2019 Legislative Action
In January, the 101st General Assembly started. Over the past month and half, we have been reviewing over 6,000 newly-introduced bills, as well as introducing our own legislation.
With the beginning of a new General Assembly, all legislation starts anew. We want to provide an update to our members on the legislation we have filed, as well as some others that we are following.
ICS Legislative Agenda
Non-Discrimination-HB 2162 (Hoffman)– The ICS has initiated a bill to prevent health plans from discriminating against provider categories and to allow patients their choice of provider. We continue to receive substantial opposition on these issues. However, we continue to speak with legislators and will continue discussions with the Department of Insurance to address these very important matters.
Return to Play- HB 2850 (Morrison, T.)– 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.
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.
Other Legislative Initiatives
In addition to our own initiatives, the ICS follows several other legislative measures. We are currently tracking over 200 pieces of legislation that may impact our members or the chiropractic profession. Here are a few of the initiatives we are following.
HB 1635 (Moeller) Medical Practice Act (MPA) Extension– The Medical Practice Act (MPA) is the licensing Act that licenses chiropractic physicians, medical doctors, and doctors of osteopathic medicine. This year the MPA is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2019. This means that, without further action, the law would be repealed on that date and no longer in existence as of January 1, so legislation will have to be passed to extend the MPA. This bill would re-authorize the MPA for 10 years. It is not unusual for regulatory laws to have sunset provisions requiring them to be re-authorized after a period of time; however, in recent years, the MPA has been extended for short terms of only 1-2 years at a time. We will be following and supporting legislation regarding the 10-year MPA extension, which would eliminate the need to reauthorize the law so frequently. We will be working with the Illinois State Medical Society and other physician groups, who also support the 10-year extension of the MPA.
HB 2343 (Gordon/Booth)/SB 1972(Hutchinson)-Healthy Family Workplace Act: This legislation creates the Healthy Family Workplace Act. The bill requires employers to provide a specified amount of sick time to their employees. This legislation was originally introduced two years ago but was not passed into law. The initial legislation did not allow chiropractic physicians to certify the employee’s sick leave. At that time, the ICS was able to amend the legislation to clarify that chiropractic physicians could certify the employee sick leave under this Act. Now this re-introduced bill also includes our requested changes. We will continue to monitor it.
HB 2233 (Thapedi)-Special Interrogatories: This legislation removes a provision that allows for a special interrogatory in a lawsuit. This legislation covers a procedural component of the law that would eliminate a litigant’s right to question a jury about the basis of their verdict. This legislation would have an impact on all parties to litigation. not only healthcare providers. If special interrogatories were removed from the law, it could result in faulty, unjustified verdicts against providers due to a jury’s misunderstanding of medical protocols, in turn resulting in higher malpractice settlements and higher premiums for malpractice insurance. We are in the process of speaking with the Sponsor of this legislation and voicing our concerns. We have also been working with other healthcare groups and other entities that will be impacted by this legislation.
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 membership updated as to any future developments.