APTA Supports President's Call for Elimination of Caps

ALEXANDRIA, VA, September 11, 2009 — In his speech before Congress on Wednesday, President Obama called for the elimination of arbitrary limits on health care services that Americans can receive in a given year or in a lifetime -- a policy that the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) supports as the nation's leaders work to guarantee access to affordable health care for all individuals through health care reform.

"We're pleased that President Obama has taken a stance against arbitrary financial limits on health care services," said APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "For more than 10 years, APTA has worked with Congress to repeal the Medicare cap on outpatient physical therapy services that restricts access to rehabilitative services for America's seniors. It is time for Congress to deal with this serious health policy problem and repeal the therapy cap. To do less at this time of overall reform would burden the American public with still greater costs down the road the road by requiring yet additional legislation to protect patients from an arbitrary limit on therapy services."

The Medicare therapy caps were originally adopted by Congress in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Since 1999, Congress has acted to prevent implementation of the caps by passing several moratoria and authorizing an exceptions process for rehabilitation services above the financial limitation based on diagnosis and clinician evaluation and judgment. An 18-month extension of the exceptions process was included in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (HR 6331), which passed July 15, 2008. The exceptions process is set to expire December 31, 2009.

Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. APTA represents more than 72,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice, education, and research. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com.

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