Federal Advocacy Information

October 2021 

The APTA is actively advocating for several issues in the House and Senate.

 

3.5% Medicare Pay Cut Proposed

In July, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule. The proposed rule would cut physical therapy payment by an estimated 3.5%. This is on top of the 3.3% cut in 2021. Additionally, CMS is set to implement a 15% cut in 2022 for services provided by a physical therapist assistant. Additionally a 2% cut will go into effect when Medicare sequestration returns in 2022. The APTA has garnered support for a Dear Colleague letter (the Bera-Buschon letter) which asks the House leadership to act to halt these proposed cuts and to give time to develop a long-term reform to the Medicare Fee Schedule.

 

Policy Solution for PTA Differential Pay Cut

As above, a 15% cut for services provided by a PTA is set to begin in 2022. This bipartisan legislation was proposed on Friday October 8, 2021 by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO). The legislation has three primary policy goals:

  • Delay implementation of the PTA/OTA payment differential until Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Provide an exemption to the 15% payment differential for rural and underserved areas.
  • Allow for general supervision of PTAs and OTAs under Part B (instead of the current direct supervision requirement).

There will be opportunities coming for a grassroots effort to encourage support for this bill.

 

Expanded Telehealth Access Act of 2021 (H.R. 2168)

Currently physical therapists and physical therapist assistants may provide telehealth services under Medicare during the declared public health emergency. At this time, PTs and PTAs have not been granted the permanent ability to furnish services through telehealth. This bill adds PTs, PTAs as well as occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, audiologists and speech language pathologists as authorized providers of telehealth under Medicare.

 

Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (H.R. 3759/S. 2676)

This bill adds physical therapists to the National Health Service Corps Repayment Program, allowing PTs the ability to apply for tuition reimbursement when choosing to work in underserved areas.

 

The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act (H.R. 3320/S.1679)

This bill would provide grants for accredited higher education programs to recruit qualified individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in the fields of PT, OT, SLP, respiratory therapy, and audiology.

 

Please see the APTA Advocacy App where you can see if your representatives have signed on to the letter or any of these bills. Please consider calling or emailing your representatives about these issues.

To learn more about these issues, please see the APTA Patient Action Center at https://www.apta.org/advocacy/take-action/patient-action-center or reach out to our Federal Affairs Liaison, Maryclaire Capetta, at Maryclaire.capetta@uconn.edu.

 

We are looking for people who are interested in federal issues affecting physical therapist practice to serve as Key Contacts for our CT legislators. Please reach out to Maryclaire if you are interested in serving in this role.

 

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