Are Chiropractors Physicians?

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Physician is a term which generally means a doctor trained to diagnose and treat human diseases and not anatomically limited. Thus by this definition a Medical doctor, Osteopath (in the US) and a Chiropractor are all physicians. However, effective July 1, 2009, the Joint Commission which is the basis of all HOSPITAL policy throughout the US, [1] has changed its statutes to specify that Doctors of Medicine ( Allopaths), Osteopathy, Podiatry, OD's Optometry and Chiropractic are physicians.

The term is a word regulated by Federal and individual State laws, [2] thus legislation, not by professional associations, or by State medical licensing boards; in the same way that "bank" or "university" are regulated terms. Pursuant to US Federal Law, any doctor receiving medicare benefits is defined as a "physician". Infamous exceptions to this rule include California and New York.

Of course, when it must be remembered that e.g. New York was the 49th State to grant licensing to Chiropractors, (only lagging behind Louisiana) and at that time, fully one third of the membership of the AMA was in New York.[citation needed]


  1. "Definition of "physician" changes for hospital program" (.pdf). JCAOH Online. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. June 2009. Retrieved 08-09-2010. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)