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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2017 09:27 AM
From: Representative John A. Lawrence
To: All House members
Subject: COSPONSOR MEMO – Parity in Provider Reimbursements for Chiropractors to Cut Opioid Usage for Pain Management
Dear Colleagues –

Our state and our nation face a serious opioid epidemic that touches every part of society. Much of the issue stems from the over prescription of opioids for pain management.

Many Medicaid claims are made for the treatment of lower back pain and other pain-management issues. Often, the treatment for such a diagnosis starts with opioid pain killers, and continues with surgery. These surgeries are expensive and are a significant cost driver for the Commonwealth’s Medicaid budget. Alternative treatments, such as Chiropractic treatment, are technically covered by Medicaid, but the low reimbursement to providers ($13 per patient appointment) means most Chiropractors choose to severely limit the number of Medicaid patients they see, if they take Medicaid at all.

The question is this – could a nominal increase in Chiropractor provider reimbursement encourage more Chiropractors to take more Medicaid patients suffering from chronic pain? And could increased Chiropractic care of the Medicaid population bring a twofold benefit – reducing opioid addiction, and decreasing expensive Medicaid claims relating to surgery for lower back pain? The answer from states that have pursued this strategy – yes and yes.

With this in mind, I will be introducing legislation that will provide for parity in provider reimbursement for patient visits to MDs and DOs to Chiropractors. Currently, MDs and DOs receive a higher reimbursement rate per Medicaid patient visit; this legislation would ensure that rates paid Chiropractors would not be paid on less favorable basis that those rates paid to MDs and DOs.

Your support of this initiative would be greatly appreciated.