With the new year and the first session of the 117th Congress now underway, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is ready to tackle several important legislative issues on behalf of ACA members, patients and the chiropractic profession. The ACA Legislative Committee met recently and established priorities for the new congressional session.
Sending my gratitude to the ACA community this season.
Since I was a child, I have been told by my seniors that time accelerates as you age. I don’t believe I am all that old, but the past two years that I have served as ACA president certainly have been a lesson in accelerated time. So much has changed and so much has been thrown at ACA over the past two years. The most important message I can impart, as my cycle as president comes to an end, is that ACA is in great shape.
Federal government relations is a complex and exciting field, especially for membership associations such as the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Not only do we represent our dedicated ACA members, but also their patients and, as an extension, the more than 30 million Americans who receive chiropractic care each year. A critical component of ACA’s government relations work is safeguarding and advancing public trust in chiropractic—and this is at the forefront of our work with policymakers.
This Thursday, July 9, marks one year since the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (H.R. 3654) was introduced in Congress. To celebrate, ACA Blogs checked in with ACA's top lobbyist John Falardeau to see how far we have come in generating support for this game-changing legislation…and what still needs to be done to get the bill passed before the end of the congressional session later this year.
ACA Missouri delegate Quinn James, DC, reached a milestone recently in his advocacy efforts on behalf of H.R. 3654, the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act: He managed to get the last of all eight of Missouri’s members of the U.S. House of Representatives to become cosponsors of the legislation. Missouri is the first state in the U.S. with multiple representatives to get all on board. Earlier this year, at ACA’s annual meeting, Dr. James was awarded the ACA Political Action Committee’s F. Dow Bates PAC Bulldog Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions. ACA Blogs reached out to Dr. James to learn more about his effective approach for winning over cosponsors.
Recently, Medicare providers, including chiropractors, who filed claims in 2019 discovered that funds were distributed automatically to their checking accounts. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers and will not need to be repaid. Since the payments began to appear in checking accounts, ACA has been receiving several questions, especially from chiropractors who have not received the payments yet. In some of these cases, people are not looking in the right places. Therefore, if you have not received a Medicare stimulus payment to date, here are some steps you can take to ensure you don’t inadvertently miss it.
ACA President Robert C. Jones, DC, offers his reflections on the past year, including a review of progress on key initiatives. "Over the past 12 months, I have had the honor of serving as ACA president and with that the privilege of meeting many ACA members," he writes. "Through our collective efforts as an association, I’m pleased to report that our voice is stronger than ever, thanks in large part to the overall health of ACA and because of the real progress we have made."
August recess provides opportunity for DCs to meet, talk to representatives about H.R. 3654
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are slated to head home to their districts and states on July 26. The start of the traditional summer recess comes after, what both parties will tell you, was a less than productive session, leaving several issues unresolved. Nonetheless, in August, members will hold town hall forums, listening sessions and other public events geared toward gauging constituent views and interests. Doctors of chiropractic are especially encouraged to seek out their federal legislators at these public town hall meetings because they are a great way to begin establishing a relationship, or strengthening an existing one, with your lawmaker's office.
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3654) is bipartisan legislation championed by ACA and introduced in Congress on July 9 by Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.). The bill would correct a longstanding oversight and give seniors access to the full array of Medicare services that their doctors of chiropractic are qualified and licensed to provide in their respective states.
ACA continues its work to re-introduce a bill that would increase access to chiropractic services for Medicare beneficiaries. A similar bill introduced in 2018 is being used as a starting point for a 2019 bill and was a focal point at NCLC 2019. The proposed legislation would simply update the current Medicare statute and allow patients to access all Medicare-covered benefits permitted under a chiropractor’s licensure.