I have been rear ended six times, broadsided twice, I have been in a rollover crash, I have been hit from all angles, I have been knocked off of a bicycle, I lost a battle with a station wagon as a pedestrian, I have been on 4 ambulance rides (one of which I remember) so when it comes to motor vehicle injuries I am the expert.
As a practitioner, I reached the point where I was frustrated by insurance companies not paying me and I wanted to know what I needed to do to get paid. I took the time and expense to study with several doctors who were teaching personal injury courses and I found that each one had pieces of the picture but none of them had the whole picture. It is for that reason that I set out to develop a program that covered everything a doctor needs to know in order to succeed in personal injury.
The other spark that ignited the fire was when an attorney came to my office with a manilla folder containing about 20 pages of handwritten notes and asked me if I could fix his case. Most of these pages did not even have the patient’s name and none had a signature. In between those two voids was very little of value. His client had lung problems after airbags went off in a crash and he wanted to know if that could cause lung issues. It took all of two minutes on YouTube to find a video that showed how airbags are deployed. Then he wanted to know, could that powder cause lung problems and a minute later I had a list of studies that supported the affirmative of that question.
It was clear that the information was available and all that needed to be done was to bring it together.
The American Academy of Motor Vehicle Injuries was created to fill a need. Overall there have been people who have taught excellent programs about personal injury. These include Arthur Croft and Dan Murphy whose programs had been focused on the mechanism of injury and research. These are two very important parts of the equation but still only parts.
There are plenty of others out there offering certificates for a weekend seminar or watching some videos. While they may offer valuable information, it takes more than attendance to master any subject.
The problem is that no one has devoted enough time toward examination and diagnosis of the injuries that occur in a motor vehicle collision. Many doctors are still working on a simple diagnosis of a whiplash, yet there is no diagnosis code for whiplash. We have multiple codes for the symptoms and the findings associated with a whiplash trauma, but not an ICD-10 code for the whiplash itself.
The original impetus for this program came after I took classes with Frank Liberti on personal injury. Like others I have studies with, Dr. Liberti did devote an hour to diagnosis and examination. Of greater importance was that his documentation system clearly established the need for that. When I asked him to fly to Arizona to present a one-day class for doctors and lawyers, he was eager to do so. Unfortunately, a slip and fall on a tile floor sent him to a brain trauma center the day before I was scheduled to pick him up at the airport.
With people coming from three different states. It was too late to call everyone and an email blast, was going to be insufficient to reach every person who needed to be told. So I put together what slides I had from him and I gave a short presentation with a dozen people who did not get the cancellation message and showed up. Not only did I find that I enjoyed doing so but the people who were there appreciated it.
From there I offered a one day, 12 hour class that was presented two times with 50 doctors attending one and about 75 at the other. I had no delusion that they were coming to hear me speak. It was clear that there was a need for additional information on personal injury. Doctors from other states asked if I could bring the class to them. In an attempt to get CE approval the board in New York, advised me that I needed to be an adjunct professor at a chiropractic college to be approved for credits.
I contacted my alma mater, Life West and during a thirteen hour drive there I was working through a 60 hour program. After the meeting at Life West the drive back started out with a hundred hour program and by the time I had completed the trip the 150 hour program had been created. When I taught the twelve hour class, I made it very clear to students this was only a sampling of what they needed and that I could do a full hour on every hour in this class. Basically that’s what happened with the Certificate in Motor Vehicle Injuries program.
We offer a ten weekend program with a total of 150 hours. Half of that time is devoted to examination and diagnosis. These include two classes on radiology and then three more on spinal, extremity, and cranial nerve exams. Doctors who complete the course work are required to submit recommendation letters from a doctor within their field, a second doctor from a different field and a personal injury attorney before being eligible to take the written test. This test with a pool of over 600 questions covers all the topics covered in the program and establishes a standard for a higher qualified doctor who knows how to diagnose, document and manage a personal injury case.
Our efforts continue to raise the standards in this arena and as of April, 2019 we have the support of the American Chiropractic Association to establish new standards to award a Diploma in Motor Vehicle Injuries. Our efforts are to raise the bar to a standard that will exceed the knowledge and experience of medical doctors who dabble in motor vehicle injuries. We aim to raise the standard so that attorneys who actually practice personally injury will know that these are the doctors they want on their case.