Legislation Introduced in U.S. Congress to Further Integrate DCs in Military, VA Health Care Systems
Thursday, February 12, 2015 07:38 PM

At the urging of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), two new bipartisan bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to further incorporate doctors of chiropractic (DCs) in the nation’s military and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care systems. 

Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) introduced H.R. 802, bipartisan legislation that would provide TRICARE recipients with access to DCs, as well as services to manage pain and address neuromusculoskeletal disorders and related illnesses. Services provided by DCs are currently only available to active-duty troops at 60 military treatment facilities in the United States and at bases in Germany and Japan.

ACA Seeks Chiropractic Eligibility for Student Loan Repayment Program
Thursday, February 12, 2015 07:35 PM

At the urging of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) on Jan. 27 introduced H.R. 542, "The National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2015," in the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, the legislation would specify that doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are one of the designated provider "types" allowed to compete for student loan repayment and scholarship monies through federal programs managed by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). 

"We welcome Rep. Gregg Harper's enthusiastic support for this important legislation," said ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC, FACO. "Enacting it into law would eliminate one more disparity in federal programs relative to the chiropractic profession and our students. 

Bill Proposes Education to Improve Chiropractic Documentation in Medicare
Thursday, February 12, 2015 07:33 PM

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop an education program to help improve documentation in chiropractic Medicare claims. The bill stipulates that the program would be created in consultation with the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and representatives of Medicare administrative contractors and be made available by Jan. 1, 2016.

The Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA), H.R. 5780, is part of HHS’ ongoing, system-wide effort to reduce Medicare claim error rates and to prevent fraud. Under the bill, DCs whose claim denial rates are clearly out of line with the rest of the profession could be subject to pre-authorization standards, established by HHS. Doctors of chiropractic with a good record of claims based on proper documentation and those who avail themselves to the education program will avoid pre-authorization requirements that non-compliant providers could eventually face.

“While this legislation may appear to be an indictment against the chiropractic profession, comparative data from 2011 shows us at the top of the error rate list at 44.1 percent. We can no longer make the assertion that we are being discriminated against,” said ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC. “Frankly, should this legislation be enacted, it will provide ACA the opportunity to educate those who are not compliant with clinical decision making and documentation of the Medicare patient. It will also potentially offer us the opportunity to interact with CMS and the individual Medicare Administrative Contractors to provide a better understanding of our unique model of patient care.”

Records Requests and Letters of Protection
Thursday, February 12, 2015 05:54 PM

by Scott Parker, Director of Enforcement & Investigations, TBCE

While investigating failure to furnish records complaints, TBCE investigators often receive written responses from licensees or facility owners confirming that they failed to release the requested records in a timely manner. The main two reasons the licensees or facility owners give for failing to furnish the request records is because the patient’s attorney failed to provide them with a Letter of Protection (LOP) or the patient has an outstanding balance for services rendered.

The Board Rules, as stated in the T exas Administrative Code, regarding Request for Information and Records from Licensees clearly state chiropractic records requested pursuant to a written request signed by the patient; the patient’s personal representative if the patient is deceased; a parent or legal guardian if the patient is a minor; a legal guardian if the patient has been adjudicated incompetent to manage his or her personal affairs; or an attorney ad litem for the patient as authorized by law “may not be withheld based on a past due account for care or treatment previously rendered to the patient or based on the lack of a letter of protection or other similar document.”

The rule does allow a licensee or facility owner to charge a reasonable fee for furnishing the records. A reasonable fee of a paper copy shall not exceed $30 for retrieval of records and processing the request, including copies for the first 10 pages, $1.00 per page for pages 11-60; $0.50 per page for pages 61-400; and $0.25 per page for pages over 400.

Mounting Efforts to Delay ICD-10 Go Down Swinging!
Thursday, February 12, 2015 05:39 PM

Despite a significant lobbying effort mounted by a small but very vocal minority within the healthcare industry, the implementation of ICD-10 is expected to proceed without further delay.

The failed push marked a third attempt to delay the Oct. 1, 2015 ICD-10 implementation deadline well into 2017. Members of Congress rejected the request to include language that would again delay ICD-10 in the lame-duck omnibus spending bill that was passed by Congress and ratified by the Senate in December.

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