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  • US Senate Makes Statement With Language to Bring PTAs Into TRICARE

    APTA's efforts for revision of the TRICARE payment system to include services by physical therapist assistants (PTAs) got a big push on September 18 when the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). TRICARE is a major part of the US Department of Defense health care system.

    The Senate bill includes an amendment to NDAA that calls for the US Secretary of Defense to revise TRICARE so that it recognizes PTAs (as well as occupational therapy assistants). APTA worked with the office of Sen Thom Tillis (R-NC) to introduce the amendment.

    The Senate victory comes on the heels of report language included in the House of Representative’s version of the NDAA that calls for a review on the feasibility of adding PTAs and designated others as health care providers in the military health system, to be completed by April 1, 2018.

    "APTA has long supported PTAs being included in TRICARE, and we're encouraged by this progress," APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, said about the Senate bill. "Including PTAs in TRICARE will make it easier for uniformed service members and their families to get the quality care they need and deserve." Dunn is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy.

    Representatives from the Senate and House armed services committees now are expected to come together in a conference and work out the differences in the 2 bills. No schedule is set for the conference yet, but with language in both versions APTA believes chances are good that PTA recognition will be included in the final bill that eventually is signed into law. It’s too early to project how long after that implementation would occur, but the association notes that the Senate version is more directive and would take less time to implement than the House bill.

    APTA will continue to educate the chairs of the Senate and House committees to help ensure the best possible language in the final law. Association members with questions can contact Michael Hurlbut, APTA senior congressional affairs specialist, at michaelhurlbut@apta.org.

    Comments

    • Many don't realize that PTA's are licensed and are very knowledgeable in our practice of Physical Therapy. We are autonomous and only require supervision to oerform our patient care.

      Posted by Diana Miller on 9/26/2017 2:08 PM

    • I am in favor of having PTA's included in TRICARE! Thank you APTA!

      Posted by Daniel Wallach on 9/26/2017 2:57 PM

    • I support PTA's in TRICARE!

      Posted by Daniel Wallach on 9/27/2017 10:02 AM

    • Thanks APTA! Now let's hope Washington will get this passed!

      Posted by Lori Long on 9/27/2017 5:09 PM

    • Excellent work APTA! We need PTAs serving our patient population, who desperately need Physical Therapy.

      Posted by Kim Yearout on 9/27/2017 5:15 PM

    • Appreciate the skill and good work that PTA's can bring to patient's plan of care. They are a value and an asset to patient care.

      Posted by Jennifer Hawks on 9/27/2017 9:53 PM

    • Hey, this is a very big deal. I mean huge. Tricare is a national win for the PTA's. So proud of the APTA!

      Posted by Robert Sheridan PTA on 9/27/2017 10:48 PM

    • Yes to PTAsand TRICARE!

      Posted by Kristi on 9/28/2017 3:39 AM

    • The odd thing is that the VA employs PTAs and they have student PTA's doing clinical education there. Maybe it is just our region of the USA, but the PTA is fully utilized in this part of the country.

      Posted by Sean on 9/28/2017 12:03 PM

    • Thank You! PT/PTA teams treat everyone equally and we appreciate that Tricare will now acknowledge this relationship/team!

      Posted by Renee Pruitt on 10/20/2017 7:27 PM

    • I worked as a PT for the military for 12 years. They used PTAs exclusively for treatment. PTs did evals and reevals mostly. The double standard has obvious. 3 PTAs and one PT. This is the only insurance that has this restricition. Should have never been a problem to start with.

      Posted by Michael Bailey on 1/10/2018 7:19 AM

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