The need is urgent and the time is now for Washington state chiropractors to donate to the Washington State Chiropractic Trust.
The success of the Washington State Chiropractic Association, the Trust and ultimately the Washington state chiropractic profession hinges upon a strong working relationship within the profession and its external allies – especially state legislators. The Trust is currently underfunded at a critical time because now is when we need to start making campaign contributions to our legislative friends, both Republicans and Democrats.
It’s important to remember that the Trust is a non-partisan, state-registered, Political Action Committee (PAC) that is limited to campaign funding activities with candidates and ballot measures in Washington state only. When we consider campaign donations, we focus on “chiropractic-friendly” legislators and candidates. That means looking at how that legislator votes on chiropractic-related legislation that protects the ability for chiropractors to practice, and for patients to access chiropractic care without barriers.
Campaign contributions do not buy votes, but they do buy the critical access we need to get our issues heard and to move them forward in the state Legislative process.
In the recent 2022 Legislative session, which was a short session, we didn’t introduce new legislation specific to the chiropractic profession. But we did work successfully on budget language specific to Medicaid, and loan repayment for chiropractors.
The following is a summary of the legislative bills and activities that required our attention during the 2022 session:
E2SHB 1688: This bill protects consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services, by aligning state law and the federal “no surprises “act and addressing coverage of treatment for emergency conditions. This legislation is mostly directed at emergency services, but the federal law requires all providers to give a patient a “good faith estimate” for the cost of services.
ESHB 1821: This measure concerns the definition of established relationship for purposes of audio-only telemedicine. Early drafts of the legislation required the provider have access to larger health system record formats, such as Epic, which chiropractors generally are not able to access. We were successful modifying the definition to be less specific for the system and related to the record that is sufficient to protect patient safety.
Adult Medicaid Inclusion: For the past decade, the WSCA and WSCT have been working to include chiropractors as part of the existing spinal manipulation benefit for adult Medicaid recipients. This inclusion will offer a greater number of patients access to drugless services to treat musculoskeletal conditions and better methods for pain management. This year, in partnership with the Washington East Asian Medicine Association, we were successful at inclusion into the supplemental operating budget. Next, the Health Care Authority will develop the rules, payment policies, system changes, payment processing and provider enrollment, as well as contracting with providers, in the anticipation of adding chiropractic and acupuncture to the benefits Jan. 1, 2024.
Chiropractic Loan Repayment Program: As part of the defined “Eligible Credentialed Health Care Professions workforce shortage statute, chiropractors are eligible to apply to receive state loan repayment funds through the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) through 2023. We have identified a challenge to chiropractor qualifications due to the lack of inclusion in Medicaid program because a key factor is the volume of underserved patients an applicant is able to serve in an area that has an insufficient availability of credentialed providers. The WSCA will also work to make this language permanent in statute in the future, as well.
We will be working over the next several months to develop our legislative agenda for the 2023 legislative session, and that’s why 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. Make either a one-time or recurring donation at this link.
— By Dr. Dave Butters, President
Washington State Chiropractic Trust