From Dr. Butters: We must focus on political business at home


Butters
David Butters, DC

As many of you have likely noticed, 2016 has been a political season like no other. And although most of the attention has been focused on campaigns for U.S. president, it’s important to remember that as chiropractors, we have very important political business here at home: Elections this fall for Washington State Senate and House seats.

Our hope for success during the 2017 legislative session is directly tied to an abundant continuous flow of resources to effectively contribute to State Senate and House campaigns and House and Senate soft money PACs. We have to maintain our current legislative relationships and build new ones on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle. We must have bipartisan support for our issues!

Your state representatives and senators are making public policy decisions that affect you every day, including access to health care services. We need to ensure that we set the stage now for the 2017 legislative session, by working hard raising money and helping re-elect our chiropractic friends and developing new ones in the November 2016 election.

As I mentioned in my last letter, with the mounting pressure of SICK CARE costs and resulting insurance premium increases. the legislative battles over reimbursement are intense. This creates challenge and opportunity for us. Co-pays often exceed the allowable charge for our services, osteopaths are reimbursed up to 100 percent more for spinal manipulation than we are under a different set of codes that describe the same services, prior authorization requirements that waste time, disrupt care, prevent best practice and best outcomes and ridiculous visit benefit limits. The evidence that we provide best practice, best outcomes, lowest cost and highest patient satisfaction is indisputable (but ignored).

If you have contributed recently and/or are a regular contributor to the WSCT, it is appreciated and makes a difference. If you haven’t contributed, I urge you to do so today. You can click here to make either a one-time or recurring donation online. Or, if you prefer, you can mail your donation to: WSCT, PO Box 2163, Seattle, WA 98111.

Make a one-time contribution: $1000, $500, $250, $100

Sign up for monthly credit card withdrawals: $100, $50, $25 Monthly

— David Butters, DC
WSCT President

Time to fill the chiropractic war chest for November elections


Butters
Dr. Dave Butters

The 2016 session of the Washington State Legislature is over, now it’s all about the 2017 session. No, it’s really about the elections this fall and setting ourselves up to be successful in the 2017 session.

I have been doing this chiropractic political stuff for a long time, but I can’t do any of it without your help. Our hope for success is directly tied to an abundant continuous flow of resources to effectively contribute to State Senate and House campaigns and House and Senate soft money PACs. We have to maintain our current legislative relationships and build new ones on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle. We must have bipartisan support for our issues!

During the short 60-day legislative session, lawmakers were distracted by many priorities – mostly
related to education funding – while we didn’t lose ground we didn’t gain any either. We don’t generally have our best time in short sessions. That’s why it’s extremely important to set the stage for the 2017 five-month session, by working hard raising money and helping re-elect our chiropractic friends and developing new ones in the November 2016 election.

Our Issues of Concern:

With the mounting pressure of SICK CARE costs and resulting insurance premium increases the
legislative battles over reimbursement are intense. This creates challenge and opportunity for us. Copays often exceed the allowable charge for our services, osteopaths are reimbursed up to 100 percent more for spinal manipulation than we are under a different set of codes that describe the same services, prior authorization requirements that waste time, disrupt care, prevent best practice and best outcomes and ridiculous visit benefit limits. The evidence that we provide best practice, best outcomes, lowest cost and highest patient satisfaction is indisputable (but ignored).

If you have contributed recently and/or are a regular contributor to the WSCT, it is appreciated and
makes a difference. If you haven’t contributed, I urge you to do so today.  Just click here to make
either a one-time or recurring donation. Or you can mail your donation to WSCT, PO Box 2163, Seattle, WA 98111.

Make a one-time contribution: $1000, $500, $250 or $100, or sign up for monthly credit card withdrawals of $100, $50 or $25 monthly.

— Dr. Dave Butters, President, Washington State Chiropractic Trust

Chiropractors meet in Olympia for Legislative Day


State chiropractors met in Olympia Feb. 4 for the annul Chiropractic Legislative Day -- a chance to educate state senators and representatives on issues of importance to the chiropractic profession.
State chiropractors met in Olympia Feb. 4 for the annul Chiropractic Legislative Day — a chance to educate state senators and representatives on issues of importance to the chiropractic profession.
Washington State Chiropractic Association lobbyist Lori Grassi updates chiropractors on messages they should be discussing with lawmakers.
Washington State Chiropractic Association lobbyist Lori Grassi updates chiropractors on messages they should be discussing with lawmakers.

Our 2016 Chiropractic Legislative Agenda — and mark your calendar for Legislative Day Feb. 4


Dr. Dave Butters
Dr. Dave Butters

Here is the 2016 Legislative Agenda as approved by the Washington State Chiropractic Trust (WSCT) and the Washington State Chiropractic Association Board (WSCA):

 

Inclusion of Chiropractors in Medicaid for Adults

The spinal manipulation benefits for adult Medicaid recipients in Washington State is limited to 10 visits, but those visits can only be delivered by osteopaths and naturopaths. The WSCA challenged this policy with the Washington State Health Care Authority, the state agency that manages Medicaid eligibility and benefits, and was told that the benefit was not funded adequately to allow chiropractors to deliver the care. This means we need to pass a budget proviso/enhancement to adequately fund the benefit. In a letter to Senator Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) the Health Care Authority projected that in order to add chiropractors to the list of providers to deliver the benefit, it will cost an additional $3.5 million to the state budget. Interestingly, they already claim to provide this benefit but know they won’t actually have to because they won’t let chiropractors provide the service. This gets so old – we know we save the system much greater expense but they always argue add-on cost. We will continue to work on this issue through the session in order to fund a benefit for the underserved and most vulnerable in our state, because we know that we can change clinical outcomes and save costs when chiropractic care is offered.

Fair Pay Protection of Chiropractic Manipulation Codes (CMT)

In our fair-payment legislation several years ago, we protected the evaluation and management, physical medicine and rehabilitation codes. We were not successful protecting the CMT codes because legislators believed that the codes used by osteopaths and naturopaths described significantly different services. In fact, they are the same! We believe that in our discussions with legislators over the physical therapy spinal manipulation bill, we were able convince many legislators that the osteopathic codes describe the same services, and that spinal manipulation however described is spinal manipulation. Whatever you call it, if it has a grade V thrust, it is the same as a CMT and payment for the service should not be higher to other providers. In fact, we know that at least one insurer is paying a minimum of up to 50 percent more for the same service. This is a “heavy lifting” bill so we will need a great deal of grass roots in order to accomplish our goal. Your efforts will help!

Co-Pay Rates

In 2015 we passed many parts of a bill relating to prior-authorization problems with insurers and the networks they hire to manage patient benefits (not effective until 2017). One section of the bill we did not pass regards co-payments that are greater than the fee allowed the provider. In addition, the insurance company is charging the employer a premium for the service. When the patient is paying the entire amount out of pocket, there is no benefit. What’s the extra premium for? These situations are discount plans, not insurance benefits. We will continue to pursue this issue in the 2016 session.

As always, we have a full plate for the upcoming session, and we need your support! If you have contributed recently and/or are a regular contributor to the WSCT, it is appreciated and it makes a difference.

Just click HERE to make either a one-time or recurring donation.

Make a one-time contribution:

$1000, $500, $250, $100

Sign up for monthly credit card withdrawals:

$100, $50, $25 Monthly

P.S. Schedule with your legislators now and attend the 2016 Annual Legislative Day on Thursday, February 4, 2016 in Olympia. We look forward to seeing you all and as usual, you may contact the WSCA office at 206-878-6055 for assistance with your state legislative districts and legislators.

— Dr. Dave Butters, WSCT President