December 29, 2008 — A coalition of non-MD provider organizations, led and originally founded by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), recently contacted President-elect Barack Obama and key members of Congress regarding the issue of health plan discrimination.
The coalition, known as Patients’ Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA), outlined its stance in a letter dated Dec. 1, 2008.
As noted in its letter, PARCA seeks inclusion of language into any national health reform plan that would ban discrimination against entire classes of non-MD healthcare providers with respect to participation in insurance companies and plans. Importantly, the provisions would also prevent insurance plan discrimination as it relates to the fair reimbursement of services provided by non-MD health professionals.
“While ACA remains focused on many chiropractic-specific legislative initiatives, there are certainly some areas where the profession shares common concerns with a larger body of health care providers,” said ACA President Glenn D. Manceaux, DC. “When common ground exists, ACA feels it’s vitally important to make full use of the potential power and influence of a coalition of provider organizations. Through our participation in PARCA and other alliances, we’re working toward meaningful and beneficial health care reform not only for doctors of chiropractic, but also the patients they serve.”
PARCA coalition members, including the ACA, have long expressed concern that many insurance plans routinely pay non-MD providers fees that are significantly lower than those paid to MDs and DOs, even when the non-MD/DO provider furnishes an identical covered service.
“Excluding entire classes of providers from participating in health plans is preposterous —as are the many schemes that attempt to shortchange non-MD providers with regard to fair reimbursement,” Dr. Manceaux said.
The PARCA coalition also plans to raise concerns about what is currently being dubbed the “medical home” model of healthcare, say ACA officials, a concept that continues to remain vague and ill-defined. While the “medical home” concept is intended to save money and better coordinate a patient’s overall healthcare, PARCA members fear it could lead to the establishment of a “super-class” of MD gatekeepers, who may act in ways that would further deny patient access to services provided by specialists and non-MD health professionals—including doctors of chiropractic. ACA officials predict the “medical home” concept, once better understood and further fleshed out, will prove to be one of the more controversial elements of national healthcare reform.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.amerchiro.org