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Massage Today
December, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 12

Lawsuit Filed Against Florida PIP Ruling

By Editorial Staff

Florida massage therapists, together with additional allies from the health care community, are fighting a new law that will prohibit the state's massage therapists and acupuncturists from billing personal injury insurance.

According to a release from the organization that has assembled to fight this law, Constitutional attorney Luke Lirot as filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against Kevin N. McCarty in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

The complaint states that "the challenged legislation is invalid on a vast number of bases, generally summarized:

  • It violates the 'single subject rule.'
  • It contains a variety of restrictions that are unnecessary and unreasonable.
  • It violates the equal protection rights of healthcare providers.
  • It denies due process of law.
  • It is based on unsupported statistical assumptions, not the product of proper research methodology.
  • It unduly limits the rights of medical professionals and consumers.
  • It departs from the rationale originally relied on to support the 'No-Fault' regulations as a 'sufficient alternative' to a party having access to the courts, and now results in a denial of access to the courts.
  • It violates the separation of powers doctrine by legislatively imposing a statute that determines the amount of 'damages' an injured party may obtain."

Lawsuit - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark In an article from the September issue of Massage Today, "Florida Legislative Update," Lirot said, "While Insurance companies might be able to pick and choose medical providers, treatments and so forth, the State cannot. If, as the Governor alleges, the high costs to insurers is due to fraud in the PIP system, why then eliminate an entire field of medical providers? Why not go specifically to the fraudulent activity and attack the ones perpetrating the fraud? It is totally unreasonable, unjustifiable, arbitrary and overreaching to eliminate a whole profession of medical providers. Was it just because massage therapists and acupuncturists were the easiest to target?"

The Florida State Massage Therapy Association also issued a statement regarding the PIP lawsuit, stating "The Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA) supports the efforts being taken to challenge the PIP Act, which has had a major impact on the massage therapy profession. We have FSMTA members who are involved in this endeavor, and we encourage any member who wishes to contribute to this challenge or to learn further information to go direct to the website www.flpipdefensefund.com. The FSMTA is not affiliated directly with this organization, and is in no way responsible for the selection of Legal Counsel, or the outcome of this case. The FSMTA continues to research and seek additional avenues to protect our profession and scope of practice."

For additional information about the Florida defense fund or a history of this legislation, see "Legislative Changes in Several States" from the April 2012 issue of Massage Today or visit www.flpipdefensefund.com. Massage Today will continue to monitor this lawsuit as it makes its way through the legal process.

 

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