In September 2013 – yes, almost two years ago – I posted about Australian chiropractors who were boasting of sneaking into hospitals to perform…erm…well…to perform. They did not have permission to be doing whatever it was they thought they were doing. All of the chiropractors were in clear breach of the Code of Conduct for Chiropractors (6.5).
Only eight days ago I posted again, having uncovered further evidence that it is still happening. One of the chiropractors, among the many, who had escaped any sort of sanction by the regulator, the Chiropractic Board of Australia, was the current president-elect of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia national body, Helen Alevaki. Alevaki had bragged, in 2013, of being the “sneaky” friend who visits “maternity wards around Melbourne”:
Only four days ago Harriet Alexander, in a thorough, damning piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, noted of the CAA:
Its president-elect is Helen Alevaki, who has admitted in a closed Facebook group to paying “sneaky” visits to Melbourne maternity hospitals
In what comes as a bit of a surprise to those of us who follow the exploits of Australian chiropractic – and its regulator, the CBA – news hits us that the CBA has taken action against Alevaki. From Australian Doctor (log-in required):
Two years ago, Ms Alevaki was caught up in controversy after an alleged Facebook brag about how she sneaked into maternity wards to check babies…
Ms Alevaki now has conditions on her registration requiring her to undertake education on professionalism and social media use.
Information suggests that an AHPRA investigation was begun some months ago into Alevaki, with Alevaki’s undertakings now published on the AHPRA Register of Practitioners page. Not just a caution, this time, from the CBA. In full:
Dr Helen Alevaki, registered chiropractor (CHI0001061473) agrees to undertake the following:
1. To attend and complete further education (the education) by way of two one-on-one sessions, within four months of the Board’s approval of the education program. The education must cover the following content:
a. An understanding about how to work as a member of a collaborative, multidisciplinary team and the need for proper coordination of care;
b. Record keeping practices in relation to informal and formal chiropractic treatment, focusing on the importance of recording investigations, findings, working hypothesis and treatment provided for every attendance;
c. Use of social media, with particular reference to the Board’s Social Media Policy.
d. The further education will be conducted with a practitioner (the educator) who has been approved by the Board and Dr Alevaki must meet the Board’s specific requirements in relation to this. The educator is required to:
i. be an experienced registered practitioner, with a minimum of three (3) years’ practice, and
ii. not be in a close collegiate, social or financial relationship with Dr Alevaki.
2. Dr Alevaki is required:
a. To obtain the Board’s approval of the education program prior to the commencement of the education.
b. To provide the educator with a copy of this undertaking prior to the commencement of the education and to advise AHPRA in writing that a copy of the undertaking has been provided to the educator within 14 days of doing so.
c. To commence the education sessions within one (1) month of the Board’s approval of the education program.
d. To provide a report to the Compliance Department at AHPRA within twenty eight (28) days of the date of the completion of the education which covers the following:
i. a written summary of the outcome/lessons learnt from the education sessions, and
ii. a written summary of how she intends to apply this knowledge to her practice.
e. To advise the educator that within twenty eight (28) days of the completion of the education the educator is required to provide a report to the Board stating:
i. the dates the education occurred,
ii. the content of the education sessions, and
iii. whether she has, in the opinion of the educator, satisfactorily participated in and understood the contents of the education and incorporated into her practice any recommendation/s made during the course of the education.
3. Dr Alevaki acknowledges that:
a. The above reports will be relied upon by the Board when determining whether the terms of the undertaking have been complied with. If the Board is not satisfied that the reports demonstrate that the objectives of the education have been met, further education or some other action may be required as determined by the Board.
b. The Board and/or AHPRA may communicate with the educator in relation to her compliance with this undertaking.
c. All costs involved in the provision of this education are her responsibility, including the report(s) to the Board by the educator(s).d. The further education will not be in satisfaction of her Continuing Professional Development requirements.
All of this terrible news for the CAA comes at the time when a new evidence-based chiropractic representative body starts accruing more members with its enticing message: no cranks. As Harriet Alexander wrote in the SMH:
The breakaway group, Chiropractic Australia, claims already to have 1000 members on its books.
Chiropractic Australia president Rod Bonello said his organisation would be premised on chiropractors being non-surgical spinal and musculoskeletal care experts, while the CAA was returning to radical theories such as subluxation.
“Our view is that we shouldn’t be based on some fundamentalist beliefs that originated in the 1800s but we should be evidence-based practitioners, just like every other association in Australia,” Mr Bonello said.
“We are looking to become full players in the health care system, not some marginal alternative group.
Chiropractic Australia endorses the Guidelines for the Control and Prevention of Infection in Healthcare (2010) of the National Health & Medical Research Council, including the recommendations on immunisation for health workers.
Not just for patients and the general community; they are recommending chiropractors get immunised. I’ll say that again: Chiropractic Australia is recommending that chiropractors get immunised. Just like responsible healthcare workers. With all of this talk of immunisation and evidence and things one can see why the CAA is upset.
Indeed, CAA Chief Executive Officer Matthew Fisher even took the extraordinary step of replying to new CA president Rod Bonello on this blog. Mr Fisher hasn’t yet replied to the many questions put to him, including a request for him to explain why two separate fake accounts would comment on my blog post using precisely the same IP addresses as his official CAA CEO IP address:
Thank you for all the info provided about chiropractic. Chiropractic treatment has made a real difference in my life.
Whilst “chiroenthusiast” wrote:
Thank you for all the insight provided to chiropractors, and all the information around chiropractic. You make me proud to be a chiropractor.
I couldn’t find any explanations for this confusion from Mr Fisher in any CAA statements. Anywhere.
Meanwhile the CAA has stated it is standing by Helen Alevaki:
The CAA supports Dr Alevaki in her position as president-elect of the Association
Can anyone imagine any president of any Australian Medical Association, national or state, having conditions, cautions or undertakings on their registration? Yet here we are.
And, for her part, Alevaki seems hardly repentant; nor is she convincing in her statement which is linked on the CAA site:
I’m certain Ms Alevaki just misspoke, or something. After her undertakings have been undertaken we might see another public statement which may acknowledge wrongdoing.
We certainly look forward to further investigations of all chiropractors who have either been caught, or who have admitted to sneaking into hospitals without permission to attend to their customers.
Update July 15 2015
Judging by the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia Constitution, amended October 20 2012 at AGM, Helen Alevaki’s directorship – and not only her presidency – of the CAA is untenable:
8 ORGANISATION AND MANAGEMENT.
8.10 Termination of Director’s Office
A position of Director shall be vacated if a Director:
8.10(g) is found guilty of an offence of professional misconduct or conduct discreditable to the profession