Almost two years ago I published evidence that many chiropractors were sneaking into hospitals, without permission, to check, adjust and/or manipulate their customers.
Last week we were informed that a notification had been lodged against Ms Helen Alevaki, the president-elect of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia; and that Alevaki had been investigated by AHPRA; and that she had agreed to undertakings imposed on her by the Chiropractic Board of Australia.
Australian Doctor reported, on July 16 2015, that Alevaki had rejected claims that her position as a board member was untenable, as per the CAA Consitiution 8.10(g). From Tessa Hoffman in Australian Doctor:
The next head of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia has admitted she was “wrong” to brag on social media about sneaking into hospitals to treat babies.
But Helen Alevaki (pictured) has dismissed claims her actions, which led to sanctions by AHPRA, leave her unfit to lead the profession’s peak body.
Ms Alevaki’s brag about being a “sneaky friend” who made clandestine visits to maternity wards on a private Facebook page was investigated by the Chiropractic Board of Australia, and as a result she agreed to undertake further education on professionalism and social media use…
Health blogger Reasonablehank, who outed Ms Alevaki in 2013 along with several other chiropractors who also claimed to have made secret hospital visits, said the admission makes Ms Alevaki’s position as president-elect “untenable”.
But the Melbourne chiropractor rejected this, claiming her experience will actually see her better placed to lead.
“[I will] take the learnings I’ve made through my error to … educate other chiropractors and other allied health practitioners who don’t work within the public healthcare space.”
She said the issue did not arise during discussion over her election.
“I think I’m very well-qualified for the position of national president.”
Before we continue there are two major points we need to address at a later date. And, by “we”, I mean AHPRA, the Chiropractic Board of Australia and the CAA.
1. the issue of Alevaki sneaking into maternity wards was not raised during her election campaign. These are issues which first became public in September 2013. The Alevaki ticket’s campaign went for months, as did the opposing Joe Ierano ticket. She was vocally backed in by Tim Shakespeare. The CAA was unconcerned by all of this. From my October 2014 post in which I first addressed the problems already inherent in the Alevaki tilt for CAA presidency:
…a flyer was posted out by the Alevaki team. It included many names who were willing to back her ticket, in writing: of the 42 names, 20 have appeared in the pages of my blog, either due to anti-vaccinationism, or sneaking into hospitals, or both. That is really bad. Included in that list are former CAA National and NSW board members, Tony Croke, Nimrod Weiner, and Shakespeare. All three had their terms ended prematurely.
Of Alevaki’s three running mates only Patrick Sim has featured in my blog, for anti-vaccinationism.
2. I am not aware of any other chiropractor facing investigation for practising in hospitals without permission, despite the clear evidence being published in September 2013. Again, this is almost two years ago.
Today it has been announced that Helen Alevaki has tendered her resignation as the president-elect – to current president Laurie Tassell – and that the CAA board has accepted her resignation. Transcript from ABC Radio’s The World Today (includes audio):
KIM LANDERS: The Chiropractors Association of Australia is in turmoil with the resignation of its president-elect over an unauthorised visit to a maternity hospital.
Dr Helen Alevaki reportedly used a closed Facebook group to reveal that she had made quote “sneaky” visits to a Melbourne maternity hospital to perform treatment on a baby.
The name of the hospital has not been disclosed.
Dr Alevaki has been under investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) but is being allowed to continue to practice.
Nance Haxton reports.
NANCE HAXTON: The resignation of Dr Helen Alevaki means the Chiropractors Association of Australia has lost its board director and its president-elect.
The association’s CEO Dr Matthew Fisher says the current president accepted her resignation in the wake of a recent investigation by the health regulator into her conduct.
MATTHEW FISHER: Well, there was a complaint heard by the health regulator with regard to a statement that Dr Alevaki had made about entering a hospital on the request of a parent to provide some treatment to a child. And, this was heard by AHPRA and subsequently some undertakings were made for Dr Alevaki with regard to continuing professional development and what that has meant is that, in accordance with our constitution, she’s unable to continue as the director and she has made the decision to resign.
NANCE HAXTON: So is that because of concerns of entering the hospital without the permission of the hospital?
MATTHEW FISHER: That’s probably the basis of the matter. The fact that, to provide services within a healthcare facility, you need to be credentialed even if you do have permission, so in fact – and Dr Alevaki has admitted this.
So, the CAA is back where they started. They are again without a president. They were acutely aware of the problems inherent in the Alevaki ticket’s bid for board positions. They ignored all of these concerns.
I would argue that these concerns were ignored due to ideological reasons first and foremost: the Ierano ticket was not fundamentalist and reactionary enough; Ierano and his ticket had been using the dreaded “E” word – Evidence. There was not enough subluxation in Ierano‘s kit and so the subluxationist ticket won.
And with the subluxationist win came the concomitant, yet discreet, anti-vaccinationist welcome mat. The National and State CAA boards are still littered with anti-vaccinationists – as is the largest Australian chiropractic research organisation, the Australian Spinal Research Foundation – much to the disgust of public health advocates around the nation. The now-ex-president-elect of the CAA, remember, is a member of the anti-vaccinationist, crackpot US organisation, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) as well as the ASRF. This was all common knowledge:
If you really want to do your head in, here is a list of 172 more Australian chiropractors listed as members of that anti-vaccine chiropractic paediatric organisation. And don’t forget how many CAA members are/were members of the thoroughly disreputable anti-vaccine organisation, the Australian Vaccination Network.
I think Australian chiropractic just dodged a public health bullet with Alevaki’s resignation. Let’s see if they learned anything. Judging by the growing Australian membership of the ICPA I doubt it. And judging by the continued hubris of the subluxationist/vitalist wing of chiropractic I doubt it even more.
Chiropractors: if you want moderate, reasoned representation, go and join Chiropractic Australia and stand by their ideals. The future of your profession is in their steady hands.