE workers, cops, firefighters, nurses) are all pleading to have them open for emergency treatment,” he wrote.

Most people responding to Bratcher’s message agreed but one asked, “Chiropractic services are needed but at what expense? Can they guarantee someone would not be infected by perhaps another patient previously seen? Even my doctor’s offices are not seeing patients.”

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