March 28, 2018 – Florida Governor Rick Scott signed innovative legislation last week, allowing health care providers to contract directly with patients and employers to provide primary care services without the traditional oversight of the Office of Insurance Regulation. The new law, a result of a Bill sponsored by Rep. Danny Burgess (R-San Antonio), includes chiropractic physicians among the providers authorized to enter into these agreements. It becomes law on July 1, 2018.
Scott’s approval marked the culmination of a four-year effort, originally spearheaded by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) with the support of the Florida Chiropractic Association (FCA) and other provider and business groups, to gain legislative approval of this groundbreaking new concept in providing health care services. The new law will allow chiropractors, among other providers, to enter into direct agreements with employers to provide primary care services to employees as a benefit. Additionally, providers can make arrangements to deliver care for affordable monthly fees personalized to a family or individual. Most importantly, these primary care agreements are exempt from insurance regulation.
While the earliest version of the proposed legislation did not include chiropractors, the FCA working together and as a member of the NFIB, convinced lawmakers that chiropractors should be included. The law accordingly defines primary care provider as an allopath, osteopath, chiropractor or nurse who provides primary care to patients. Primary care service is defined as the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of a patient conducted within the competency and training of the primary care provider for the purpose of promoting health or detecting and managing disease or injury.
The FCA sought to include chiropractors in this statute not only to provide a new business opportunity and better access to chiropractic care, but, also to express clearly in state statutes that chiropractic physicians provide primary care services. Looking ahead, the FCA is now busy developing new materials to assist providers in better understanding this new concept and how to put it to work in practice.
This new legislation comes shortly after another major legislative accomplishment this season. With the Legislature’s final adjournment came the end of another attempt to repeal Florida’s decades-old no-fault/personal injury protection insurance system, instead replacing it with a requirement that drivers carry mandatory bodily injury insurance. The attempt was a top priority for Florida’s trial lawyers but opposed by the FCA and most major insurers. While the PIP repeal proposal quickly sailed out of the House during the earliest days of the session, the Senate took a more measured approach and a study revealing likely premium hikes for most drivers helped put the brakes on their proposal. The issue is now dead for 2018, but, is likely to resurface in the 2019 Florida legislative session.
Source: Florida Chiropractic Association