Below please find highlights on some of our priority summer issues:
? Working with NYSCA, we submitted joint comments to the Workers’ Compensation Board on August 6 regarding its proposed changes to the Workers’ Compensation Board Fee Schedule. We will follow-up with a meeting and possibly other political action.
? The Council is engaging in preliminary conversations with the State Senate to secure legislative sponsorship for its “Patient Health Care Non-Discrimination Act”, with an eye towards formal bill introduction later this year.
? We continue to monitor political and legislative developments in the fight against opioid addiction, and continue to prioritize advocating for Chiropractic as a solution to the crisis.
? It has come to our attention that some Council members have received letters from insurance carriers regarding trends in office practice procedures, including maintenance care and x-rays. We are providing information to Council members who choose to respond to these letters, and are working on an appropriate response to the situation, which may involve meeting with the Department of Financial Services (previously the Insurance Department).
The NYS legislature adjourned at the end of June, and state legislators have returned to their home districts to campaign for reelection in November. Here are some of our accomplishments from the past legislative session:
- With formal comments due August 6, we are analyzing proposed changes in the Workers’ Compensation Board Chiropractic fee schedule, and will submit our comments to WCB on behalf of the Council.
- The Council researched and drafted a “Patient Health Care Non-Discrimination Act” legislative blueprint, and we are now reaching out to secure legislative sponsorship and a formal bill draft.
- The Council has made a sustained priority of advocating for Chiropractic as a solution to the opioid crisis, with Dr. John LaMonica submitting testimony to the Senate and Assembly Joint Health Budget Committee and Dr. Joseph Baudille testifying twice before the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction.
- The Council held a successful joint Lobby Day in April with NYSCA, with almost 100 Doctor of Chiropractic attending over 80 meetings with legislators from across the state.
- The Council worked with 13 other allied health care associations in support of our coalition MD partnership bill (S.4123/A.1943), which unfortunately did not advance.
We also advocated on a number of other important bills, including:
- S.6666 Amedore/A.2023-A Bronson - Relates to authorizing the care and treatment of injured employees by duly licensed or certified acupuncturists under the workers' compensation program. We carefully tracked this bill, which will soon be sent to the governor for final action.
- S.9072 Ortt/A.11228 Abinanti - Authorizes summer camps to hire certain licensed professionals to provide services. The Council successfully amended this bill to include chiropractic.
- S.6141-D Golden/A.8123-B Golden - Relates to the admission of unvaccinated students where parents submit a form stating that such vaccinations are contrary to their religious beliefs. The Council supported this bill.
- A.5913 Ortiz/S.4297 LaValle - Regulates the practice of naturopathic medicine. The Council lobbied against this bill, which died in the legislature.
- A.5807 O’Donnell/S.4291 Funke - Permits Doctor of Chiropractic to form limited liability companies. This is one of our priority bills, which unfortunately was held in committee at the request of Assembly Higher Ed Chairwoman Debra Glick, despite our lobbying efforts.
- A.8387-C Pretlow/S.8812-A Akshar - Relates to extending the authority of the WCB to resolve medical bill disputes. The Council expressed concerns with this bill, which was held back from committee consideration at our request.
- A.9834-A Rosenthal - Requires the coverage of alternative treatment options by the medical assistance program and private insurers. The Council amended this bill to include Chiropractic; however, the bill was held back in committee.
The action in the state legislature is heating up in its final month, as elected officials look towards their reelection in November. Here is what we’ve been up to over the past few weeks:
- The Council signed a support letter along with 13 other allied health care associations for our coalition partnership bill (S.4123/A.1943).
- Our Political Action Committee, ChiroPurpose-PAC, held a successful fundraiser this past month for Senator Terrence Murphy, the only state legislator who is a Doctor of Chiropractic!
- We have also been advocating on a number of other important bills, including:
S.6141-D Golden/A.8123-B Golden - Relates to the admission of unvaccinated students where parents submit a form stating that such vaccinations are contrary to their religious beliefs. The Council supports this bill, which has moved in the Senate.
S.1858-B Bonacic/A.3088-B Abinanti - Authorizes summer camps to hire certain licensed professionals to provide services. The Council successfully amended this bill to include chiropractic.
A.5913 Ortiz/S.4297 LaValle - Regulates the practice of naturopathic medicine. The Council expressed concerns with this bill, which was held back in the Assembly.
A.5807 O’Donnell - Permits Doctor of Chiropractic to form limited liability companies. This is one of the Council’s priority bills, which unfortunately was held in committee this week at the request of Chairwoman Debra Glick.
S.8387-B Pretlow - Relates to extending the authority of the board to resolve medical bill disputes. The Council expressed concerns with this bill, which was held back in committee at our request. We are currently analyzing new amendments to this bill.
A.9834-A Rosenthal - Requires the coverage of alternative treatment options by the medical assistance program and private insurers. The Council successfully amended this bill to include Chiropractic; however, the bill was held back in committee.
We had a successful lobby day this past month, with almost 100 Doctors of Chiropractic in Albany, advocating for our legislative priorities and showing support for their profession. Below is an update on Lobby Day 2018, along with some of the other items we spent time working on in April.
Lobby Day was a success and a strong show of support for chiropractic. Almost 100 Doctors of Chiropractic attended over 80 meetings with legislators from across the state, advocating for the MD/DC Partnership Bill, Scope Modernization, and our new "non-discrimination" draft "concept" bill, which is designed to end discrimination against non-allopathic health care providers in New York, and is inspired by federal health care non-discrimination laws, which unfortunately are not being enforced in the states.
