When Scott Calzaretta, DC, got the idea of providing a multidisciplinary approach to chiropractic care in the heart of San Francisco, he didn’t start close to home. It was during the World Championships of Athletics in Rome in 1987 when he realized how important a team approach to treating athletes can be.
“We were the doctors at the host medical facility, and the three of us (Calzaretta, David Pierson, DC, and Don Oyoa, DC) had the longest line of athletes from all over the world waiting to get adjusted,” Calzaretta says. At the time, he was traveling with the Fédération Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport (FICS), a group that organizes teams of doctors and other healthcare providers to treat professional athletes at international sporting events. Calzaretta is also a founding board member of FICS; the federation began in 1987.
The federation “always had multidisciplinary teams,” says Calzaretta, who graduated from Life Chiropractic College East (now Life University) in 1985. He says he was impressed at these teams’ ability to address many athletes’ needs quickly and with seamless communication across specialties.
Calzaretta also cites his experience with the team-based approach used at the 24th Olympic Games in 1988. At that time, he and Pierson had befriended the Korean Olympic team doctor, a renowned neurosurgeon who had invited them to join him in treating some of his patients.
“What happened then was incredible,” Calzaretta says. “In those days, they did CT myelograms to evaluate low-back-injured patients. So in the mornings before the Games, we would go to the hospital where (the Korean neurosurgeon) was the head of the neurosurgical department and treat patients. David Pierson and I started treating the patients who were scheduled for surgery, and over the next two weeks we cleared out his (the neurosurgeon’s) entire low-back-patient surgical schedule.
“I wish this was always the case, but during those two weeks, as demonstrated by pre- and post-CT myelograms (they did post-treatment to see what effect we had on the patients’ disc injuries), we reduced multiple disc herniations/protrusions and the patients were no longer candidates for surgery,” he adds. “It was at that moment that we all realized that we should be a team and manage patients together. As an aside, he (the Korean doctor) sent neurosurgeons to our clinic for the next five years to watch what we did, and eventually he added a chiropractor to his staff.”
Calzaretta says he also gained an appreciation for the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach after serving as a consultant at St. Francis Memorial Hospital’s San Francisco Spine Center. That center didn’t practice multidisciplinary medicine, he explains, and after seeing the advantages of such care working with the FICS, “We thought we could have more success with this approach working in a private clinic. At that time, it was easier to set up a multidisciplinary approach in a private clinic.”
Thus was born Chiro-Medical Group. Today, Calzaretta and Taylor Rabbetz, DC, his partner since 2000, treat nearly 1,000 patients a week by providing access to a variety of therapies and treatments designed to optimize their health and well-being. The practice incorporated in 1994.
“The multidisciplinary approach gives patients the best opportunity to have a successful outcome in their care,” Calzaretta says. He has also served as an Olympic team doctor at past Olympic events and was one of the first chiropractors to complete the American College of Sports Medicine Team Physician program.
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