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|Legislative & Regulatory Issues|
WCA Holds Rally to Protect Patient Access to Chiropractic Care
The WCA received overwhelming support from chiropractors, staff, and patients who attended the Assembly Health Committee Hearing at 1:00 pm on Wed, Feb. 14 at the Wisconsin State Capitol to voice their opposition to Assembly Bill 920. This bill posed a serious threat to access to patient care for Chiropractic, and would have allowed for the establishment of employer groups to jointly provide health care benefits on a self-funded basis to employees and their dependents under a health care benefit arrangement. This would eliminate the chiropractic equality provision for small group, self-funded association plans, under the guise of offering small businesses greater flexibility and cost-savings.
WCA Defends DCs' Right to Treat Lower Extremities
Several insurers are intentionally misinterpreting and misusing Chapter 81 of the DWD Treatment Guidelines in a manner that is inconsistent with the WI Worker's Compensation Act. In response, WCA issued a letter to DWD regarding improper denials of reimbursement for care received by chiropractors who have treated a patient's lower extremities.
DWD responded to WCA in a letter that affirms WCA's stance on this issue. According to DWD, "There is no statutory authority allowing the use of the Treatment Guidelines for Utilization of Treatment Reviews to deny payment." Therefore, "Any action by an insurance carrier or self-insured employer to deny payment solely based on ch. DWD 81 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, cannot be enforced or upheld under the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Act." These major insurers cannot cite and/or misuse this statute in order to dictate care provided by licensed Doctors of Chiropractic.
Not only has DWD affirmed WCA's stance on this issue, but it has also taken positive action to deter such future misuses of WI statutes by insurance companies. The Department has updated the language on its website regarding the purpose and statutory use of ch. DWD 81. In addition, DWD has issued a memo for medical providers to use to remind interested parties about the appropriate use of ch. DWD 81.
If Inappropriately Denied Reimbursement under Chapter DWD 81
WCA encourages you to thoroughly review case denials related to treating lower extremities that you've received based on the Treatment Guidelines. If you feel you are being denied payment because an insurer or self-insured employer inappropriately used the Treatment Guidelines to refuse to pay for treatment, WCA recommends the following actions:
*Dispute/resolve this inappropriate denial directly with the insurance company. We encourage you to use the following sample template appeal letter:
*If you are unable to resolve the issue with the insurance company, you must file a dispute with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development using the following form:
WCA Protecting Against Proposed Medical Fee Schedules in Worker's Compensation
The Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) has once again proposed a bill that would institute government rate setting for medical providers who treat injured workers under Worker’s Compensation. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) instigated this push to impose a fee schedule in Worker’s Comp, ignoring the superior, cost-effective health care injured workers in Wisconsin receive.
WCA is part of a coalition serving as liaisons to WCAC that is against government-mandated price fixing for Worker's Comp. This coalition of four groups has issued a joint letter to Wisconsin Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform Chair Sen. Stephen Nass and Assembly Labor Chair Rep. Bob Kulp, specifically requesting that these committee chairs not introduce or hold hearings on WCAC’s proposed bill.
The Coalition has also issued a press release highlighting the fact that Wisconsin ranks first in the nation in health Care Quality and has the lowest Worker’s Comp cost in the Midwest.
WCA-Sponsored Chiropractic Clinical Tools Package Becomes Law
Governor Scott Walker signed WCA's sponsored bill into law on Wednesday, March 28. Pictured alongside the Governor, from left, are WCA President Dr. Gene Yellen-Shiring, WCA Communications and Marketing Director David Bobka, Rep. Wichgers' Staff Gabriel Szerlong, and bill author Rep. Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego).
This bill, known as Assembly Bill 260/Senate Bill 232, allows chiropractors to delegate appropriate services to other licensed health care providers, protects the ability of chiropractors to perform US Driver Examinations, clarifies that chiropractors can use cold laser, and allows chiropractic students to do preceptorships earlier in their education.
This legislation passed the Wisconsin State Senate on February 20 and was concurred in by the Wisconsin State Assembly on February 21.
AB 260 originally included giving chiropractors the ability to perform acupuncture, dry needling, and sports physicals with additional training. Despite extensive lobbying efforts to convince members of the legislature to retain these important clinical tools as part of the bill, the WCA Government Affairs team, with approval from the WCA Board of Directors, agreed to remove these aspects of the bill in order to move the rest of this legislation forward.
“While we remain committed to gaining these important tools for our members, we felt it was important to get done what we could during this session,” said WCA Executive Director John Murray.
WCA was also fortunate to have Dr. Ron Boesch (pictured providing testimony at the Hearing), Dean of Clinics at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, travel to Wisconsin’s Capitol to testify on behalf of the sports physicals portion of this bill. Dr. Boesch explained that over 7,500 physical exams were completed by Palmer students through June 2017. He also expressed that each school district in the Davenport and surrounding communities approves pre-participation physical examinations performed by chiropractors, and area chiropractors have provided 2,095 such physicals over the last three years.
Dr. Eric Gormanson (pictured alongside Dr. Boesch) shared his experience as a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic and spoke about the real-world benefits of the Chiropractic Clinical Tools Package. His experience includes performing at least 100 pre-participation sports physicals while practicing in Missouri, without any additional training or certification.
WCA would like to thank Dr. Boesch and Dr. Gormanson for traveling to the Capitol and providing these exceptionally valuable testimonies in support of this legislation.
In addition, WCA President Dr. Gene Yellen-Shiring previously authored an Op-Ed in support of this bill.
Higher Test Score Requirements for Chiropractic Licensure Repealed in Wisconsin
With Wisconsin Act #288, Governor Scott Walker signed into law Assembly Bill 834, which repeals higher test score requirements for chiropractic licensure in Wisconsin.
This law is effective as April 18, 2018, meaning you can now currently send in your application for licensure. An amendment to the bill enacted on January 29, 2018 allows applicants to utilize any previously earned test scores to meet the standard for a chiropractic license. Any previous test scores are "grandfathered in," with the actual amendment language stating that previous scores will be accepted “...regardless of the dates on which the applicant took the parts of the examination administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners."
WCA conducted a survey of its membership from January 23-February 2, 2018 to gather input concerning the higher NBCE Test Scores in Wisconsin. The survey results allowed the WCA Board of Directors to properly evaluate the merits of the higher minimum test score requirements in our state. Based on this membership input, WCA took a neutral position and did not oppose this legislation. WCA's neutrality had the practical effect of clearing the way for the bill to pass in the Legislature, and thereafter be signed into law by Gov. Walker.
The WCA did not oppose this legislation for the following essential reasons:
WCA Attends Signing of SB 381 on Complex Rehab Technology
WCA Executive Director John Murray (pictured far left) attended an in-office bill signing on April 16, 2018 for Senate Bill 381, legislation concerning complex rehabilitation technology for complex needs patients in the Medical Assistance program.
WCA's Efforts to Protect Chiropractic Benefits
WCA is working to protect chiropractic benefits for state and local government employees.
The Group Insurance Board, (GIB), an 11 member board under the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), has been tasked with exploring the cost/benefit of converting state and local government employees from the current fully insurance health care model to self insurance in an effort to save money. Bids are due this month at GIB from health insurers and third part administrators interested in managing a self insurance health plan for state and local government employees.
This move is being questioned by the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association in a letter from WCA Executive Director John Murray. “We are very concerned that the move to self insurance will reduce or outright eliminate access to chiropractic care,” said Murray.
“We are seeking to clarify the intent of the GIB and protect equal access to chiropractic care."