On November 5th in Tallahassee, FL Senators will be holding a Committee meeting to discuss the current PIP lawsuit and discussion on changing over to a Bodily Injury system. You as a member of the FSMTA will be represented. Our Attorney Adam Levine will be attending to represent FSMTA’s membership and to speak to the Committee on our behalf if requested. Our Lobbyist will also be present on your behalf as well.
As the Legislative session gears up the FSMTA will be closely monitoring any proposed bills that may impact our profession through our two Lobbyist and our two Attorneys and our Legislative Chair. Check the website often for updates as well as the State Facebook page. You can also click on Legislative Updates under the Member Login tab to read past post and current updates.
We will be returning to Tallahassee in 2014 for our Legislative Awareness Days so be sure to connect to your local Chapter and plan to attend along with other LMT Members from across the State to ensure your voice is heard through your active involvement.
Leiah Carr, State President
PIP CASE UPDATE:
COURT RULES AGAINST PIP TEMPORARY INJUNCTION
(Tallahassee, FL Wednesday, October 23, 2013)
Today the First District Court of Appeal, three judge appellate panel ruled in the appeal by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) of Judge Lewis’ order of temporary injunction issued on March 18, 2013 in Myers v. McCarty.
The order reverses the March ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis that said the law illegally prevented those injured in automobile accidents from using their PIP insurance coverage to pay for treatment by Acupuncture Physicians and Licensed Massage Therapists, and limited the services from Chiropractors.
In order to address fraud and abuse within Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system the Legislature chose to completely eliminate two licensed professions from providing services to those injured in automobile accidents, in effect punishing all law abiding practitioners in these professions for the crimes of a few. These professions were completely eliminated from providing treatment, all the while there were laws in place to deal with the issue of fraud. In regards to therapy provided by Licensed Massage Therapists, there were existing requirements in place that did not permit treatment or billing for services without a valid prescription from a Medical Doctor with a diagnosis, statement indicating the treatment was medically necessary, and a directive on the length and duration of treatment. The Legislatures did not pursue seeking out and punishing the entire M.D.’s profession for the fraud committed by a few.
In the future Senate Banking and Insurance Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, has stated that he’s moving forward with a proposal to scrap no-fault at the request of a number of insurance officials. Senator Simmons is moving forward on their behalf with little regard for the citizens of Florida and the impact such a law change will have on their ability to have their medical treatment cost covered without personal out of pocket financial impact, or the long delays that will be associated with the large number of cases that will then be required to go to court under such a system. This potential change will have a negative impact on the injured public both in terms of their ability to afford to pay up front for necessary treatment, delays attorneys will experience in receiving their payment for handling the cases, and create a backlog in the courts to hear these cases as a result of the large number of drivers who experience accidents State wide 365 days a year. These situations were faced by Legislators many years ago which is why the PIP system was put in place in the first place. The reasons are even more valid today with even greater numbers of drivers on the roads in Florida.
Shifting to a Bodily Injury based system will not eliminate fraud, it will simply change the way those who chose to break the law go about doing so. This approach is like believing that building more jails stops crime from occurring. Enforcement of the laws, arrest and prosecution is what helps to stop crime.
The FSMTA is not in favor of this approach to reduce insurance fraud in the medical community when there are laws in place to address the issue without eliminating massage therapy and an entire profession from providing services. Massage Therapy is a valid and effective treatment for soft tissue injuries which helps to speed healing and recovery time, thereby saving both the consumer and the insurance company money.
FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS HEARING FOR ORAL ARGUMENTS
SEPTEMBER 17th is the date when attorneys Luke Lirot and Adam Levine will present their oral arguments before the 1st District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee to fight for all Licensed Massage Therapist, Acupuncturist, Chiropractors, as well as Florida consumers. This is an extremely significant hearing which will ultimately impact every Floridian as a driver or passenger.
On March 15,2013, the attorneys representing the healthcare providers in the case obtained a Temporary Injunction against the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), the effect of which was to prevent the exclusion of Licensed Massage Therapists and Acupuncture Physicians from being able to provide services and get compensated under PIP Insurance, and also making sure that medical services provided by LMTs, APs, and Chiropractors could be compensated for up to the full $10,000 required by PIP, rather than being limited to $2,500, absent showing the undefined “emergency medical condition.”