HB 415 Update: A Bill We Can Support
At Last, a Bill We Can All Support
After five months of sustained effort, Carolina Chiropractors has succeeded in persuading the N.C. legislature to make two critical changes to HB 415, the bill that will overhaul our chiropractic practice act. With these changes in place, we are pleased to announce our support for the bill.
The first change involves recovery of hearing costs from doctors involved in disciplinary cases. In the original version of HB 415, the Board of Examiners could impose hearing costs on any doctor who was charged with a violation, regardless of whether the doctor was ultimately found guilty or not guilty. Carolina Chiropractors objected, and the legislature agreed. Now hearing costs can only be imposed upon doctors who have first been found guilty of violating the practice act.
The second change involves the power of the BOE to impose fines. In the original version of HB 415, the Board would have been able to impose fines of up to $500 “per violation.” The problem is that most disciplinary actions involve more than one alleged violation. Carolina Chiropractors said there needed to be a cap on the maximum fine the Board could levy in any single disciplinary action, and the legislature agreed. Now the maximum fine has been set at $1,000 in any case where a doctor is convicted of two or more violations.
The BOE drafted the original version of HB 415, and the bill was filed on March 25th. For the first three months of the legislative session, the Board was unwilling to agree to any amendments. But when the bill stalled in a senate committee and the prospects for passage began to dim in mid-July, the BOE became more receptive. It did not take long to reach a workable compromise. Carolina Chiropractors has always acknowledged that the bill contained several benefits to doctors, particularly in the area of marketing and advertising. Now that the problems with hearing costs and fines have been resolved, HB 415 as amended deserves the whole-hearted support of the profession.
Carolina Chiropractors would like to thank Dr. Patrick Gallagher, of Goldsboro, for making sure that our message was heard in the halls of the legislature, and Sen. Jim Perry for orchestrating revisions to the bill. The legislation is expected to be enacted within the next two weeks and will take effect on October 1st.
A new era is about to dawn for chiropractic in North Carolina!
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