CAA president-elect Helen Alevaki sanctioned by Chiropractic Board of Australia

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).

CBA 3 CoC 6.5 hospital requirements

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”:

Alevaki 1 sneaks into maternity wards to check babies

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.

And the new body, Chiropractic Australia, isn’t mincing words. Here is their wonderful immunisation policy, in part:

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:

“cleoevie” wrote:

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:

Alevaki 18 statement about sneaking into hospitals

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:


8.10 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

CAA 3 Constituion directorship

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20 Responses to CAA president-elect Helen Alevaki sanctioned by Chiropractic Board of Australia

  1. Ken McLeod says:

    I would like to know who these midwives were. They should face deregistration.

  2. Indigo the Cat says:

    Doesn’t regret her activity, quite plainly. But does regret calling herself “sneaky.”

    She has not made it clear in this letter whether a midwife “Informed about my presence” is also aware of either La Alevaki’s choice of employment, nor reason for attendance. One can assume from the silence on the subject that no midwife was present for the history, examination and back-cracking.

    She’s been called by a midwife? I can’t imagine the pandemonium at midwifery handover when some poor sod lets it slip that they’d called in the chiropractor for attachment issues or somesuch.

    In short, …Tell her she’s dreamin’

    • wzrd1 says:

      One full million midwives could call her, the health care facility still has to give permission for any medical professional or chiropractor to enter, review, diagnose or treat any patient wiidwife? I can’t imagine the pandemonium at midwifery handover when some poor sod lets it slip that they’d called in the chiropractor for attachment issues or somesuch. s.thin that facility. To do otherwise would be to blindly ignore the liability issues inherent with such uncontrolled access to patients.

    • Sue says:

      If midwives told heer only to come during visiting hours, they were clearly viewing her as a visitor, not a therapist.

  3. Her letter is priceless given what she goes on to describe could be the very definition of sneaky.

  4. Sue says:

    The explanation is either dishonest or disingenuous. A registered health care professional with no hospital credentialling cannot walk into an institution and provide care, no matter who asks them to.

  5. Andy says:

    If the treatment was in response to a call from the hospital, then I assume it will be noted on the patient file and probably invoiced to someone, somewhere in or from the hospital. Otherwise, as wzrd1 implies above, there could surely ensue great confusion among medical staff as to why a baby’s condition went into spontaneous remission. This could result in the remission being attributed to something else when all along it was the magic of chiro.

    Meanwhile, the sanction reads like “watch what you say publicly about what you do privately”. Hardly a condemnation of the actions themselves. And the punishment is to have another chiropractor tell you how to act properly. Seriously?

  6. Stephen says:

    A modicum of progress.
    Well done mate.

    What midwife would initiate or support this behaviour? Let’s see them put their hands up if they really exist.

    I agree with your characterisation of an unrepentant tone in that letter.

  7. johnd says:

    So, she will be educated by another woo practitioner about proper woo collaborative procedures, and she will be counselled on social media use, which makes me think this amounts to “don’t tell people about the bad things you do”.

    • wzrd1 says:

      Yep, woo reinforcement (unless the board is being honest and factual, for a change), then a lesson of “Love thy neigbour, but don’t get caught”.
      Most important, never document your breaches of the law and ethics.

  8. Thinking_Chiro says:

    If she does not step down or is not stood down by CAA then CAA is equally culpable! CAA should show some leadership, not make excuses and attempt to defend the indefensible!
    So she ran for the presidency of CAA while this was going on! Facepalm!

  9. Adelaide Chiropractor says:

    8.10(g) is found guilty of an offence of professional misconduct or conduct discreditable to the profession.
    According to the CAA’s own constitution, Helen Alevaki’s directorship/presidency is now untenable. However, It looks like the CAA is determined that Alevaki remains in her position.
    I personally think that the CAA should keep Alevaki as president as she is an accurate representation of the organisation.
    The good news is I no longer have to be embarrassed by the CAA; as I am now a proud member of Chiropractic Australia.

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  13. As a patient I should like to know just why any of you think it is reasonable for professionals to conspire to prevent me from having freedom of access to the practitioners of my choice when I am in hospital?
    The whole agreement that this dispute is based upon is actually a breach of the provisions of the ACCC.
    I would also remind you all that the American Medical Association has lost its capacity to exclude chiropractors from hospitals They were found to be engaging in anticompetitive practices.
    WE all need to be very clear that the majority of the regulations supporting professional licensure actually sabotage the freedom of the patient to choose.
    The whole of the argument being run here is simply one that a small select group of individuals have the right to dictate policies like these to the whole of the professional community and to all of us individual punters.

    • You probably missed the excerpt of the Code of Conduct for Chiropractors which I included at the top of the post

      Chiropractors practice with the legitimacy of being registered health practitioners under AHPRA with that code being an integral part of the regulation.

      Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand. I am furious with my local mechanic who told me I needed new brake pads, at some cost. When he went to lunch I brought my mate – who knows a thing or two about cars, I can tell you – who said this was untrue and that my car would always eventually stop of its own volition regardless of having these so-called “brake pads” fitted.

      My mechanic came back from lunch, into his workshop, where we were deciding that he was in error; and he had the temerity to ask us to leave. I really did not see the need for his anger. Needless to say I won’t be going to see that shill for Big Brake Pad ever again.

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