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Current Events: National Chiropractic Legislative Conference

by on February 25, 2014

STARTING TOMORROW, chiropractors from around the United States converge on Washington, DC, for the National Chiropractic Legislative Conference. Students from NYCC’s chapter of the Student American Chiropractic Association have worked over the past year to raise funds for this trip, and 37 of us leave tomorrow morning to attend this huge chiropractic gathering, along with our advisor, Dr. Bill Lauretti, and a handful of alumni and school representatives.

The centerpiece of the conference, as its name implies, is legislative action. Doctors of chiropractic face a surprising number of law-related hurdles, which variously restrict patients’ access, our ability to deliver services for which we are already educated and licensed, integration into multi-doctor settings, and financial resources and opportunities for students and doctors. Since I will no doubt provide plenty of posts in the next few days related to the conference, allow me to lay out for you, readers (Mom and Dad), what we are working on this year:

Student Loan Forgiveness

  • Name: H.R. 702 – Access to Frontline Health Care Act
  • Sponsor: Representative Bruce Braley (D – IA)
  • Establish a student loan repayment program that would ensure that medically under-served communities across America have access to a wide array of health care services. This bill would ensure that these communities have an expanded range of provider types, including DCs, from which patients could choose to receive their care.
  • More info: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr702
  • Support this bill: Sign this letter to your local Congressperson

Chiropractic in Veterans’ Hospitals

  • Name: H.R. 921 – Veterans Access to Chiropractic Care
  • Sponsor: Representative Mike Michaud (D – ME)
  • Ensures that veterans across America will have access to the chiropractic care that they need. A primary problem for returning veterans is musculoskeletal complaints, a point of specialty for DCs. Making chiropractic care available in more VA hospitals should improve patient outcomes and allow other doctors to spend their already-strained time on care suited best to their training.
  • Twice before the House has passed bills nearly identical to H.R. 921. These bills did not grow into law due to their concurrent bills in the Senate not advancing. With the Senate likely to pass S.1950 soon this is the perfect opportunity to pass this important bill.
  • We are urging the House and Senate to “conference” together to ensure that this year, as the Senate passes S.1950 the House can pass HR 921.
  • More info: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr921
  • Support this bill: Sign this letter to your local Congressperson

Medicare Provider Disparities Fix

Medicare payments are designed to be controlled by a formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), which would prevent prices from climbing too high too fast. However, it has been neglected since 1997, which has led to higher payments to all providers than would otherwise be allowable. That means on March 31, 2014, when a current resolution to maintain prices expires, there could be sharp cuts in payment to all Medicare health providers. An alternative solution is in the works, to control price growth while not delivering a sudden blow to the healthcare industry.

Our goal is to make sure that this long term plan will:

  • Eliminate arbitrary limitations placed upon various non-MD health providers, including doctors of chiropractic. Unfair restrictions on provider reimbursement and participation in Medicare are discriminatory in nature and favor one type of provider over others, and restrict patient access to the health care provider of their choice.
  • Ensure that doctors of chiropractic are allowed to provide all Medicare services that they are allowed to furnish under state law.
  • Fully define DCs as “physicians” under the Act, a status already granted in other laws. This change would neither add benefits to those already covered under Medicare, nor increase DCs’ authority beyond that already allowed by their licensing states.
  • Support this effort: Sign this letter to your local Congressperson

THERE IS MUCH MORE TO NCLC than lobbing alone. Students will have a business meeting, doctors will attend continuing education, and the American Chiropractic Association will provide speakers and seminars. Newcomers to the city will find time to see our nation’s capitol, and when the meetings get out, everyone will make time for some socializing.

One year ago, it was exactly this event that inspired me to become more involved in the chiropractic profession, beyond my day-to-day studies. The collegiality and productivity from everyone at this conference left me stunned before I had been in Washington for even a day. Particularly, meeting my fellow students from around America inspired me, and still gives me energy today.

And today I had three exams, so that’s a tall order.

Follow me to NCLC! Find posts by following Hands In Training on Facebook and on Twitter at @bhmccann. This week you can follow all posts from the conference by the hashtag #NCLC2014.

> Related post: Chiropractors at the Capitol (3/17/2013)
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Dr Tamara Lovelace

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