The 2021 session of the Washington State Legislature opened Jan. 11, and although it will operate remotely this year due to COVID-19, we are committed to monitoring issues that matter to the chiropractic profession.
The Legislature’s remote format presents many challenges to our efforts this year to champion pro-chiropractic legislation. There will be no face-to-face meetings with legislators on campus, no in-person hearings and no way to learn about stakeholder engagement in the normal manner, by talking to each other.
I encourage you to reach out to your legislators now. You can find your state legislator at this link: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder. Talk to them about any issue that may be impacting your district (transportation, taxes, health care, agriculture). Tell them you are a chiropractor and ask them to please inform and discuss with you any issues that may come up during the session that might impact your profession and your patients.
Also ask your legislators about the best way to reach out to them during the legislative session-do they prefer you call them, email them, or text them? If text, get their number.
As we navigate the challenges of this remote session, we will be focusing on educating legislators about policy issues that remain our priorities as indicated in the following WSCA legislative agenda:
- Challenging medical physicians and Washington Medical Commission attempts to remove prohibitions on medical doctors from performing spinal manipulation.
- Including chiropractors into the list of providers eligible to treat adult Medicaid recipients within the already existing spinal manipulation benefit.
- Protecting laws already in place for patient access to chiropractic care and fair reimbursement.
- Making permanent chiropractic eligibility for loan repayment through the Washington Student Achievement Council (we were funded for one biennium with a promise to make this permanent).
In addition, we are working with the State Office of the Insurance Commission to address chiropractors’ complaints about insurers who have demonstrated a lack of good faith in implementing both the Fair Pay and Prior Authorization legislation. he WSCA continues to hear a high volume of insurance complaints from members, and we will research the issues you raise and work to mitigate these negative practices on your behalf.
I encourage all Washington state chiropractors to file complaints with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner if you experience violations of the prior authorization and/or fair pay laws or anytime you believe a patient is being inappropriately denied their chiropractic benefits. You can submit your complaint online at bit.ly/onlineOICform. There is also a printable version at bit.ly/printableOICform that you can fill out, then fax or mail. Insurance laws can be confusing so here is a little information to help you:
State laws only apply to state regulated health plans. How do you know if they are state regulated or under federal regulation?
- Have the patient call their insurer and ask for their “plan summary description” and that will describe the type of plan.
- The plan must NOT be a union bargained plan through their employer. These are federally regulated plans known as “Taft Hartley” plans.
- The plan must NOT be a self-insured/self-funded plan. These are federal regulated plans for larger employers that are allowed to set their own benefits and rules because they are assuming and paying for all of the risk. They hire insurers to manage benefits that they structure under federal law rather than buying a plan that is sold on the Washington State market.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner only enforces state regulated health plans. State regulated plans are those that are bought on the Washington State market by individuals and employers. The majority of plans are state regulated.
During a normal year, in January we would be hosting our in-person Chiropractic Legislative Day at the state capitol – our annual opportunity to make our presence known to lawmakers in Olympia. While that is not possible this year, we are instead planning to sponsor remote legislative information sessions with our lobbyist, Lori Grassi. Watch your email for details about these events.
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. Please return your donation in the enclosed remit envelope. You can also visit www.washingtonchirotrust.org and click on the DONATE button to make either a one-time or recurring donation.
— Dr. Dave Butters, President
Washington State Chiropractic Trust