The Associazione Italiana Chiropratici (AIC) has announced that 17 years after the presentation of the first law proposal for professional recognition, on December 21, 2007, chiropractic was recognized by the Italian Parliament as a primary health care profession. For more than three decades, the AIC has led a determined struggle to secure this vitally important legal recognition for chiropractic, in the face of equally determine medical opposition.
After years of unsuccessful attempts at professional recognition, an amendment concerning
chiropractic, inserted into the annual budget law, finally opened the door of Italy’s nationalized healthcare system to Doctors of Chiropractic. In a country that has the highest ratio of MDs to patients in the world (roughly 400,000 medical doctors and orthodontists in a population of less than 57,000,000) and boasts less than 300 chiropractors, this was certainly no easy feat.
“The entire world of chiropractic salutes the Associazione Italiana Chiropratici on this historic milestone for chiropractic,” said ICA President Dr. John Maltby. “We at the ICA deeply respect and appreciate the efforts of all involved and offer our most sincere congratulations.”
According to the official AIC news release: “The amendment was presented by Senator Luigi Lusi from the Margherita party of the majority, who almost single-handedly guided it out of the Senate’s Budget Committee and assured its acceptance by the Senate itself. In the Camera, which is the lower house of Italy’s bi-cameral Parliament, the amendment’s passage was the target of an extensive lobbying attack on the part of the Italian Medical Association, who was trying to monopolize non-conventional medicine through their own legislation, and the Italian Health Minister who was opposed to recognizing chiropractic as a primary contact profession.
The AIC responded blow by blow with its own lobbying efforts through the bi-partisan support of several parliamentarians favorable to chiropractic, and again, Senator Lusi was indomitable in his untiring support of chiropractic by explaining the cost-effectiveness advantages to his colleagues in the House Budget Committee, convincing them that chiropractic was a good investment for Italy’s financially burdened healthcare system.
The opposition parties were effectively contacted and motivated by the Deputy, On. Manuela Di Centa, from the opposition party, Forza Italia, and this collaboration between majority and opposition Parliamentarians proved to be the winning combination that enabled chiropractic to overcome the resistance of the medical lobby and navigate its way through the insidious risks present in the Italian Parliament.
When Senator Lusi presented us with this opportunity, the AIC organized an impromptu lobbying center in Rome connected in real time with the secretaries at the AIC headquarters in Genoa, to coordinate and promote the passage of this amendment. We all worked hard to arrive at this result, but the real difference between this successful campaign and the many failed attempts of the past lies in the commitment demonstrated by Senators Lusi and On. Di Centa.
Senator Lusi was motivated by his personal knowledge of the merits of chiropractic, being the husband and patient of one of our colleagues in the AIC, while On. Manuela Di Centa is an ex-world champion of cross country skiing, whose career was helped and prolonged by chiropractic and who openly declared her desire to repay this positive experience with chiropractic by helping to recognize the profession in Italy.”
“Our colleagues in Italy can now move forward to build chiropractic to even greater levels in Italy with official recognition having been secured. Their efforts have added significantly to making chiropractic a truly global profession,” said Dr. Maltby.
Visit the Associazione Italiana Chiropratici (http://www.chiropratica.it/home_ita.html – in Italian) for more information about Chiropractic in Italy. Visit the International Chiropractors Association (http://www.chiropractic.org) for more information about this US-based organization.