Preventive services for obesity now will be included under Medicare and can be provided by primary care physicians or primary care practitioners only (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, or physician assistants) in primary care settings only.
Under the regulations, announced on Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, physical therapists do not currently fit all the requirements to provide obesity intensive preventive therapies, which include:
Additionally, any behavioral intensity therapy should meet the 5-A framework recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force:
Primary care physicians in non-primary care settings are not precluded from conducting an obesity screening, then referring the patient to a primary care setting for further obesity therapy to be conducted by the primary care physician or primary care practitioner.
APTA is gathering the necessary supportive data to demonstrate the value of physical therapy interventions in reducing obesity and to advocate for inclusion of physical therapists in obesity prevention.