If you have been following my blog, you will know that I keep politics out of this blog. I feel there are many political things on the internet and I do not need to add to the screaming. However, in this case, a bill coming before the Florida Senate (SB 1860) will severely impact the life and business of those who are licensed massage therapists and acupuncturists.
There are many thousands of massage therapists and acupuncturists in the state of Florida. I realize that if you don't live in Florida, this does not apply to you. Nevertheless, I think some of this information needs to see the light of day. Please feel free to pass this on, so hopefully the Senate will listen to those in this profession.
First off, here is the link to Florida Senate Bill S1860. In this PIP reform, which is most likely needed, massage and acupuncture have been specifically excluded from reimbursement. See page 19 of the following pdf file for specific wording. http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/1860/BillText/c1/PDF
Second, it appears that the reason they are excluding massage and acupuncture is because these professions issue the largest average charges of any provider that bill within the PIP system. See the following link for more information behind this legislation. It is more about the insurers not having to pay out these claims than anything else. (see page 6 and page 15 of the following pdf) http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/1860/Analyses/NwTYTcESAap0Ei3kJiZg3rxMBWY=|11/Public/Bills/1800-1899/1860/Analysis/2012s1860.pre.bi.PDF
A note about massage therapy and acupuncture: These things do work and studies can be found on the internet and through the Touch Research Institute in Miami to provide scientific evidence. However, it does not appear in the Senate Bill Analysis that this was taken into consideration. It only appears that the largest average charges were the consideration behind this decision. Does that not strike you as odd? If something works, yet you exclude it, there has to be a reason. However, since no consideration to scientific evidence is given in what I can find online, then red flags are raised in my mind.
Let's Dig Deeper - who introduced this bill? According to the bill, Senator Joe Negron of Palm City, Florida introduced this bill. You can contact Senator Negron at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 772-219-1665 or 1-888-759-0791. His address is 3500 SW Corporate Parkway, Suite 204, Palm City, Florida, 34990.
Follow The Money - If you continue to dig a little, you'll quickly see who were his top campaign contributors in 2010. This is the only information that I could easily find. The list includes the top 5 and the source of this information is http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Joe_Negron
1) Florida Police Benevolent Association
2) Florida Hospital Association
3) Northport Health Services
4) Hospital Corp Of America
5) Preferred Care Partners
If you start to follow the trail of facts, you can easily see that there is more than meets the eye. I am sure that medical providers such as some of the campaign contributors do not like the fact that medical dollars are being spent on something for which they do not profit. They may disagree and claim they have the best interest of all people at heart, but where there is money - there is power and influence in regulation. After all, too many people in these organizations and in the state government fail to see massage or accupuncture as valid health care procedures.
It is easy for these people to enact legislation out of ignorance, but what surprises me is that they do not appear to have made any attempt to understand why massage and acupuncture are being used in these areas. If they did that, then maybe I would feel a little different. Allowing the appearance of campaign donations influencing legislation is not a legitimate way to serve the people you are sworn to serve. Ignorance of facts does not constitute governance.
Do we need PIP reform? The answer is we probably do, but maybe further study and consultation with all industries involved should be done before legislation is brought up for a vote. Harming the very people that have undergone licensing requirements as put forth by the state legislature is not only absurd, but wrong at a basic level. I wonder how these senators can go home and sleep at night. You would think that somewhere along the way, the tiny little voice in the back of their head would be chattering loudly.
If you have further information that I am missing, please feel free to email me and I will amend this blog post with links to the information you provide. If the State Senate feels I have inaccurately presented these facts, you are free to inform me of why you feel it is necessary to harm massage therapists and acupuncturists rather than finding the solution that encompasses all Floridians, not just a few corporations. I know this is not the first time that the massage therapy association has been maligned and attempts to push it aside been undertaken.
Massage therapy is not just for a vacation or a day at the spa. Acupuncture is not some pseudo science. These things are legitimate healing practices. In fact, if more thought and emphasis was placed upon these practices, there would be a greater probability that our society would be much more healthy than it is. However, I do understand that this eats into the profits of big health care providers and so it is easier to ostracize legitimate healing practices, than to work with them. It would be utopia that the healthcare industry would work together with alternative healthcare methods with a desire to really treat the individual and help them heal, rather than to only increase the profit margins.
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