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:
- Dr. Joe Baudille testified before the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction on February 15, on the current opioid crisis and how chiropractic can help by managing pain without the use of addictive drugs. Dr. Baudille presented both verbal and written testimony that we prepared on behalf of the Council, and took questions from the panel of state senators who were present.
- We are continuing to research and refine our "Patient Health Non-Discrimination Act" bill draft, working with Council leadership. We are hopeful that within one month, we will approach a potential bill sponsor in the state legislature, who will help us convert our "concept bill" into formal bill language, where it can be introduced into the NYS Legislature for official consideration and action.
- We will be meeting with the Workers' Comp Board Chairperson on March 27 to discuss the Medical Treatment Guidelines, the materials we sent WCB over the past year showing how various carriers are not operating in compliance with those guidelines, and other issues involving continuing fee disparity in chiropractic reimbursement. If you have any relevant materials that conclusively show carrier non-compliance with MTG guidelines, please provide them to Barbara in central office prior to the 27th, so we can bring this to the attention of WCB leadership at our meeting.
- We are preparing for Chiropractic Lobby Day in Albany on April 24. The meetings, agenda and other items are being coordinated with NYSCA, who will also be participating that day. Anticipated Lobby Day agenda items will be Scope of Practice, IME Reform, MD/DC Partnership and Patient/Provider Non-Discrimination.
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.