Apr 12, 2011

More Calls Needed to Stop Bad Chiro Bill

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Call your senator today!
A dangerously bad is bill moving. It must be stopped before it gets on the Senate floor. Senate Bill 1001 by Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) has been set on the Senate Intent Calendar. This dangerous bill cannot get to the senate floor. The Senate cannot be allowed to pass this bad bill. SB 1001 would let the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (and certain other boards that are not lobbying for this bill) to write any rule, make any expansion, and bill for it — really without restrictions for its licensees.

SB 1001 also allows chiropractors to form business relationships with physicians. Although there is currently authority to so with certain other non-physician groups, chiropractors have historically been bad actors and are likely to use these relationships to increase their business. TMA believes chiropractors need to clean up their own house and board first and do not support this measure.

Call your senator today. Ask for his or her FIRM COMMITMENT to stop this bill NOW. Use TMA’s Grassroots Action Center for an easy way to send an e-mail or obtain your senator’s phone number. If you obtain such a commitment, please send a short e-mail to the TMA Public Affairs Office.

Advanced Directives: Both Paul Tucker, MD, an Austin cardiologist, and Amy Arrant, MD, an Austin hospitalist and chief of staff of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, will testify today against House Bill 3520 by Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola). The measure would force physicians and hospitals to provide futile care indefinitely. Both physicians will testify on behalf of TMA and the Texas Hospital Association (THA) before the House Human Services Committee. Dr. Tucker will tell committee members that the Texas Advance Directives Act, which is current law, is a balanced approach to addressing one of life’s most difficult decisions. HB 3520 would change this balanced approach and instead create situations where terminally ill patients may have to undergo more pain and suffering.

Chiro Scope Expansion: Sara Austin, MD, an Austin neurologist and member of TMA’s Council on Legislation, will testify today against HB 3441 by Warren Chisum (D-Pampa). Dr. Austin will tell members of the House Licensure and Administrative Procedures Committee that HB 3441 has far-reaching implications. The Board of Chiropractic Examiners would have a clear, unrestrained ability to usurp the responsibility of the legislature because the bill allows the board itself to define chiropractors’ scope of practice. The bill also would prevent any other licensing agency from having the authority to challenge such intrusions by non-licensed individuals into their practice acts. And, the Chiropractic Board is free to adopt reimbursement rules and protect its licensees against any legal opposition. Again, using “billing codes” of another licensee is unlimited in this bill. It would open up the billing codes of all licensees, including those of physicians. This bill is the companion to SB 1001.

Diagnostic Imaging: Dr. Austin also testified today on HB 1809 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston). Dr. Austin took the witness stand before the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee. HB 1809 would establish a registration and accrediting process for imaging centers and facilities, at an unknown expense. The measure also specifically excludes hospitals from the requirements.  Dr. Austin highlighted a couple concerns that TMA has about the measure. The first being the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already has approved accreditation standards that all imaging providers must meet, effective Jan. 1, 2012. It may be establishing a duplication of effort in registration and accreditation — thus, setting up a scenario for conflicting standards.

Dawn Buckingham, MD
Silent PPOs: Dawn Buckingham, MD, an Austin ophthalmologist, will testify today in support of a Committee Substitute for HB 1534, by Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston) before the House Insurance Committee. The measure is a first step toward ensuring transparent and appropriate actions by rental networks and other third-party entities in the health care market. The proposed committee substitute seeks to balance access to preferred provider organization (PPO) networks while making their actions transparent when using a physician or other health care provider discount. Twenty-eight states already have adopted such regulation. The legislation by Representative Eiland is a product of months of negotiations among TMA, THA, the Texas Association of Health Plans, and the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations.

Senate Working on Abortion Sonogram Compromise (Texas Tribune)
Anti-Abortion Groups Disagree On End-Of-Life Legislation
(Texas Tribune)
Obama sizes up options for health care cuts
(MSNBC News)

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