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Arlington Chiropractor fights for patients' rights, alternative care in Olympia

ARLINGTON — Arlington chiropractor Shawn Gay doesn’t want people to suffer. The president of the Washington State Chiropractic Association, Gay believes in the miracles of chiropractic and so he went to Olympia to fight for the right of patients to have their insurance companies pay for the services that can help stop their pain.

“It goes back to 1895, when a man got his hearing back after a realignment treatment,” Gay told The Arlington Times recently.

“They’ve been doing realignment since Greek times,” he added.

Gay has been working with the WSCA over the past five years on legislation that will provide health coverage to alternative medicines in the state. He is proud to announce that their efforts have resulted in several successes.

“It’s not just about chiropractic,” Gay said. The bills also assist other alternative providers, like massage and acupuncture, he said.

Most recently Governor Chris Gregoire signed SSB 5596, which prevents insurers from creating different reimbursement rates for providers based on their profession and not taking into account what the actual service performed is and the cost to deliver the actual service.

“Before this bill, there was a discrepancy in reimbursement for such simple things as applying ice,” Gay said. “They would pay us $5 and they would pay a doctor $15, for example.”

In 2007, Gregoire signed 2SSB 5597 to ensure that a patient should never be turned away from a regular chiropractic clinic if their usual doctor is not available but a fully licensed and capable associate is.

“People pay for their insurance. They should be able to use it where they want to,” Gay said. “I just want it to be fair.”

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