ICS Dietitian-Nutritionist Bill Signed!

August 7, 2013 1 comment

Senate Bill 1229, Sponsored by Senator Iris Martinez and Senator Martin Sandoval, was recently signed by Governor Pat Quinn.  SB1229 was an ICS initiative that corrected a state law that prohibited chiropractic physicians from initiating or consulting on medically prescribed diets.

Over the previous year many of our doctors contacted the ICS office with concerns about new language being discussed for the Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Act.  The ICS became involved early in this process and ensured that nothing would impact our doctors’ ability to discuss nutrition with their patients or negatively affect them in any other way.

However, it was discovered in the existing statutes (law) that Chiropractic Physicians were statutorily barred from initiating or consulting on a patient’s “medically prescribed diet.”  This lead to further ambiguity and confusion regarding a chiropractic physician’s role in nutrition counseling.  In light of our recent accomplishments clarifying our scope and non-prescription products, the ICS acted to correct this matter with Senate Bill 1229.

Despite some initial push back from the Medical Society, Dietitians, and the Department of Professional Regulation, we were able to come up with language that addressed our concerns as well as a number of related issues. Ultimately we had legislation that was agreed to by all parties and passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

The Governor’s signature on Senate Bill 1229 marks the end of yet another successful ICS legislative session.

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John “Doc” Davidson Memorial Highway

May 1, 2013 1 comment

House Joint Resolution 21, which designates the section of Illinois Route 97 beginning at the intersection of Veterans Parkway in Springfield and ending at the intersection of County Highway 12 in Menard County as the John “Doc” Davidson Memorial Highway, just passed today 115-0-0.  You can see a Google Map here.

The text of the resolution:

 

WHEREAS, It is important to recognize those who contributed
to the betterment of the State of Illinois through public
service; and

WHEREAS, It is equally important that we do not forget the
contributions these individuals made in improving the State of
Illinois and the nation as a whole; and

WHEREAS, John “Doc” Davidson was born on August 31, 1924,
in West Point, Mississippi; he was the son of the late Homer
and Anna (Grossboll) Davidson; he married Shirley Beard on
August 8, 1953 and is the father of 3 and the grandfather of 6;
and

WHEREAS, John “Doc” Davidson was a chiropractor by trade;
he served in the United States Navy during World War II as a
tail gunner and served on the USS Ticonderoga; he was a member
and past president of the Springfield Jaycees, where he was
honored to be one of the Jaycees’ 10 Outstanding Young Men of
America for 1954-1955; he was a member of the American
Chiropractic Association, where he was the first recipient of
the National Chiropractor of the Year Award in 1973; he was a
member of the Illinois Chiropractic Society, the Masonic Shrine
Board, and American Legion Post #32; he was a founding member
of the Prairie State Games and a member of the Governor’s
Prayer Breakfast Committee; he was also a member of the
Sangamon County Board of Supervisors for 13 1/2 years and
served as the board’s chair for 2 1/2 years; and

WHEREAS, John “Doc” Davidson served as an Illinois State
Senator from 1973 to 1993, representing the 50th House District
covering Sangamon, Christian, and Montgomery Counties; his
greatest legislative accomplishment was ensuring that the SIU
School of Medicine was to be seated in Springfield, providing
world-class care to the City of Springfield and surrounding
areas; and

WHEREAS, The members of this august body believe it is
fitting to honor John “Doc” Davidson by dedicating the section
of Illinois Route 97 beginning at the intersection of Veterans
Parkway in Springfield and ending at the intersection of County
Highway 12 in Menard County as the John “Doc” Davidson Memorial
Highway; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
NINETY-EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE
SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that we designate the section of
Illinois Route 97 beginning at the intersection of Veterans
Parkway in Springfield and ending at the intersection of County
Highway 12 in Menard County as the John “Doc” Davidson Memorial
Highway; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Illinois Department of Transportation
is requested to erect at suitable locations, consistent with
State and federal regulations, appropriate plaques or signs
giving notice of the name of the John “Doc” Davidson Memorial
Highway; and be it further

RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
presented to the Secretary of the Illinois Department of
Transportation and the family of John “Doc” Davidson.

