Mid-Year Convention Updates


Council Advances “Patient Health Care Non-Discrimination Act” in New York


The Council believes that all New Yorkers should have the freedom to seek the treatment and provider of their choosing with respect to their healthcare, if treatment of a given health condition is within a licensed health care provider’s scope of practice. Unfortunately, this has not always been possible in New York for a variety of reasons. To reverse this historical bias against chiropractic and other non-allopathic health care professions, the Council will advance the "Patient Health Care Non-Discrimination Act", as a top legislative priority going forward. 

The Council’s dynamic reform proposal is still in the drafting stage and has not yet been introduced in the legislature. The bill will strengthen existing federal and state laws by prohibiting discrimination against all non-allopathic health care providers in New York, whether through self-funded health care plans or plans fully funded through insurance, thus allowing all New Yorkers equal access to a wide array of beneficial, licensed health care services.

The Council spent many months researching this new legislation and writing a preliminary blueprint, which will serve as a guide when we begin drafting technical bill language and seeking sponsors in the legislature. The blueprint itself is based on current “best practices “– laws enacted and legislation pending from both the federal (the Affordable Care Act’s Section 2706, non-discrimination in healthcare) and state levels (Wisconsin, Washington, Louisiana and Rhode Island non-discrimination laws, among others). 

The Patient Health Care Non-Discrimination Act will likely contain the following key provisions to end the bias against chiropractic and other non-allopathic health care providers in New York: 

A requirement that all healthcare plans provide coverage for services that are within the scope of any licensed health care provider.
A prohibition on fee discrimination.
A prohibition on restricting health care coverage by establishing underwriting, cost containment, utilization review or other performance measures that are not comparable for all licensed health care providers.
A prohibition on an insurer or health plan from circumventing the provisions of the law by creating new reimbursement codes that are not listed in the AMA CPT code book.
A requirement that all healthcare plans include coverage for alternative treatment of pain management that does not involve the use of opioids.
Application to health plans fully funded through insurance and self-funded plans.
Substantial fines and penalties imposed upon parties not complying with the law.

The Council is presently reaching out to NYSCA, the other licensed health care professions, patients’ rights groups, the public and other key organizations who have expressed an interest in advancing this important legislation, as we try to build a large coalition in support of its formal introduction in the legislature, which we will seek later this year. In the meantime, please support our efforts on this important issue, where the Council is taking the lead!

Council Advocates for Chiropractic as a Solution to the Opioid Crisis

As New York continues to struggle from the opioid crisis, the Council continues to take a very public role in advocating how chiropractic can be part of the solution. On February 12th, Dr. John LaMonica submitted testimony before the Senate and Assembly Joint Health Budget Committee on chiropractic as a natural, non-addictive alternative for the treatment of pain. On February 15th, Dr. Joseph Baudille testified for a second time before the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, emphasizing how chiropractic can help alleviate the crisis by managing pain without the use of addictive drugs. We are also attempting to meet with the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the Department of Health to further raise awareness on how chiropractic can be a natural solution to help combat the opioid crisis in New York. We are also monitoring several alternative pain management bills in the legislature. 

Council Meets with New Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Board and Top Staff to Discuss MTG Compliance and IME Reform

Dr. Bryan Ludwig and Council lobbyist Perry Ochacher, along with NYSCA representatives, met with Clarissa M. Rodriguez, the new Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Board on March 27th to discuss the Medical Treatment Guidelines, including follow-up regarding the materials we submitted to the Board detailing how some carriers are not operating in compliance with the guidelines, leading to unjustified treatment denials. We also discussed continuing fee disparity in chiropractic reimbursement and IME reform.  On April 26th, we had a conference call with Board staff to discuss implementation and staffing of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on the Utilization of Independent Medical Examiners, which we fought for and won as part of last year’s state budget. We are now pushing for chiropractic representation on this important Advisory Committee, which is tasked with improving the deeply flawed IME process.

Lobby Day 2018, Scope of Practice Bill and Other Legislative Priorities

Our annual Albany Lobby Day was held on April 24th, where we advocated for the Chiropractic Scope of Practice Modernization (A.8541/S.7427) and Business Partnership bills (A.5807, A.1943/S.4291, S.4125).  We also initiated discussions about our forthcoming Patient Health Care Non-Discrimination Act. Between the Assembly and Senate, we are presently monitoring over 180 different bills that impact chiropractic, paying particular attention to legislation in the following areas: Opioid Crisis/Pain Management; Clinical Peer Review; Preceptorship Tax Credits, Out-of-Network Coverage; Medical Treatment Guidelines; limited “collective bargaining” rights for health care professionals; and childhood immunization, just to name a few. Additionally, we continue to host and attend important political events with key legislators to promote the Council and our legislative agenda. 

The New York Chiropractic Council is committed to fighting for meaningful policy reform in New York such as the Patient Health Care Non-Discrimination Act, but we cannot do this without your support. 

Please stay involved as an active and dues paying member of the Council;
Contribute to ChiroPurpose-PAC, our official Political Action Committee. C-PAC is the political action arm of the profession’s efforts to fight for chiropractic. For our profession to succeed, C-PAC must succeed. To contribute to C-PAC, contact either Dr. Donna DeRosa at dderosadc@aol.com or (914) 320-4568, or Dr. Scott Brunengraber at doctor@smithtownwellness.com-(631) 772-9355.  Alternatively, you can speak directly with either of them over the weekend.  Thank you!

If you have further questions or need any additional information, Council lobbyist Perry Ochacher can be reached at (518) 729-4555, or by email at pmo@stateandbroadway.com.

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MAY 2018

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.



APRIL 2018

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.

MARCH 2018
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!

FEBRUARY 2018

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.

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