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Advance Your Rehab Diplomate: Add a Medicolegal Subspecialty

Leanne N. Cupon, DC, DACRB, DABFP

You have to agree that within our rehab diplomate core requirements, there is a paucity of advanced education in forensics (the application of medical facts to legal issues and/or proceedings).

The forensics syllabus was formulated prior to 2000 and there was a concerted effort not to reinvent educational requirements that had been transcripted through recognized diplomate programs, but rather to utilize those hours (advanced standing toward core requirements) and to supplement where appropriate.  Advanced (rehab) standing, completion of forensic educational requirements (only 136 hours; most online at and passing the forensics‑specific examination lead to certification as a forensic professional (DABFP).

An example of forensic certification would be as follows: Since you are a DACRB, you would identify yourself as a forensic professional concentrating in rehabilitation in legal matters.

Forensic training focuses on areas that enhance the diplomate’s ability to increase revenue sources through knowledge, training, skill and experience in Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE); disability determination systems or programs, impairment rating systems, independent medical examinations (IMEs), functional (work) capacity and physical assessment (Federal) systems, return to work and fitness for duty (DOT) assessment, fraud and abuse investigation, compliance issues, post payment audits, ethics issues, documentation formulation, informed consent and/or expert witness activities.

Council on Forensic Sciences (CFS) endorses the Objective Scientists Model for forensic examination, expert evidence based on the Reference Manual of Scientific Evidence, the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners’ protocol for IMEs, the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment 4th‑6th editions for impairment ratings, the National Association for Disability Evaluating Professionals’ (NADEP) and CFS protocol for Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), and the professional policies of the American College of Medical Quality (ACMQ) and the American Chiropractic Association.

Membership in the ACA Council of Forensic Sciences is open to all ACA members interested in learning more about medicolegal issues.

For more information on CFS, visit or contact Leanne Cupon, DC, DACRB at (770) 740‑1999 or

For information on the forensics diplomate program (DABFP), contact Steve Baker, DC, at (520) 323‑2888 or

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