Dr. Dave Butters

The Washington State Chiropractic Trust is on a mission: To promote and protect patient access to chiropractic care. And our work is more important than ever, as the chiropractic profession has been under attack lately on multiple fronts.

We have compiled the detailed information below because we believe that knowledge is power.  You need to know what the challenges are, and you need to see how we – in conjunction with the Washington State Chiropractic Association – are responding.

Here is a list of the issues we are focused on, with accompany documentation enclosed.  It’s important for every member of our Washington state profession to read these documents, and then act accordingly. (Specific steps on how you individually can make a true difference in protecting our profession and our patients are included at the end of this message.)

  • We responded to the Washington Medical Commission’s attempted “grab” at spinal manipulation in MD Scope of Practice. The WSCT and the WSCA learned Nov. 12 that the Washington Medical Commission introduced an Interpretive Statement to ignore the two statutory prohibitions on a medical doctor’s ability to perform spinal manipulation. These prohibitions are found in both the Chiropractic and Medical Practice Acts within the Revised Code of Washington. After hearing protests from both the Washington State Chiropractic Association and the Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission, the medical commission backed down and withdrew — for now. But they made it clear that they would work with their staff and have a new draft for their January meeting. (Details of our efforts to fight this “grab” are here.)
  • We provided public comment on needed changes to Washington Health Benefit Exchange Draft Standard Plans for Cascade Care. Our comment outlines recommended changes to coverage in Cascade Care, the so-called “public option” approved by the state Legislature. In our comments, we stress the importance of ensuring chiropractic access and benefit limits are at least equal to those provided for PT/OT, and that appropriate constraints are provided for insurance pre-authorizations. We also point out how chiropractic care addresses the Legislature’s stated concern about providing nonpharmacological pain management alternatives in light of the opioid crisis. (Read more in the Cascade Care public comment here.)
  • We provided public comment on the Apple Health Nonpharmacologic Pain Treatment Coverage Draft Report to the Legislature. Our comment points out key areas for reconsideration, improvement and clarification in the report regarding chiropractic care, including system-wide fiscal savings offered by chiropractic care, the role of chiropractic as an integrated health care profession, and the benefit structure included in the Apple Health coverage.  (Read more in the Apple Health public comment here.)
  • We have been working since November 2018 with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to address the unfair practice of Kaiser Permanente and their refusal to pay chiropractors for Evaluation and Management (E&M) Services. In July 2019, we learned that Aetna was acting in the same manner. We are continuing to advocate for the chiropractic profession and our patients as the OIC works through the legal documents related to this issue. (Read more in the OIC and Kaiser/Aetna Nonpayment of E&M Services summary here.)
  • We have researched and are seeking clarification with the Veterans Administration — on behalf of state chiropractors – that doctors can still contract directly with TriWest to treat military veterans rather than going through EmpowerChiro. (Read more in the EmpowerChiro Contracting for Veteran Services letter here.)
  • Here’s a link to our 2020 Legislative Agenda, which includes issues of critical importance to our profession – some of which are mentioned above. They include:
    • Regulating Benefit Managers
    • Correcting Prior Authorization bill regarding “Episode of Care”
    • Making DC education loan repayment program permanent
    • Creating chiropractic access for Adult Medicaid recipients
    • Blocking the MD request to remove prohibition on spinal manipulation
    • Blocking PT from modifying spinal manipulation endorsement agreement

It’s time to become engaged in protecting your profession and your patients.  Resolve after the holidays to engage with members of your state legislative delegation, as they will be considering many of these issues during the upcoming session, which starts Jan. 13, 2020. All chiropractors should plan to attend our annual state Legislative Day, this year on Thursday, Jan. 30. We’ll meet at 8 a.m. in the Capitol Building Rotunda. It’s key that you schedule appointments to meet with your legislators after our 8 a.m. meeting. You can find a list of your legislators at https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/.

Contact the WSCA office at 206-878-6055 to RSVP for Legislative Day and for assistance in making your appointments. A large turnout of doctors in Olympia Jan. 30 is key to showing our strength to legislators who will be deciding these issues on our behalf!

We also need your financial support! If you have contributed recently and/or are a regular contributor to the WSCT, it is appreciated, and it makes a difference. Click here to make either a one-time or recurring donation. Or you can mail your donation to the WSCT, PO Box 2163, Seattle, WA 98111

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

P.S. It’s critically important that every member of our profession join the WSCA, they work tirelessly and jointly with the WSCT to advocate for Doctors of Chiropractic in Washington State and to move all of our issues forward. You can join online at www.chirohealth.org/page/join_wsca.

— By Dr. Dave Butters

President, Washington State Chiropractic Trust
Legislative Director, Washington State Chirorpactic Assocation