TAC: What does the FCA do for its members to stimulate practice growth?
FCA: The primary mission of the FCA is to improve access to chiropractic services for Floridians. We do this by legislative initiatives, seeking to knock down barriers and overcome inequities in all of the state-regulated programs that provide for health care services. We also provide continuous updates to our members on the ever-changing methods and procedures for best clinical, documentation and claims procedures through programs at our five annual convention/expositions and at three Success Basic Training programs each year. The FCA web site, www.fcachiro.org, and the FCA Journal keep members up-to-date and informed. While we can’t physically deliver patients to their doors, we can make it easier for Floridians to choose chiropractic and help our members deliver a high quality of service that will be appreciated by their patients and properly reimbursed by the many and varied payors.
TAC: Does the FCA have any relationship with any of the national chiropractic associations? If so, to what extent?
FCA: The FCA has a good working relationship with the American Chiropractic Association, although it is not formally affiliated with any national or international organization. The FCA works cooperatively with the ACA in addressing issues affecting our members, which are national in scope, in areas such as Medicare, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, federal government employee plans, managed care and workers’ compensation, to name a few. The FCA also engages its grassroots network to contact Florida’s congressional delegation when support is requested by the ACA for its legislative initiatives. The FCA has supported legal efforts by the ACA and has been a steady contributor to the National Chiropractic Legal Assistance Fund since its inception, with more than $26,000 in direct contributions made to date.
TAC: After Florida State University rejected the chiropractic college that the FCA worked so hard to realize, what impact do you feel this might have had on the image of chiropractors in Florida?
FCA: In fact, Florida State University did not reject the chiropractic college. It was the Florida Board of Governors—a new higher education governing body established by Florida voters via constitutional amendment—that rejected the proposal. The Board of Governors chose to exercise its authority and make a political statement to the Florida Legislature, which had fully funded the school without prior approval or consideration by the BOG. The chiropractic degree program proposal was caught in a political power play. Adding to the volatile situation was fear mongering and interference by a few in the medical community who manufactured a controversy in the media. The pain was very real for all in the chiropractic community who worked so hard to make the chiropractic public degree program a reality.
We are extremely encouraged, however, by the results of a Mason-Dixon poll conducted during the heat of the controversy, which showed that 72 percent of Floridians favored the establishment of a public chiropractic degree program. Apparently, the consuming public in Florida highly approves of chiropractic!
TAC: Do you intend to seek university affiliation elsewhere?
FCA: Based on input from our elected leadership, the FCA would again pursue this same initiative at another public university. What we learned from this experience is that it would take a highly motivated university that really wants the program to really push for its approval through the many levels of political hierarchy in the university system.
While the general public values chiropractic services, those in the university system have had very little direct interaction with chiropractic educators and researchers and are highly skeptical as a result. The right university would need to educate its faculty from within, build a strong consensus of support for the program and then invest the effort and dollars to push for the program within the university governance system. Only a strong and highly motivated university would have standing to move such a proposal forward within Florida’s current governance system.
TAC: Any other particular issue of interest about which you want to let our readers know?
FCA: We are excited about the upcoming FCA National Convention, August 26-28, at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee. This is a perfect facility that our attendees will truly enjoy and it has lots of space to allow our expo to expand to a record 500 exhibits. It offers great opportunities for family fun, as well. We will have more than 40 concurrent educational sessions showcasing some of the brightest minds in chiropractic and kick-off plenary sessions that will focus on the future of chiropractic and what doctors of chiropractic can do in their offices each day to improve not only their own individual futures, but the future of the entire profession.
The ACA Sports Council will hold its Annual Sports Symposium concurrently with FCA National. It’s going to be a huge, fun and enlightening event!
TAC: What legal issues are chiropractors dealing with in Florida that are typical throughout the country?
FCA: The legal issues are similar to those nationwide, typically having to do with barriers to access, equality and a constant “changing of the rules” by the various third party reimbursement systems. Because virtually every Florida-regulated health care program includes chiropractic, the diversity of different programs and the ever-changing “rules” of claim filing can be very tough for the D.C. and his or her office staff to manage.
TAC: How is the Florida chiropractic community handling reimbursement issues with insurance companies? Any creative solutions you’d like to share?
FCA: As we mentioned, the diversity of the programs that pay for care—from health insurance to Personal Injury Protocol to Medicaid to Medicare to workers’ compensation—creates a challenge for our members. We have used member e-mail bulletins to tremendous advantage when a policy, procedure or coding change occurs. The 55 percent of our membership that is on the e-mail list receives immediate word of any change and the appropriate form or detailed information is posted immediately on the FCA web site. The other 45 percent of our membership, then, is “snail mailed” the same information. When we hear of specific patterns of abuse by carriers, our members are alerted to provide documentation and the matter is handled by General Counsel with the appropriate regulatory agency.
The FCA has a full-time insurance liaison on staff and very active volunteer committees who will engage to meet with and educate specific payors or address specific problem areas. Some problems are best addressed by seeking a change in the statute through legislative lobbying efforts or by asking for a clarification in bureaucratic rules. The FCA web site has proved to be an invaluable asset, keeping vital and current information right at our members’ fingertips.
For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call 407-290-5883.