2018 Legislative Session Begins
The 2018 legislative session has started. We are now in the second year of the 100th General Assembly. This means any legislation that was filed last year could very quickly become viable this year. The last few weeks have been filled with legislators filing additional legislation for this session. Over the course of these recent weeks, the Illinois Chiropractic Society has reviewed and analyzed thousands of bills to identify any potential impact on the chiropractic profession. We want to provide you an update on a few of the pieces of legislation we are following, as well as our own ongoing legislative initiatives.
ICS Legislative Agenda
Non-Discrimination and Co-Payment Issues:
Every General Assembly, the ICS establishes our own initiatives that we would like to advance on behalf of the profession. The ICS has initiated legislation throughout this General Assembly, seeking to enact provisions that prevent health plans from discriminating against providers and limiting co-payments the plans may apply. We continue to receive substantial opposition on these issues. However, we continue to speak with legislators on addressing these very important matters.
Return to Play:
Additionally, this year we have filed legislation to allow chiropractic physicians the authority to remove a student-athlete from play and return an athlete to play as part of concussion management. Currently, under the School Code in Illinois, chiropractic physicians are not among the health care providers permitted to remove an athlete from activity for a possible concussion or certify a high school athlete to return to play, either after determining there is no concussion or after recovery from a concussion, even though these activities are within chiropractic physician scope under the Medical Practice Act.
For example, if a student suffered a concussion during an athletic event and a chiropractic physician were part of the healthcare team at the game, the chiropractic physician could not evaluate the student and determine the student should be removed, nor certify if the athlete is able to return to the game. A chiropractic physician also may not certify the student to return to the sport following recovery from a concussion. Under the existing law, the only persons that may certify return to play are medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and athletic trainers who are working under a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine. Our legislation to include chiropractic physicians is currently being opposed by a number of other provider groups, as well as the Illinois High School Association.
It is the stance of the ICS that chiropractic physicians are well educated and trained to evaluate and determine recovery from concussions. Additionally, under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 these activities are well within the scope of practice for a chiropractic physician. Therefore, the ICS filed the legislation to address this issue.
The legislation that has been filed is HB 4925 (Breen).
Other Legislative Initiatives
In addition to our own initiatives, the ICS follows several other legislative measures. We are currently tracking over 150 pieces of legislation. Here are a few of the initiatives we are following.
HB 4643 (Burke, D.)-Physical Therapists Authority to Diagnose:
This legislation would essentially allow physical therapists the ability to diagnose patients without a physician referral. The ICS is strongly opposed to this legislation because the ability to diagnose is a unique skill that only physicians have the extensive training and education to do. Physical therapists are educated and trained as technicians who are intended to carry out treatment for conditions that have been diagnosed by a physician. The ICS contends this skill cannot be taught retroactively or meaningfully added to a physical therapy curriculum. The ICS has already begun reaching out to legislators and legislative staff, informing them of our opposition. Several other health care provider groups are opposed to this legislation as well.
HB 4820 (Fine)-Insurance and CPT® Codes:
This legislation prohibits an insurance company from rejecting a CPT® code without clear explanations for the reason of denial. This legislation is the initiative of the Illinois State Medical Society and was in response to a current issue involving mass claim denials by insurance companies. The ICS strongly supports this legislation.
SB 2460 (Morrison)- Concussions and Elementary Schools:
The legislation requires the Illinois Elementary School Association to approve 2 hours of concussion training for coaches, game officials, and non-licensed healthcare professionals. The training shall include evaluation, prevention, symptoms, risks, and long-term effects of concussions. The ICS is monitoring this legislation and looking for ways to advance our initiative related to this subject.
These are just a few examples of the many pieces of legislation we are currently following. We will continue to monitor any changes or new legislation that may impact chiropractic.
As always, the ICS will continue to advocate on your behalf and will keep its members updated as to any future developments.