Senate Bill Includes Key Chiropractic Provisions
SOURCE: The Daily Hit ~ November 20, 2009
by Daniel Redwood, DC
Here’s some good news from my favorite Blogger, Daniel Redwood, DC:
The Senate Democrats’ blended bill contains the nondiscrimination language championed by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), along with a couple of other steps forward.
Here’s today’s report from the American Chiropractic Association:
Reid’s Reform Bill Includes ACA Supported Provider Non-Discrimination Provision
Of specific interest to the chiropractic profession, is the fact that Reid’s bill includes an important federal provider non-discrimination provision the inclusion of which was strongly advocated by the ACA. The provision, found in Section 2076 of the measure, would apply to ERISA and other health insurance plans, and is intended to serve as an important protection aimed at preventing insurance plans from discriminating against entire classes of non-MD health care providers, including DCs, based solely on their state license or certification. The inclusion of the provision in the Reid bill was primarily championed by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), current Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee and Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn). The inclusion of the provision in Reid’s bill means the chiropractic profession will not have to launch what would likely be an uphill battle to insert the provision via the amendment process on the floor of the Senate. With respect to provision, ACA’s main mission now, is to work to ensure that the provision remains included in the final floor amended bill, assuming one is successfully voted out of the Senate. It is important to note that the recently House passed version of the heath reform bill (HR 3962) does not contain an identical provision, but does contain an important non-discrimination provision that seeks to maintain the applicability of state-enacted provider non-discrimination laws. The ACA will lobby for inclusion in any final bill to be enacted by Congress of both the House and Senate provider non-discrimination provisions. (NOTE: HR 3962 did not pass, and the current law HR 3390 does contain the full Harkin non-discrimination provision)
Chiropractic Included in Other Provisions:
• Community Health Teams: Doctors of chiropractic are specifically included as potential members of interdisciplinary Community Health Teams. These teams support the development of medical homes by increasing access to comprehensive, community based, coordinated care. Community health teams are integrated teams of providers including specialists, other clinicians and licensed integrative health professionals as well as community resources to enhance patient care, wellness and lifestyle improvements. The language in the bill ensures that doctors of chiropractic can be included in these patient-centered and holistic teams.
• National Health Care Workforce Commission: The bill establishes a National Health Care Workforce Commission to examine the current and projected needs in the health care workforce. The Commission specifically includes doctors of chiropractic by defining them as part of the health care workforce, and including them in the definition of health professionals. Schools of chiropractic are also included in the health professional training schools to be studied. The National Health Care Workforce Commission is tasked providing comprehensive, unbiased information to Congress and the Administration about how to align federal health care workforce resources with national needs. Congress will use this information when providing appropriations to discretionary programs or in restructuring other federal funding. The language in the bill guarantees that the need for doctors of chiropractic will be addressed when considering federal health care workforce programs.
This is an important step forward in what promises to be a long journey.
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