Here is a sample letter to write to Maryland State Delegates regarding HB1305.
April 2, 2005
Lowe House Office Building
Annapolis MD 21401
Dear Delegate XXXXXXX:
I am a licensed acupuncturist Ö..and live (practice) in your legislative district. I want to thank you for hard work during this legislative session. I know that deliberations over the state budget have been extremely challenging and required skill, dedication, and difficult choices. I am however, writing to you on another matter.
I am aware of legislation currently before your committee which seeks to establish an alternative health care program in the state employee benefit plan and give a percentage of the savings to the company essentially designing and managing the delivery of the care. HB 1305 includes acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy.
Acupuncturists have the utmost respect for the sponsors of the legislation but believe that this bill has serious unintended consequences. While at this late date it appears that you might not act on this bill, I am requesting that you consider my concerns during the Interim and find some time to meet with representatives of my professional Society to discuss this matter.
I and other licensed acupuncturists have grave concerns about this bill and want to register our concerns with you. While we obviously agree that acupuncture is a cost saving practice and an effective form of health care that is used to diagnose and help millions of people become and stay well, we have concerns about the billís implications for the high standards of access and care which Maryland licensed acupuncturists provide.
When the session has ended and you have had an opportunity to rest, I ask you to review this Illinois based companyís website which describes itís efforts throughout the country www.altmedinc.com.
The company has been working in Maryland to pursue itís business proposal for one and one half years and has not yet made an effort to approach the leadership of the Maryland Acupuncture Society. If this is any indication of the concern that they have for licensed providers who would make their saving a reality, I am disturbed.
I and my colleagues have many unanswered questions that we hope to have resolved before the bill comes before you next year. Let me identify a few: If this proposal can save $14 million dollars a year, why has the State Employees Benefit manager not pursued it already? Should not any savings by the use of alternative medicine go to the subscriber / patient in lower premiums? At what cost to the quality of acupuncture care would this proposal be implemented? What has the actual experience been in other states? Would the gatekeeper prevent access? Why is there not a defined fee structure? Why is there not a defined referral system? What is the level and quality of care that patients receive? Why is there not a defined level of preparation for licensees? Is there access to out of network providers? Who will determine the credentialing and participation? Who will determine the level of reimbursement? How will licensed acupuncturists retain control over quality?
We know you understand that licensed acupuncturists are a highly evolved form of health provider who has no interest in participating in a capitated system of service as it is our belief that such an arrangement will interfere with the current level of care which our patients receive.
Please communicate with me, or with Alice J. Neily, firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 353-3861, as to how we may discuss these issues over the summer.
With gratitude for your hard work,