Nebraska Seeks to Remove “Referral” Language

Here’s an update from Donna Huber with the Nebraska Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association:

Public Hearing for LB962

After many years of working toward removing the physician referral language from our statute, our Bill, LB962 was introduced to the Nebraska Legislature on January 14, 2016, by Senator Nicole Fox.  The public hearing was then scheduled in front of the Health & Human Services Committee for the afternoon of February 5, 2016.  Four L.Ac.’s met in the lobbyists office an hour before the hearing to go over what was going to happen.  We refined statements and decided who would say what.  The lobbyist told us there was no known opposition but that didn’t mean that they wouldn’t show up.

Sen. Fox read the Bill to to the HHS committee and gave a brief overview of our 407 review.  Then, in order, people FOR the Bill, AGAINST the Bill, and Neutral about the Bill go up to testify.  I looked around the room and noticed the Chiropractors.  I immediately assumed they were there in opposition, as they WERE in opposition during the entire 407 Review.  I went first and introduced myself, thanked Sen. Fox for introducing the bill and the Committee for hearing it. I explained who I was in the story and that I had been working on this proposal in some form or fashion for 13 years.  I then brought it back to the 407 Review.  I explained that in spite of being told we would not likely get YES recommendations the first time out, we in fact DID.  From all THREE; the Committee, the Board of Health and the Medical Director.  By spotlighting our high level of education, skill, training and our stringent national competency measures, we effectively showed that we are the experts in our field, and that we shared with the committee, concerns for public safety.  Next up, Maureen Feeney, a R.N. AND L.Ac., read a physician letter of support that I got from my friend and colleague, Dr. Victoria Maclin, a Reproductive Endocrinologist in Omaha. And then, things got interesting……….

The Committee Chair, Sen. Campbell asked if there were any more proponents.  Well, the man representing the Chiropractors walked up.  I thought to myself, did he misunderstand her?  No, he did not.  Mr. Steve Grasz, on behalf of the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association, testified in SUPPORT of Acupuncture LB962!  Shock and Awe.  He went on to CONGRATULATE the acupuncture profession on completing our statutory 407 Review and crafting legislation that strikes a balance between public access and public safety.  Yes, my jaw was on the floor.  And it just gets even better!!  Mr. Grasz goes on to raise concerns about PTs in Nebraska doing DN. By contrasting our completion of the 407 Review and the fact that PTs are trying to pass something WITHOUT the 407 Review, he effectively raised concerns with a couple of the committee members.  However, the Chairwoman, Sen. Campbell, made a comment that she will fill the committee in on “the PT story”, whatever THAT means!! Here is a link to a request for a formal opinion from the Attorney General.  So, in an ironic twist, it would seem that we might just be teaming up with the Chiropractors on the bigger task of bringing the TPDN story to light.  Here is a link to the Hearing Video Clips.  If you watch nothing else, I highly recommend watching the 5th  one down, linked here.  After the Chiropractic support, the Nebraska Medical Association ALSO testified in support.  It was a GREAT day at the legislature.

As of February 11, 2016, LB962 was voted out of committee and is now positioned for debate on the floor by the entire legislature.  We are awaiting our next steps as we continue our fundraising efforts.  Stay Tuned!  Like our FaceBook page.  Visit NAOMA website (a work in progress).  Thank you for any and all support!