Council President Scott Schwager sent to the Workers' Comp Board a strong letter requesting the immediate removal of a WCB Administrative Law Judge who made some biased and outrageous, anti-chiropractic statements while presiding at a hearing. As soon our lobbyist informed us of this ALJ's highly inappropriate and offensive remarks, we demanded that he be removed from his position. WCB is presently investigating this matter at our and NYSCA's request.
The Council successfully amended Assembly Bill No. 9834 specifically to include chiropractic. If you recall from a previous update, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a bill earlier this year, which proposed to mandate that certain providers be included in health insurance plans in order to offer alternative treatment to opioids for pain management. We met with the Assemblywoman, pointed out the omission, explained the benefits of chiropractic care as the logical alternative to drugs for the management of pain, and she quickly amended her bill at our request to include chiropractic.
We had a productive follow-up call with the Workers' Compensation Board on April 26 to discuss implementation of a Council-supported law from last year, which requires the WCB to create an Advisory Council to make recommendations to reform the IME process in Workers' Comp. The Board is soliciting our opinion on improving the process and adopting best practices to make IME's truly "independent" once again, which has long been a Council priority.
For those attending, enjoy the mid-year convention at Turning Stone. We have prepared a more detailed memo on our legislative efforts over the past six months, and we encourage you to read it, which can be found in your packets.
The New York State Legislature passed the $168.3 billion FY 2019 budget by the April 1 deadline. One area lawmakers sought to address in the budget is the opioid crisis. The budget creates an “opioid stewardship” program, which requires opioid manufacturers/distributors to contribute to a $100 million annual fund to defray the costs of prevention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals with a substance abuse disorder. Additionally, over $200 million in state funding has been allocated to address the heroin and opioid crisis, including a $30 million increase in funding for the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to enhance prevention, treatment, and recovery programs; residential service opportunities; and public awareness and education activities. On behalf of the Council, we are also attempting to schedule direct meetings with OASAS and the NYS Department of Health to further raise awareness on how chiropractic can be a natural solution to help combat the opioid crisis in New York.
Other legislative highlights over the past month include:
- ?Dr. Bryan Ludwig and Perry Ochacher met with the new Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) on March 27, to discuss the Medical Treatment Guidelines, including the materials we sent WCB over the past year showing how various carriers are not operating in compliance with these guidelines, as well as other issues involving continuing fee disparity in chiropractic reimbursement, and IME reform.
- ?We are preparing for Chiropractic Lobby Day in Albany as April 24 draws near, when we will meet with legislators to advance our legislative agenda, presently in formation. The meetings, agenda and other items are being coordinated with NYSCA, who will also be participating that day.
- ?We drafted a support memo for a bill (A.6820/S.4611) that would create a tax credit for certain clinicians participating in preceptorship programs, which we support in principle but believe should be extended to cover chiropractic preceptorships as well.
- ?Additionally, we met with Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal regarding her bill (A.9834) requiring insurance coverage of “alternative treatment options” for pain management, where we educated her on the role of chiropractic as the number one drug-free alternative for treating pain and confirmed that her bill includes chiropractic care.
- ?We have completed final revisions of our "Patient Health Non-Discrimination Act" bill draft, working with Council leadership. Our next step is to approach our allies and partners on this bill, as well as potential bill sponsor in the state legislature, who will help us convert our "concept bill" into formal bill language, where it can be introduced in the NYS Legislature for consideration and action.
The state legislature is busy working on the 2018 state budget, which must be finalized by April 1. Thankfully, there are no major budget issues this year that negatively impact chiropractic practice (such as changes to the Workers' Compensation system), but we are nonetheless carefully monitoring the process on behalf of the chiropractic profession. Other highlights over the past month include:
Please stay an active member of the Council, and help us with our legislative efforts!
The 2018 state legislative session has begun, and our lobbyists at State & Broadway are busy in Albany as we plan our 2018 legislative priorities. State & Broadway partner Perry M. Ochacher is the Council's prime contact at State & Broadway. Perry and Council leadership are already at work on several important Council initiatives, which we will report on in further detail as the legislative session progresses. 2018 Council initiatives/priorities include:
- Drafting a "Patient Bill of Rights" that will mandate non-discrimination between health care providers in New York, to enable patients to have more choices in selecting health care options that work best for them. This new bill will also strengthen existing state Insurance Equality laws. We are presently researching and drafting this new and exciting bill.
- Promoting Chiropractic as an Alternative to Opioids. The Council has requested meetings with the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and the Department of Health, to promote chiropractic as a drug-free alternative to opioids in pain management, and as a healing profession that can help address and end the opioid crisis in New York. We will also be testifying before the legislature on February 12 to deliver this important message to key elected officials.
- Reforming the IME process in Worker's Comp and No-Fault. Last year the Council was instrumental in passing a law that requires the establishment of a Workers' Comp Advisory Committee to make recommendations to improve the IME process. This year, the Council will move to secure chiropractic representation on that important Advisory Committee.
- Scope of Practice changes. The Council, working with NYSCA have secured introduction of a new scope of practice bill for the profession. Last year we introduced A. 8541 (Lentol) and we just introduced its companion Senate bill, S.7427 (Lanza).
- Lobbying for DC/MD Partnership Bill. We are still lobbying the Chiropractic business partnership bill, despite stiff opposition.
- Gearing up for annual Lobby Day.On April 24, the Chiropractic profession will visit Albany, to advance our legislative agenda and teach legislators about the benefits of chiropractic.
Stay tuned for developments on these priorities, and more, in future updates.