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Massage Today
March 5, 2013

Florida PIP Lawsuit Update

By Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT

It's no surprise; we saw this crash coming loud and clear in our rear-view mirrors for over a year now as we watched two major auto insurance related bills move through the Florida legislative process in 2012.

You as a Florida driver, passenger, pedestrian, household family member or other person involved in a motor vehicle crash will see major deductions in the insurance benefits that you think you already paid for with your premiums. One major loss is that if you are injured you can no longer receive any massage therapy or any acupuncture services.

Massage therapy and acupuncture in any form, no matter who provides it, is no longer reimbursed to help relieve pain and suffering for your muscle-related injuries. Muscle pain needs muscle therapy specialists to bring relief of pain and correction of conditions that have resulted in not being treated by any other means. When, as a muscle therapy specialist, you can see a patient of years in pain and suffering and on medications that caused internal bleeding finally get relief and be able to eliminate such medications because of massage therapy services, there's no better testimony that massage therapy works to help those injured in any accident that affects the patients musculature systems. Now, a medical service provided for 29 years has been abolished by Governor Scott with his promises to help insurers save money and his strong hold on legislators during 2012 legislative session.

This legislation was introduced as a trade-off - decrease PIP insurance rates (because all Floridians are required to purchase $10,000 in PIP insurance and all PIP insurance carriers are required to sell $10,000 in PIP insurance) in return for limiting the coverage provided. Despite this, the PIP insurance premiums continue to rise with the carriers arguing that they are not raising rates as much as they could!

This travesty has just begun. Is anyone listening? Does anyone really care that the state of Florida is essentially saying that massage therapy and acupuncture are pointless, associated with fraud and not worthy of being reimbursed by the sole healthcare insurer for injuries arising out of motor vehicle accidents? Do you realize that the state of Florida is unilaterally benefiting PIP insurance carriers at a tremendous cost to the very citizens it is supposed to protect?

It's been so discouraging to realize that so many LMT's are pretty complacent, not caring or not wanting or willing to get involved or are unwilling to stand up for their own rights or those of their patients, even if that patient might someday be themselves or a family member (God forbid). They seem to just let this go by as if it has never happened. Just because they do not accept insurance, they have tossed this whole PIP issue out the window. I have heard such remarks as, "I don't take insurance so it does not affect me."

We have more than 33,000 LMTs in Florida and more than 100,000 in this country. Out of all of these, I could only muster up donations (so far) from about 250 of them. And out of those, 44 were donations from therapists and doctors in states other than Florida, including a chiropractor from Alaska!

If you are interested in helping LMTs continue to make a living in the medical field in Florida (and elsewhere to prevent this from spreading to other states), please go to www.flpipdefensefund.com and donate a few dollars to our cause to save PIP from the wolves and get us back in the game! Help to stand by the brave and steadfast plaintiffs in this case who stuck their necks out to stand up for all of us!


Click here for more information about Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT.

 

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