Massage Therapists: Excluded & Discriminated Against
FL Auto Insurance Coverage Now Excludes Massage & Acupuncture Treatments; Massage Therapy and Acupuncture as viable health care services under FL PIP no-fault law have been excluded "no matter what entity, provider or licensee provides the service." Florida Massage Therapists and Acupuncturists have been totally excluded & discriminated against in the new Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law just signed by FL Governor Rick Scott. Thousands of massage therapists will lose jobs within the medical community. It is being reported to me that some are fearful of losses of jobs, their homes, means of transportation, student loans will be come due and un-payable, as well as other family supports such as food and school supplies. Unemployment will rise.
What else has been eliminated? Patient's Rights to medical treatment of choice! Patients involved in FL automobile accidents will no longer be able to have choices of medical providers such as a massage therapist, acupuncturist or even a chiropractor in some cases. Physicians have lost their right to refer their patients to medical providers of choice for soft tissue injuries.
What has been severely reduced? Automobile personal injury protection (PIP) also known as no-fault auto insurance coverage, as FL drivers, passengers, policyholders and accident victims have known it since 1972 is gone. It is still considered no-fault, however the benefits of a fully paid up $10,000.00 policy will be worth only $2,500.00 if the injured party does not go to an emergency room, or other legislatively determined provider, to be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition (EMC) within 14 days of the accident. Chiropractors are not included in those allowed to make emergency medical decisions even if condition includes the spine or other conditions most treated by a chiropractor. This means that $7,500 of a $10,000 paid for policy will be retained by the insurer if patient does not have an emergency medical condition and if that condition is not determined in 14 days of the accident. (There is no clear definition of what is meant by EMC at this time). Patients are also subjected to an evaluation under oath (EUO) at the whim of an insurance adjuster before claims are paid.
Fraud was used as the reason for excluding massage therapists.
FL Governor Rick Scott, whose goal was to "save citizens money," has changed the entire landscape of auto protection with the recent law he signed into being on May 4th 2012. Governor Scott, set his sights on the victory of revamping FL PIP coverage and helping insurance companies reduce expenses. In doing so he based some of his reasons for fraud on fraudulent insurance billing by massage therapists. However the true fraud issues were never truly or totally addressed during this revamp. According to what was referred to as a "PIP Working Group Report created by the Fl Dept. of Financial Services, CFO Jeff Atwater" with invited groups consisting mainly of insurance companies and attorneys, it was stated that massage therapy coding and charges were substantially elevated in the last two years. What was not addressed is that LMTs do not bill insurance without a physician's prescription 'nor the fact that these same codes are utilized by DC's, MD's, Dentists, PT's and other providers. Also the fact that massage therapy has become better known over the past few years as the best soft tissue treatment for auto and work related injuries. Also not addressed was the well known organized crime units and the exploitation of newly licensed massage therapists to help pad PIP claims as well as the implementation of the 2007 (effective 2008) legislatively induced Fee Schedule which caused a legitimate increase of fees by 100 to 150 percent. We were the easy target, the pathway to giving Governor Scott the goal he set his sights on to help insurance companies, not the Citizens of FL, to which he received a check for $100,000.00 from United Insurance Company two days before the bill was passed.
He pushed this law through under the auspices of FRAUD. Yes, fraud does exist in FL No-Fault PIP as it does in all aspects of health care including the hospitals run by Rick Scott when in TN, TX and FL where billions were bilked from Medicare under his watch before becoming FL Governor. Check out Rick Scott, HCA or Columbia Hospitals at www.google.com and see whistleblower and other stories. Fraud reduction was the excuse and promise to insurers in exchange of lowered premiums. And yet according to the new law wording, reduced premiums are not required if the insurer can show reasons they do not have to lower premiums based on other higher costs of doing business.
Won't you help by sharing and donating to our Legal Defense Fund? Help me to help you get your rights back, protect future massage and acupuncture exclusions and discrimination. Several groups such as legitimate health care clinics, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and mobile imaging centers have now banded together to engage a first amendment rights, constitutional attorney to take this to whatever level it has to go to save and protect our (and your) rights now and in the future. I am proud to say that many massage therapists in other states, seeing that this can ultimately affect them in years ahead, have been extremely supportive in our efforts to overturn this insane law and have been donating to our cause. Won't you, in the name of protection against discrimination and exclusion in the future please help by sharing this information with others including massage supply companies and services that will also lose income if FL and other states massage therapists, due to financial losses, cannot purchase their wares? Donate if you will to our attorney legal fund by going to my newly created not- for- profit corporation secure website and bank account with "United Practitioners Organization Inc." No amount is too small and we appreciate whatever you feel comfortable with. Go to www.flpipdefensefund.com to get more of the picture and the Donate Buttons on this website. Time is of the essence. We need to do this before the law goes into effect July 1st. 2012.
Sincerely, Vivian M. Mahoney, LMT
Insurance Billing Consultant & CE Provider
www.flpipdefensefund.com or www.flpipripoff.com