Statement by APTA President on Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act

November 24, 2009

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) applauds the US House of Representatives for taking recent action to ensure that America's seniors and people with disabilities have access to high quality care rehabilitative services.

The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009 (HR 3961), which passed by a vote of 243 to 183, would stop a 21.2% scheduled cut in Medicare payments to providers set to go into effect on January 1, 2010, and update the physician fee schedule conversion factor to avoid further cuts in the future. While we are pleased that the House has passed legislation to replace the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula with a more accurate annual update, APTA is disappointed the House did not address the December 31, 2009, expiration of the therapy caps exceptions process and provisions that ensure equitable payments to rural physicians and other providers, including physical therapists.

We urge the Senate to take swift action on HR 3961. Although a 1-year fix of the SGR and a 1-year extension of the therapy caps exceptions process are included in the Senate's reform legislation, APTA supports a long-term solution to this existing flawed Medicare payment policy, permanent repeal of the therapy caps, and the continuation of policies that guarantee fair payment for rural providers to increase patient access to cost-effective outpatient rehabilitation services provided by physical therapists.

APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD 

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