As I have been talking about in my classes: Legislation championed by ACA to expand Medicare coverage of services has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill, H.R. 7157, introduced on Nov. 16, would allow Medicare beneficiaries to access the chiropractic profession’s broad-based, non-drug approach to pain management, which includes manual manipulation of the spine and extremities, joint mobilization, soft-tissue massage techniques, physiological therapies, exercise instruction, and activity advice. The bill adds no new services; it only allows access to those current Medicare benefits that chiropractors are licensed to provide.
What does this legislation mean for me and my Medicare patients?
Simply put, the bill, and ACA’s entire Medicare initiative is to ensure patient access to all Medicare-covered services that DCs are licensed to provide. It is important to note that our initiative adds no new services. It only allows access to those current Medicare benefits that chiropractors are licensed to provide. The current statute that governs patient access to Medicare has been in place since 1972. It’s antiquated and does not reflect the acceptance of chiropractic into mainstream health care. In addition, it limits patient choice, which is a highlight of our educational efforts with legislators.
Which codes are covered by the proposed bill?
It’s not known exactly which codes would be covered. At a minimum, if passed in its current form, the legislation would include selected evaluation and management (E&M) codes, post-therapy, and certain x-ray codes, if applicable. If and when bills become laws, the federal rulemaking process determines implementation. Details related to codes, reimbursement, and billing will not take place until then.