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Medically Prescribed Diets Passes Senate

April 26, 2013 1 comment
Moments after the Senate passed SB1229

Moments after the Senate passed SB1229

Although the House was out this week, we saw movement on some of our own bills.  Senate Bill 1229, sponsored by Senator Iris Martinez, passed the Senate unanimously this week.  This bill is the culmination of the work of the ICS, the Nutritionists, the Dietitians, and the Department of Professional Regulation to clarify some various points of ambiguity and oversights within the Dietetic and Nutrition Services Practice Act.  For our part, SB1229 solidifies our doctor’s ability to initiate and coordinate medically prescribed diets for our patients.  Without this bill, the Dietetic and Nutrition Act lists this as a practice reserved only for MD’s and DO’s.

Representative Michael Zalewski, chairman of the House Health Care Licenses Committee, has already agreed to carry our bill in the Second chamber. Since we have already worked for agreement in the early stages of this bill, and there is currently no known opposition, we expect successful passage of SB1229 within the next month.

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From the Statehouse: Bill Movement

March 13, 2013 2 comments

Licensed Activities and Pensions

Licensed Activities and Pensions

Medically Prescribed Diets

The ICS just finished it’s testimony before the Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions committee and is proud to announce that SB1229 passed unanimously, which will ultimately clarify our doctors’ ability to initiate medically prescribed diets.

Medically Prescribed Diet: when specific food or nutrient levels need to be monitored, altered, or both as a component of a treatment program for an individual whose health status is impaired or at risk due to disease or injury.

Previously, this was not allowed due to exclusionary language within the Dietitian Nutritionist Act, but once SB1229 clears both chambers we will have removed that barrier in nearly all cases.

The John “Doc” Davidson Memorial Highway

Yesterday, HJR21 passed Transportation committee to designate the section of Illinois Route 97 beginning at the intersection of Veterans Parkway in Springfield and ending at the intersection of County Highway 12 in Menard County as the John “Doc” Davidson Memorial Highway. Doc Davidson passed away last year at the age of 87. It is a memorial fitting of a man who served his country, his State, and his profession so faithfully for so many years. See the ICS Memorial here.

Licensure Fees

As mentioned in my last blog post, SB622 passed both houses and has most recently been signed by the Governor.  This means that all DC’s, MD’s, and DO’s will be seeing a licensure fee increase in the next renewal cycle.

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Bittersweet Resolution

March 7, 2013 4 comments

Today the House took action to resolve the licensure problem in the state of Illinois.  Because it was low on funds, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) recently transferred 18 of the 26 staffers out of their department. This resulted in only one person remaining to actually process new and renewal applications–and wait times for licenses were expected to take 12-18 months.

All fees collected by the IDFPR are intended to be used for the sole purpose of administration and regulation of the associated licenses.  Under the previous administration, a total of around $8 million dollars were swept from the medical licenses fund and put into the State’s all purpose “General Revenue Fund.”   Couple that with a growing structural deficit within the Department, and 2013 started with a $9.6 million dollar hole in the fund for medical licenses.  The ICS breaks this issue into three parts:

1) The fund sweeps.  If the State hadn’t swept our funds in the first place we wouldn’t be in anywhere near the crisis we are now.

2) The accumulated $9.6 million dollar hole.

3) The structural deficit and general need for increased fees.

With regards to issue #1, although it was obviously wrong for our fund to be swept, we were far from the only fund raided under the previous administration.  This is a problem without a good solution.  With the State’s finances in such a mess, any repayment to the doctors fund would still come at the expense of someone else. Consider also that there were many other funds that would be “owed” money as well.

The House proposed HB193, which raised our fees from $300 for three years, to $750.  No matter how the ICS staff crunched those numbers, we came up with surpluses in the tens of millions in a relatively short time.  The Illinois Chiropractic Society opposed this measure and initiated a call to action by our doctors to contact their legislators on this issue.

