Though the legislative process is far from over, a possible end to the therapy cap is still very much in play now that Congress has reconvened.
This week, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing focused on Medicare extenders, including the therapy cap that places an annual financial limit on outpatient therapy. The good news: several members of the committee voiced support for an end to the cap being included with a bill to permanently end the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR), with Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Rep Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) stating flatly that the therapy cap "made no sense when it was first passed several years ago, and guess what? It still makes no sense." A video of the hearing, beginning with comments from Rep Burgess, is available on YouTube.
In December 2013, Congress voted for a 3-month SGR "patch" and an extension of the therapy cap exceptions process to give legislators time to work out the details of a proposal that could permanently end both. While proposals to end the SGR are included in both Senate and House versions of the legislation, provisions to permanently reform the Medicare extenders are included only in the Senate bill. APTA has created a webpage that explains the SGR reform proposals on the table. Because these issues are still awaiting final votes, grassroots efforts need to continue.
APTA staff is monitoring the progress of these issues on Capitol Hill and evaluating how APTA members and supporters can most effectively make their voices heard as the discussions evolve. In the meantime, APTA encourages members to visit the Legislative Action Center to stay engaged.
APTA will continue to work members of Congress to ensure the final reform package includes policies that reflect the interests of physical therapists and physical therapists assistants, and the patients and clients we serve. Members interested in joining APTA's advocacy efforts to reform SGR and repeal the therapy cap can sign up for PTeam.
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