• Thursday, December 05, 2013RSS Feed

    Modest Grassroots Activity Could Threaten Repeal of Therapy Cap

    Low participation among physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and their supporters could diminish legislator interest in permanent repeals of the therapy cap and sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which are set to be discussed in Congress. APTA urges its members to take any of the easy steps available to make their voices heard at this critical point in the process.

    Though it only takes a few minutes to participate, only 1% of APTA members have joined the grassroots effort to date, and time is running out. The Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees will be discussing legislative framework for a permanent solution to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula next week. During these committee meetings, legislators will also be reviewing Medicare extenders, like the therapy cap. It is essential that a full repeal of the cap is included in the SGR packages.

    Now is the time to contact legislators. If you are tired of the yearly extension system, you can help put an end to this unstable and unpredictable practice by taking action now. If the voices of PTs aren't strong enough, physical therapy could get lost in the shuffle of SGR reform.

    Everyone can get involved and help ensure patient access to outpatient therapy services for the long term by e-mailing their legislators. APTA members can use the Legislative Action Center and patients/non-members can use the Patient Action Center. You can also take action from your smart phone by downloading the free APTA Action app.


    Comments

    No cap
    Posted by Jennifer Curtis on 12/5/2013 10:16 PM
    I am posting this again. Why is our government forcing physical therapists to volunteer our time to participate in physician-focused programs  (e.g. Physician Quality Reporting System, Physician Compare, Physician Fee Schedule) but then not allow physical therapists to receive compensation (e.g. $44,000 annual incentive payments) for these horrendous administrative burdens? Why is our government setting up a tiered payment system so that physical therapy services are being reimbursed at lesser rates when performed by physical therapists compared to physicians or nurses who perform the same service? Are physicians really better at providing physical therapy care than physical therapists? Do physicians have more stress when providing physical therapy services? Does electricity cost more when used by physicians? Do physicans have more expensive homes and cars than physical therapists?  Why does our government continue to aggressively inspect/harass physical therapy practices for compliance errors (e.g. CERT reviews, Manual Medical Reviews, probe audits) when compliant PT practices have already been vetted by these programs through multiple and varied audits over the past year?  Why do our government agencies and departments not accurately and consistently describe current physical therapy practice? National Institue of Health repeatedly tells consumers that PTs are like trainers and patients should see their doctors first. If a physical therapist holds a DPT is she not a physical therapy doctor? Various CMS Medicare manuals refers to PTs as non-physician practitioners while others exclude PTs as ineligible and ancillary personnel.  If our governement and society respect the education and credentials of professionals who hold doctorate-level degrees (e.g. doctors of medicine, doctors of podiatry, doctors of chiropractic), why are doctors of physical therapy not also supported as highly educated practitioners and given preferential treatment? Does DPT have any real value to our society? I find my government's attitude expressed by the behaviors I have questioned above to be discriminatory, and simultaneously childish and overly parental. This is Sneetch-like behavior = physicians are superior to physical therapists in providing physical therapy care because they have MD stamped on their bellies. I have a DPT and GCS stamped on my belly from accredited institutions; other PTs may have BS and MPT stamped on their bellies. Are physicial therapists with higher levels of schooled education really better at providing physical therapy care than those with a BS or MPT degree with years of experience and continued education?   Physical therapists evaluate, diagnose and treat people of all ages who have concerns and problems about potential and real impairments, functional limitations and disabilities within the context of having one or more medical condition. Would it help us gain entry into the "medical club" if we used more inclusive language to define physical therapy as a "medical healthcare profession"? I think CMS, NIH and AMA have demonstrated bulleying behaviors that are grossly discriminatory against physical therapy practice in general.  I am extremely displeased that they do not support or encourage quality physical therapy practices to thrive knowing there is a huge shortage of all medical healthcare professions, including physical therapists. I have gone one step further than this post and have AGAIN informed my congressperson that I DO NOT NEED A BABYSITTER = physician/nurse practitioner to do my job safely and effectively. If you also want our profession to be recognized as "grown up" in the minds of those who hold power then please tell them this level of oversight is no longer wanted and no longer justifiable.
    Posted by Dr. Lise McCarthy, PT, DPT, GCS on 12/5/2013 11:35 PM
    I am in agreement with every single thing you say. Enough is enough as an older physical therapist I have reached my boiling point. Jennifer E. White MS PT
    Posted by Jennifer White -> BLTbBO on 12/6/2013 1:33 PM
    WELL SAID, MY FRIEND!!!!!
    Posted by marilyn kovar on 12/6/2013 5:01 PM
    Perfectly stated.
    Posted by Peter Douris PT,DPT,EdD on 12/6/2013 6:13 PM
    I absolutely agree, thank you Dr. McCarthy!
    Posted by Autumn Rogers, PTA, LMT on 12/7/2013 7:46 AM
    I cant possibly top the post from Dr. McCarthy! For my entire PT career, I have had to endure this riduculous cap! And we are still including speech therapy services in that cap. At 51, I have an MA and no desire to obtain my DPT. I am very concerned for the PTs who are new to this profession. And APTA wonders why there may be some apathy when it comes to a call for action.
    Posted by Holly Gross PT on 12/9/2013 10:27 AM
    Agreed! It's about time our profession is treated with more respect! Well said!
    Posted by Vicki VerMeer -> >JP_BN on 12/9/2013 10:54 AM
    Thank you for stating exactly what I feel. I am in total agreement. I will send your letter to my Congressmen and Senators to make the same point.
    Posted by Jacuqleyn Gilbert-Gammon on 12/10/2013 11:52 AM
    Bravo!!!!! This is an excellent letter, and the powers that be should "wake up!"
    Posted by Michael Sicignano, PT, DPT on 12/10/2013 4:42 PM
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