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by Karen Menehan, Editor in Chief
Lawyers for an organization fighting a new law that eliminates massage therapy from personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage in Florida were hoping a federal judge would grant a temporary injunction against the law.
A hearing had been scheduled for Dec. 13; however, in an email just received, MASSAGE Magazine learned the hearing had been cancelled.
On May 4, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into a law a bill to prohibit the state's massage therapists and acupuncturists from billing personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. The bill also caps chiropractic care at $2,500 and stipulates that the patient receive a referral to chiropractic care by a primary care physician. On November 23, 2012 the attorneys filed a lawsuit to prevent the state of Florida from enforcing the provisions of the 2012 PIP Act.
In a letter provided to MASSAGE Magazine, Luke Lirot, Esq. and Adam S. Levine, M.D., J.D., wrote, "We believe that there are fundamental constitutional rights at issue, and, candidly, we also believe that there is no 'conceivable basis' to support the elimination of [licensed massage therapists] and [acupuncture physicians] from those that
"While the Court did not agree that we met the 'extraordinary burden' necessary to obtain a preliminary injunction, the Court did observe that the issues raised in the Response were issues 'requiring further briefing, thought, reflection, and analysis before resolving those issues,'" they added.
Despite the hearing's cancellation, the attorneys are not giving up. "We have collectively put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to date and are putting forth our best efforts on a motion to have the Court take another look at this immediately, as well as explore any other options that we can use in the effort to protect those valuable rights involved," they wrote.
The organization that hired the attorneys, United Practitioners Organization Inc., still requests donations to its legal defense fund and affidavits from massage therapists negatively affected by the law, for use with future legal action.
For more information, visit http://www.flpipdefensefund.com.