Proposed Changes Rushed Without Proper Vetting
(Sacramento, CA) - The California Chiropractic Association (CCA) objects to the state Legislature trying to fast-track a controversial workers’ compensation deal through the waning days of the session, knowing the proposed changes would lead to unreasonable denials of cost-effective treatment for Californians injured on the job.
“The proposed changes to California’s workers’ compensation system will increase permanent disability benefits for some injured workers at the expense of those who need immediate care,” said Kenneth Winer, DC, chair of CCA governmental affairs department. “Only a small minority of permanently injured workers will gain under the changes that are being discussed while many injured workers will be forfeiting control of their medical treatment and their right to have care managed by doctor of chiropractic.”
CCA calls for the Legislature to review workers’ compensation proposals next year in full legislative hearings, rather than trying to use “gut and amend” tactics – where one bill is entirely gutted at the last minute and amended with, often, completely different language so the replacement bill can be quickly passed with little or no public scrutiny or without having to go through the normal committee process.
“California’s Workers’ Compensation System is large and complex, and there is simply no rationale for attempting to move such a far-reaching piece of legislation in the remaining days and hours of this legislative session,” said Winer. “The reason previous workers’ compensation reforms now require revision is because of unintended consequences, which resulted from failure of the parties involved to properly consider the ramifications of the effects of the reforms. Let’s not repeat those mistakes.”
CCA and its members are outraged that the current proposed “reform” package would eliminate the right for injured workers to select a doctor of chiropractic specialist as a Qualified Medical Examiner, and would prohibit a doctor of chiropractic who has reached the 24-visit treatment cap from continuing to manage the patient’s care -- even if the doctor is within the employer’s Medical Provider Network.
Doctors of chiropractic are trained and licensed to serve as primary care doctors. The treatment approaches used by doctors of chiropractic include diagnosis, manipulation of the spine and other joints; physiotherapy; dietary and nutritional counseling; exercise and rehabilitation, along with advice about ergonomics. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the structure and the function of the body and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.
Doctors of chiropractic provide effective cost- efficient care without the use of drugs or invasive surgeries and should be in any health care system focused on prevention and wellness. Some patients, such as firefighters and police officers need ongoing chiropractic care to stay on the job, but the cost for those visits is among the lowest charged by most health care providers. In fact, data from recent Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) economic reports show cost increases in California’s workers’ compensation system actually stem from increased diagnostic testing and use of prescription drugs and addictive pain killers; which are not, in any way, part of the doctor of chiropractic scope of practice.
“Injured workers deserve the right to have a full debate and discussion about proposed changes to the system that regulates access to the care they need to get better, get back to work and stay on the job,” Winer said. “CCA and our members call on the Legislature and Gov. Brown to drop this dangerous and misguided effort to deal with workers’ comp through a late-session ‘gut and amend’ tactic.”
California Chiropractic Association is a Sacramento-based statewide, nonprofit organization of doctors of chiropractic and allied industries representing the chiropractic profession. Established in 1928, CCA’s mission is to promote high standards of professionalism and patient care through education, advocacy and accountability.