Tell Your Story on Capitol Hill at the APTA Federal Advocacy Forum
By Katy Neas
The Federal Advocacy Forum is right around the corner (March 31-April 2, 2019), and you're not going to want to miss it.
This year is a historic year for APTA advocacy: For the first time in more than 2 decades, the Medicare therapy cap is not the lead priority on the association's public policy agenda. Thanks to you, the hard cap has been permanently addressed. But more work remains.
Our nation is at a crossroads between health and the health care delivery system. Too many Americans are limited by chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Too many people with disabilities struggle to secure appropriate support services that allow them to live independently in the community. Too many lives have been shattered by opioid addiction. Our health care system too often pays for treating illness rather than advancing the wellness and prevention services necessary to achieve and support good health. The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other developed country, yet our citizens are limited by poor health. This must change.
Daunting though these challenges may seem, progress is possible through effective advocacy. Your elected officials need to hear directly from you about your efforts to build a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society. The Federal Advocacy Forum will enable you to make your collective voices heard on the issues affecting physical therapy and your patients and clients.
The APTA 2019–2020 Public Policy Priorities are grounded in 4 overarching goals. The association wants Congress and the Administration to:
- Enact policies that empower people to live healthy and independent lives,
- Eliminate barriers to health care services,
- Support efforts to increase efficiencies in the delivery of health services that reduce administrative burden to providers and ensure transparency to patients, and
- Prioritize research and clinical innovation to access appropriate value-based health care services.
When you come to Washington, DC, next month, you'll have the opportunity to share your expertise with Congress. There are many new faces on Capitol Hill: 10 new senators and 101 new members of the House of Representatives. Some of these individuals may not be expert in health policy and may not understand fully the contribution this profession makes to children, adults, and seniors in their community. They may not realize how specific policy changes could impact the health of their constituents.
That's why your stories are so important. In addition to asking legislators to support specific bills, you will want to educate them about your practice, your area of expertise, and how you empower your patients to achieve positive outcomes. I can assure you, when they know more about you, what you do, and who you serve, they will be impressed.
Have no fear—the APTA government affairs staff will provide you with all the tools that you'll need to make this Federal Advocacy Forum the best one yet!
Finally, please accept a note of sincere thanks from me. I have seen the significant contribution that physical therapists make in acute hospitals, critical care units, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and home health over the past 7 months, as my husband continues a very long recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. During his 179 days in a hospital, I have witnessed the strength and grace of the physical therapists who have helped him regain strength after each of his 5 relapses. Each of these amazing professionals played critical roles in his recovery—teammate, coach, cheerleader, advocate, and friend. I will always be grateful. My family's experience only reinforces my commitment to APTA's work to expand patient access to physical therapist services and to secure fair and adequate payment for these important interventions.
I look forward to seeing you in March, and I thank you for all that you do!
Katy Neas is executive vice president, public affairs, at APTA.
To attend the Federal Advocacy Forum, register now at www.apta.org/FederalForum. Registration closes March 18.