It’s not complicated: If we’re not at the table, we’ll be on the menu. We have an aggressive legislative agenda and other challenging policy and administrative issues that require the help of our legislative friends in Olympia. When the Washington State Chiropractic Trust (WSCT) donates to political candidates or to the political caucuses in the state house or senate it creates access to discussion and help with our issues. We can’t do this without your help: This means regular donations to the Trust and your engagement in the process by meeting with your state representatives and senators and talking with them about chiropractic issues!
Here is our 2023 legislative agenda:
Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) in Fee Schedules
This will not be easy! Insurers tell legislators that our fee schedules are “negotiated.” When was the last time you negotiated your reimbursement? We know that they’re not negotiated, and that they are “take it or leave it” agreements. It will take a great deal of work to educate legislators about this. There may be an opportunity for a coalition with other provider groups regarding COLA because all provider types are struggling with the current inflationary conditions. Insurers are raising rates but not increasing provider reimbursement.
Inaccurate Patient Benefit Quotes and Administrative Delays
Providers and staff spend enormous time and energy verifying insurance benefits, then learn the benefits were quoted incorrectly. The office administrative costs combined with low reimbursement often results in reimbursement not covering the cost of providing the service. To be successful with these issues legislatively, we will initially be required to exhaust all possible administrative remedies, this means showing proof of the problems. Chiropractors and/or their office staff must file complaints with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to demonstrate that the issues are not just affecting one or two providers and their patients. This is a critical administrative option to show legislators the depth of the problem(s) and that their help is needed to resolve it.
Provider Opt-Out of Virtual Payment Systems
It is becoming more common that health insurers are paying providers with credit card processing systems called VPAY, or VCC. This is just another way that your pay is being reduced while the insurer receives cash-back incentives for using these payment methods. We believe that these methods of payment should be optional, and a provider should be allowed to request payment by check or electronic funds transfer.
Other Topics on the Chiropractic Legislative Plate
- Secure Medicaid funding for chiropractic services
- Make permanent the chiropractic student loan repayment statute, for chiropractors serving low-income underserved areas.
- Support current legislative efforts to allow PTs and OTs to own clinics with other professionals (i.e., chiropractors).
The success of the Washington State Chiropractic Association, the WSCT and ultimately the Washington state chiropractic profession hinges upon a strong working relationship within the profession and its external allies – especially state legislators.
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.
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. Visit our DONATE page to make either a one-time or recurring donation.
— By Dr. Dave Butters, President
Washington State Chiropractic Trust