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On October 19, 2016, Travis County District Court Judge Rhonda Hurley signed a final judgment in favor of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) in its latest lawsuit against the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (TBCE). Judge Hurley declared void TBCE rules that permit chiropractors to make medical diagnoses and to perform vestibular-ocular-nystagmus (VON) testing.
Judge Hurley determined that the TBCE rule authorizing certain chiropractors to perform VON testing exceeds the scope of chiropractic as defined by the Texas Legislature. She also determined that the TBCE’s definition of "musculoskeletal system" to include "nerves," its definition of "subluxation complex" as a "neuromusculoskeletal condition," and its use of the term "diagnosis" in its scope of practice rule, all exceed the scope of chiropractic, and are therefore void.
The TBCE’s website states that the Board voted to appeal Judge Hurley’s decision. If her decision is affirmed on appeal, it could have implications in workers’ compensation cases where a chiropractor diagnoses a condition outside their scope of practice to do so.
TMA previously brought another successful lawsuit against the TBCE challenging its rules that permitted chiropractors to perform needle EMG and manipulation under anesthesia. Travis County District Court Judge Stephen Yelenosky declared the rules void because they exceeded the statutory scope of chiropractic practice and, therefore, constituted the unlawful practice of medicine. The Austin Court of Appeals affirmed, in an opinion issued July 6, 2012.
The Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has also brought suit against the TBCE. They seek a declaration that the TBCE rule authorizing chiropractors to perform acupuncture is invalid. That case is presently pending in Travis County District Court.