The Senate proposed SB622, which raised the fees to $700, but then backed them down to $500 after the second cycle.  This would result in paying off the accumulated $9.6 debt and by our calculations, was much closer to a revenue neutral proposal in the long run.  It was our opinion that this was the better of the two proposals.

Tensions were high once SB622 passed the Senate, because upon arrival to the House, it was gutted and replaced with the same flat $750 increase from HB193. The Doctors and the House again found themselves at an impasse. Today however, the House relented and restored SB622 back to its original language.  After doing so, it was passed by the House and is currently on its way to the Governor’s office for immediate signing.

Although we wish the repayment of the swept funds could have been handled differently, the ICS does view the bill that passed as the lesser of the two evils.  There is at least some relief for our new graduates who were uncertain of if they were going to be able to get an Illinois license this year.  The Illinois Chiropractic Society will reiterate to the legislature that this is what comes from sweeping dedicated funds and we will work to see that such sweeps do not happen again.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chiropractic Bills of Note

March 1, 2013 4 comments

This week marked the introduction deadline for all the bills for the 2013 Legislative Session.  This year there were 5,822 bills introduced; four of which were ICS initiatives.

50% Co-Payment Cap
Senate Bill 1754 attempts to tackle co-payments that take up a majority or entirety of our doctor’s allowed billable amounts.  Senator Sam McCann first started helping us with this issue last year and we hope to see floor action on this measure this legislative session.

The situation we want to address is as follows.  A doc charges $60 for a chiropractic adjustment.  Let’s say the reduced billable amount is $40. The insurance company also has a $40 copay.  In this instance, the insurance company is stating that it has “chiropractic coverage” yet due to the billable amount and the copay, the insurance company never actually pays anything.  Our end goal is to have a 50% copay cap (based on the billable) so that in this instance the insurance copay cannot be more than $20.

Medically Prescribed Diets and DC’s
Senate Bill 1229 corrects an issue where Chiropractic Physicians are prohibited from initiating or consulting with Dietitians or Nutritionists with regards to medically prescribed diets.  We have been systematically removing opposition from this bill and hope to have agreed language in the coming weeks. Senator Iris Martinez (sponsor of our previous OTC and Oxygen bill) has agreed to carry this issue for us.

Binding Verification of Benefits
House Bill 2251 by Representative Tim Schmitz looks for a way to make the verification of benefits that a doctor makes on behalf of his patients binding. All too often, the doctor’s office will call to verify coverage and is told one thing, but then the coverage is denied once the service is performed.  HB2251 does not intend to impact medical necessity, but instead details of essential coverage and what caveats may apply.  The ICS has suggested online verification as a way of producing a paper trail and assuring accuracy
EOB/RA Transparency
Senate Bill 1642, sponsored by Senator Mattie Hunter hopes clean up some of the confusion on EoB’s and RA’s by:

  1. Ensure multiple reductions are broken out individually so you can easily see what was due to copay, coinsurance, deductibles, administrative fees, and reductions.
  2. Clearly stated reasons for denials.
  3. The items and amounts shown to the patient (EoB), must match those sent to the doctor (remittance advice).
  4. An insurer must not issue an EoB claiming a payment has been made unless it truly has been made.

Much of this was brought to our attention when the ICS conducted their study for the CoPay legislation.  It was often impossible to determine how much of a bill was discounted for copays versus any other type of discount.

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Inauguration Day

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Today will mark the end of the “lame duck” session and the beginning of the 98th General Assembly where all the legislators we voted in last November will officially take office.   The Statehouse had an ambitious lame duck agenda, which was not quite as productive as many had hoped.  They stalled the vote to increase licensure fees for DC’s, DO’s and MD’s; pension reform was punted to the next session; gay marriage was a few votes shy; and gun and ammo bans went nowhere. The drivers’ licenses bill for immigrants actually did pass yesterday however.

Each session of the General Assembly is two years (matching the two-year terms of our House members).  For those of you who like numbers: there were 10,204 bills and 2,705 resolutions introduced in the 97th General Assembly.  And today the ICS looks forward to reviewing the next 10,000 bills that will come out in 98th Session.

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