Your Action Needed to Pass HR 1655 & SB 6161, requiring carriers give providers a cost-of-living increase in fee schedules based on the consumer price index.
The 2024 Legislative Session began January 8, 2024. This year the session is just 60 days, and we have a lot to accomplish before it ends. HB 1655 is the legislation that will require insurance carriers to give health care providers an annual fee schedule increase based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), for those providers who are not attached to a hospital, or hospital affiliate. The proposed legislation is not just for chiropractors, but for all professions who are practicing in a small group clinic or independently.
In 2023, the House Health Care & Wellness Committee had a hearing on the bill, and depending on proposed amendments the Chair may require an additional hearing. We now have a Senate companion bill, SB 6161, which will expand the discussion into the Senate and create more support for this issue.
For legislation like this to pass, providers who cannot negotiate their fees must act. I know that many chiropractors have asked some carriers to negotiate the contracts, and fee schedules, only to be told no. Some carriers are asking providers to tell them what other carriers are paying you…DO NOT fall into that trap!
- Meet with your legislator and ask them to support HB 1655.
- Email me with the feedback from your legislator. Please put HB 1655 and the legislator’s name in the email subject line and send to LGrassi@chirohealth.org for me to track their feedback.
- If you haven’t met with your legislator yet, contact them now and request a meeting in Olympia during the legislative session. The legislative session began 1/8/2024, with the first of the many deadlines occurring on 1/31/2024. This means that you should try to get an appointment before 1/31/2024, and if the bill makes it through that stage, we will ask you to reach out again via email during the other deadlines during the legislative process. If you need someone to attend the meeting with you, let me know and if I can’t attend, I will find a WSCA Board Representative to attend with you!
- Find your legislator here.
- Find their contact information here. When you click that link you will search for the legislator’s name, or the district number you are in, and you want to be sure to email the legislator, and their legislative aid, to assure a timely meeting.
Here are some details you should share with legislators:
- Provider contracts for small practices, or sole practitioners, are NOT negotiated-they are “take-it-or-leave-it” agreements that do not allow you to negotiate any of the details, including your reimbursement rates.
- Everything in your clinic has been impacted by inflation from the paper supplies you need for cleaning, to equipment upkeep and repairs, to staff salaries.
- Many local governments have implemented minimum wage requirements for employees, but these increases cannot be sustained when provider fee schedules are at 2003 rates.
- The reimbursement rates don’t even cover the cost of the service. Copays for chiropractic are so high that there really is no benefit for the patient-it is essentially a “discount plan” for patients.
There are many arguments you can make that are not in this list. Be sure to explain them thoroughly since most legislators are not health care providers. Give them a chance to ask questions and be sure to follow up with answers. If you don’t know the answer, let me know and I will follow up with details.
The bill effects all health professions if they are not attached to a hospital, or a hospital affiliate. Legislators like bills that are not profession-specific so be sure to explain that this is for those who cannot negotiate contracts.
With your help, we will make progress on this legislation to help increase your fee schedules.