2014 Legislative Update
The 98th General Assembly
Provided all goes as planned, May 31st should mark the end of Illinois’ 98th General Assembly. Legislative sessions span a two year period of time and typically are viewed as having a regular first year and a shorter second. According to the House Rule 18(b), bills this second year should be either budgetary in nature or “to be of an emergency nature or to be of substantial importance to the operation of government.”
To date, the 98th General Assembly has seen nearly 10,000 bills (not counting nearly 3,000 resolutions, executive orders, and appointment messages). Of these, only around 370 House Bills and 270 Senate Bills have made their way through the gauntlet that is our legislative process and passed both chambers. The Illinois Chiropractic Society has reviewed each and every one of these 10,000 introduced bills. We then flag and track any that may be tangentially related to the medical field and monitor them throughout the year. We also introduce our own legislation and advocate on your behalf to support or oppose bills throughout the year.
The 98th General Assembly saw a great deal of action regarding the State-Based Health Exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, the State of Illinois was sliding farther and farther behind in its payments and ability to properly function. The State has fallen as far as a year behind in its payments to health care providers for services already rendered, and IDFPR reduced its licensing staff from 26 to 8 members, pushing expected wait time for licenses back to over a year as well. In response, there have been a number of changes. Adult chiropractic, hospice care, dental care, eyeglasses, and many other services were eventually cut from Medicaid. IDFPR was in a $9.6 million dollar hole, and although the licensure fees have doubled for the next two renewal cycles, the ICS and other health care organizations were successful in securing a fee reduction for subsequent renewal cycles after that hole is filled by the increased revenues (SB622).
The ICS was successful in defeating a bill that would have required chiropractic physicians (and only chiropractic physicians) to provide information to patients about workers’ compensation fraud, creating the impression that the entire chiropractic profession preys on the unsuspecting in workers’ compensation cases (HB4168, HB5476, and SB3475). Additionally, we worked with others to defeat HB3812, which would have required referring physicians to verify patient insurance coverage before any potential referrals. We have continued to push for chiropractic representation on State boards and were yet again successful in securing Dr. Monica Schnack’s position on the Illinois State Board of Health (AM362). Finally, we were successful in passing ICS initiated legislation to secure our physicians’ ability to coordinate with dietitians and nutritionists regarding medically prescribed diets (SB1229).
The ICS also drafted original legislation regarding non-discrimination in health care (HB4774), unfair copayment practices for chiropractic physicians (SB1754), and confusing insurance practices such as non-binding verification of benefits (HB2251) and unclear explanation of benefits and remittance advice (SB1642). Health care liens are still a hot topic as well. House Bill 5823 was defeated, which would have prohibited physicians from collecting their full payment from personal injury cases. However, the bill containing ICS language to prevent attorneys from reducing medical payments by taking out court fees or other litigation costs (HB5656) failed to gain the needed momentum as well.
As always, the ICS will continue to advocate on your behalf and will keep its membership updated as to any future developments.