The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a new position allowing for the completion of the "BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination" by "state-licensed physicians".
On July 15, 2016, Congress passed legislation to extend the FAA's funding. This legislation, FAA Extension, Safety, Security Act of 2016 (FESSA) includes relief from holding an FAA medical certificate for certain pilots. This relieve is called BasicMed, and allows certain pilots to qualify for fitness under the BasicMed examination by a "state-licensed physician" in lieu of a third class flight physical by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).
The FAA has further determined that the regulatory agencies may determine if the physicians regulated by their board are qualified under scope to provide the BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination.
On November, 2017; the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners determined that chiropractors in Minnesota are qualified to provide the BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination. This position established and supported in multiple past legal opinions, [see Board website under Current Issues: Authority of Chiropractors to Perform Certain Physical Exams".] Any chiropractors performing the BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination must contact the FAA to obtain the forms and requirements prior to engaging in this service. More information is available on the Federation for Chiropractic Licensing Boards' (FCLB) website.
It has come to the attention of the Board that certain forms of advertising/marketing may place the licensee at significant risk of being in violation of the laws related to fee-splitting. Licensees should remember that certain forms of conduct that are available to the general public may be inappropriate or impermissible for use by health care professionals. One such form of advertising/marketing is exemplified by online batch-offer companies, such as Groupon and Living Social. The structure currently utilized by these and similar companies is simply not appropriate for doctors of chiropractic, as it constitutes “Fee splitting,” which is prohibited by the practice act.
The structure referred to here is:
A member of the public receives an online offer for discounted chiropractic services from a non-chiropractor company. This member of the public purchases this service from the non-chiropractor company. In this case, we’ll say the service is advertised for $40, by way of example. This full $40 is paid to the non-chiropractor company by the prospective patient, who then receives a certificate for the service.
Of the $40 paid by the patient, the company keeps $20, and gives the doctor $20. The patient then provides the certificate to the doctor, and receives the specified service. This structure, while perhaps permissible for the general public, is simply prohibited by the chiropractic (and other) practice acts, as it constitutes fee splitting. This derives from the fact that the company is getting paid on a per-person basis for referral of patients. The doctor in this scenario is, quite literally, splitting his/her fee with an unlicensed third party. Licensees are strongly cautioned to avoid any marketing situation in which any third party receives compensation that is in any manner tied to the number of referrals made.
UNETHICAL PRACTICES, Re: 1-800-411-PAIN, Truman Injury, and Sergio Triana vs. The Board members of the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners./
Recently, the Legislature amended a law [M.S. 65B.54, Subd. 6(d)(1)-(3), (5), and (6)] related to personal injury insurance. This law has become the subject of a constitutional challenge and request for injunction filed in Federal Court to prevent or modify this law’s implementation. Driving the suit, was 1) the fact that the licensing authorities (i.e. the Boards) were empowered to take disciplinary action against a licensee who violated the law, and 2) the law was to go into effect on January 1, 2013. In summary, the amendments to the law dictated that solicitations for advertisement must:
Be undertaken only by or at the direction of a health care provider; Prominently display or reference the legal name of the health care provider; Display or reference the license type of the health care provider, or in the case of a health care provider that is a business entity, the license type of all of the owners of the health care providers (without needing to list all the names of the providers); Not include any reference to the dollar amounts of the potential benefits under this chapter, and; Not imply endorsement by any law enforcement personnel or agency.
In a decision issued on December 28, 2012, Judge Susan Nelson denied plaintiff’s motion for an injunction. This means that this law currently remains in effect, and the above conditions must be met. Doctors of chiropractic are advised to be aware of the conditions of this statute, and comply accordingly with all advertising requirements, including these. (For a full version of the law, please see https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=65B.54. (The portion relevant to this lawsuit, is Subdivision 6)