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  • Federal Advocacy Forum Participants Take the PT Message to Capitol Hill

    In what's shaping up to be a busy legislative year for physical therapy, more than 270 physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), students, and supporters headed to Capitol Hill this week to meet with legislators and staff on how APTA's public policy priorities can help solve some of health care's biggest challenges. The visits capped off this year's Federal Advocacy Forum (FAF), an event that not only supplies attendees with the information they need for advocacy, but revs up the energy around bringing the profession's voice to policymakers.

    This year, FAF participants pressed support of 3 important pieces of legislation: a change that would end the Medicare therapy cap, a proposal to include PTs in the list of providers qualified for student loan forgiveness as part of the National Health Services Corps to meet the needs of underserved areas across the country, and a bill—reintroduced in the US House of Representatives but not yet in the Senate—that would make it easier for PTs and other providers to practice when traveling with sports teams. APTA members also spoke with members of Congress about the PT's role in concussion management and,the opioid epidemic, as well as the importance of essential health benefits in ensuring patient access and coverage of care. All issues are in sync with the association's 2017-2018 public policy priorities

    According to Ken Sprague, APTA senior congressional affairs and grassroots specialist, every Senate office received a personal visit during which FAF participants met with staff and in some instances, the Senator. All legislators' offices, both Senate and House, received public policy information packets from APTA.

    "We had great participation this year, but even more important, there was a high level of energy, and a lot of focus," Sprague said. "The participants who went to Capitol Hill were excellent representatives for the profession, and kept commitment to best possible patient care front-and-center at all times. Those kinds of messages have an impact on legislators." Sprague said that a large PT and PTA student contingent—more than 70 were in attendance at FAF—made this year's event even more dynamic.

    Check out the Storify below to see what an FAF is all about—and then plan to attend next year.

    View highlights from this year's forum.


     

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