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Dynamic Chiropractic
November 16, 1998, Volume 16, Issue 24

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PARCA Bill -- No Legislation, but Some Gain


As the 105th Congress drew to a close, and the legislative agenda gave way to soap operaesque distractions and re-election maneuvering, it became obvious that our representatives would not pass a serious managed care reform bill. While this represents a significant victory for managed care companies and the insurance industry, the chiropractic profession did score some points.

The Patient Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA) is a coalition of over 80 consumer and provider groups lead by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). The coalition includes associations of nurses; occupational therapists; optometrists; oral surgeons; physical therapists; podiatrists; pharmacists; and psychologists.

The PARCA coalition proposed a managed care reform bill that ultimately gained co-sponsorship from 234 representatives. The most important aspects of the bill were patient protection, anti™discrimination against providers and a point-of-service option for policyholders.

Even though the bill died in the legislature, there were a number of positive outcomes:

Exposure: Perhaps the greatest benefit of PARCA was the exposure chiropractic and the ACA received from the media:

¬ Profiles," and in "American Health Line," an e-mail news service provided by the National Journal;∆(#∆

¬ quoted in the article "Nonphysician Health Groups Are Driving Force behind Efforts to Regulate Managed-Care Plans" (Wall Street Journal, March 25);∆(#∆

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¬ the Birmingham News and Business and Health;∆(#∆

¬
DC, on 25 stations in just three days.∆(#∆

The increased media exposure for chiropractic with the PARCA bill has benefitted us on other fronts: some 40 reporters contacted the ACA regarding the chiropractic studies published in the October New England Journal of Medicine.

Intra-Professional Networking -- As part of the PARCA coalition, the ACA was able to insure that the interests of the chiropractic profession were considered by a number of other health care‘ members worked together on other legislative efforts beyond PARCA. PARCA gave birth to coalitions for other efforts that include chiropractic interests.

Congressional Exposure -- With over 234 PARCA co-sponsors, the ACA was able to develop and expand relationships with over half of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Obviously, the better our relationship with congressional leaders, the better chances of passing future legislation.

"The ACA intends to provide support and leadership on the issue of managed care reform in the 106th Congress," noted Michael Pedigo, DC, ACA president. "Our goal is the passage of bipartisan legislation similar to the PARCA legislation in the 105th Congress."

Dr. Pedigo said the most critical areas for the chiropractic profession were point-of-service which truly allows patients to choose their health care providers; help prevent MCOs from discriminating against health care professionals based on licensure, which fosters competition and a level playing field; and "provisions that hold ERISA-regulated MCOs legally accountable for negligent health care decisions."

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Dynamic Chiropractic
November 16, 1998, Volume 16, Issue 24

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