Physical Therapists from Across the Country Convened for the Annual Federal Advocacy Forum

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Alexandria, VA, April 18, 2013 — Physical therapists from across the United States gathered for APTA's annual Federal Advocacy Forum (FAF) in Washington, DC, on April 14-16, 2013, at The Liaison Capitol Hill.

"The forum provides an invaluable opportunity for APTA members to hear from decision makers and communicate with elected officials," explained APTA President Paul Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS. "Lawmakers also have the chance to learn about the challenges facing our patients, which aids discussion about the issues of significance to the physical therapy profession and the patients we serve."

Topics discussed at this year's FAF included the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (HR 713/S 367), the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (HR 1252/S 602), and the inclusion of the Medicare therapy cap repeal and delayed implementation of the multiple procedure payment reduction policy in any sustainable growth rate (SGR) reform package.

On Monday, April 15, Mike Allen, chief White House correspondent for Politico and creator of Politico Playbook and Politico Morning Money gave the breakfast keynote address. Later, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and counselor to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, discussed the Affordable Care Act and the health care climate in Washington, DC. Forum breakout sessions featured updates to legislative issues facing the physical therapy profession, strategies and techniques for effective lobbying, and updates on APTA's PT-PAC and grassroots advocacy efforts. Also featured were regulatory updates and preparation for Capitol Hill visits.

At a breakfast on Tuesday, April 16, Rep Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) addressed forum participants and discussed his efforts to reform the flawed SGR formula. After Rep Burgess' remarks, Rockar announced that Sen Ben Cardin (D-MD) was the recipient of APTA's 2013 Public Service Award. Sen Ben Cardin has been a longtime supporter of the physical therapy profession and has led the charge to repeal the Medicare therapy cap. Rockar also conferred APTA's 2013 Federal Government Affairs Leadership Award to physical therapist and APTA member John Lockard, PT, OCS, for his work with Rep Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) on initiatives to move toward comprehensive reforms of Medicare payment and delivery systems. Rockar concluded the breakfast by recognizing physical therapist Mike Klonowski, PT, DPT, PCS, who is currently treating Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) after the lawmaker's stroke in January 2012. Following the breakfast, attendees met with their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill.

APTA's Federal Advocacy Forum is an annual educational event that educates members of Congress about physical therapy issues. More than 260 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy were in attendance.

The American Physical Therapy Association represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about the conditions that physical therapists can treat, and find a physical therapist in your area at www.MoveForwardPT.com. Consumers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@moveforwardpt) and Facebook.

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