Chiropractic's role in state worker's compensation systems appears to be increasingly tenuous, as evidenced by proposed legislation in several states including California, where Senate Bill 863 is currently under deliberation. In The Golden State, the California Chiropractic Association is vigorously opposing SB 863, which the CCA contends "would eliminate the right for injured workers to select a doctor of chiropractic specialist as a Qualified Medical Examiner, and would prohibit a [DC] 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."
Longtime readers of Dynamic Chiropractic will recall that in 2003, then-California Governor Gray Davis signed a package of bills into law that, much like the current legislation, was intended to reform the state worker's compensation system. The 2003 legislation capped at 24 the number of visits a patient could make to a doctor of chiropractic for work-related injuries. SB 863 takes this restriction one step further.
"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 the CCA's 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."
To track the status of Senate Bill 863, which may establish a precedent impacting worker's compensation policy relative to chiropractic in other states if passed, visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.