It seems hard to believe that it’s been three months since the end of the 2020 legislative session, and it’s been a while since I’ve provided an update.
I know you can all relate when I say that navigating the weekly, sometimes daily, changing directives in running a chiropractic practice during this COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and time-consuming. Most of us have been working hard to manage and mitigate our losses, which has included applying for the SBA Paycheck Protection and EIDL loans. We’ve been there for our patients who need us! If you have received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, the WSCA is preparing a video with information you need to know about PPP loan forgiveness — getting that process right is important for loan forgiveness. Watch for information coming from the WSCA.
On a positive note, good things have happened and continue to be happening on legislative and administrative fronts. I’m pleased to report that chiropractic and our patients fared well during the 2020 state legislative session. Two important bills passed – one regulating benefit managers and the other regarding prior authorization – and both were signed into law by the governor. The prior authorization law becomes effective June 11, 2020 and the benefit manager bill will be implemented on January 1, 2022. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has taken up our complaints against Kaiser and Aetna regarding unfair payment practices. Thus far, as a result of OIC’s review, Kaiser has recently retroactively made additional payments to chiropractors for previously provided spinal manipulation services; we expect to hear soon in regard to E&M and other services that Kaiser has refused to reimburse chiropractors for. We understand that OIC is still reviewing and communicating with Aetna on these same issues.
Here’s a summary of each bill passed in 2020:
2SSB 5601– Regulating Benefit Managers
Gives OIC regulatory oversight over health care benefit managers. These are entities like Evicore, Tivity, Optum and ASHN, which routinely and arbitrarily deny patients access to their chiropractic benefits with no accountability.
2SSB 5887– Prior Authorization
Provides access to up to six (6) visits of care without prior authorization for each episode to each of the following: a chiropractor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, acupuncturist, massage
2SSB 5887– Prior Authorization
therapist and speech and hearing therapists. Importantly: A new episode is defined as 90 days without treatment for the same condition. The intent of the legislation is to also allow an episode of 6 visits not requiring prior authorization for treatment of a new condition not previously treated, if the patient is currently treating for a different condition.
You can see the full text of both these bills at at this link..
I understand that we’re in very challenging times (strangest in my lifetime). The reality is none of this changes the fact that we have a major election in November 2020 and there are key state House and Senate races up for election. Our continued success depends on our continued involvement in the legislative process. It’s about having friends in the state Legislature who understand and appreciate what we do as chiropractors — every day — to improve the health of our patients. Simple as that!
I also understand that the political division in our country is probably as high as you can get on the Richter scale. Please remember that the Washington State Chiropractic Trust (WSCT) and Washington State Chiropractic Association (WSCA) function as special interest entities for Chiropractic. We are bipartisan, we have members and contributors from both sides and in the middle. We’re about strategic positioning legislatively to win as a profession and for our patients. We have friends on both sides of the aisle.
I invite you to learn more about our legislative efforts by attending a virtual Go2Meeting, presented by WSCA lobbyist Lori Grassi. They are organized by WSCA Legislative District – but anyone is welcome to attend any session. You can earn 1.5 CE credits by attending, but to receive the CE credits, you must register. You can register at www.chirohealth.org/events/event_list.asp
We have the following sessions coming up:
Tuesday, July 21 at noon Central King County
Thursday, July 23 at 10 AM Thurston & South Pierce Counties
Thursday, July 23 at 2 PM Chelan, Kittitas, Eastern Pierce and Eastern King Counties
Your financial support of the WSCT and membership in the WSCA is EVERYTHING! You have and will continue to benefit from EVERYTHING that we do. If you have donated recently and/or are a regular contributor to the WSCT, it is appreciated, and it makes a difference. You can also click on the DONATE button to make either a one-time or recurring donation.And you can become a WSCA member by filling out the membership application at www.chirohealth.org/page/join_wsca.
— Dave Butters, WSCT President