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  • Defense Bill Headed for Final Votes Will Include PTAs in TRICARE

    Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are now closer than ever to being included as accepted providers under TRICARE, the payment system used throughout the US Department of Defense (DoD) health care system.

    Last week, the Armed Services Committees for both the US House and Senate reached an agreement on a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that includes language proposed by APTA to add PTAs and occupational therapy assistants to the TRICARE program. The APTA-backed amendment was introduced by Sen Thom Tillis (R-NC) in July and was included in the Senate version of the bill that passed in September. The amendment can be found on page 379 of the NDAA.

    The legislation will next advance to the House and Senate, where it is expected to pass in both chambers.

    "This is great news for PTAs and patients in the TRICARE program," said Michael Hurlbut, APTA senior congressional affairs specialist. "We hope to see a bill ready for the president to sign sometime in December. Once signed into law, the changes will probably be issued through regulation, and we could see PTAs included in the TRICARE program as early as next year." APTA will work with the DoD as the process moves forward, he added.

    That wasn't the only piece of good news in the NDAA. Legislators also included amendments to address opioid prescribing within the DoD health care system, including instructions for the Secretary of Defense to "[Develop] methods to encourage health care providers of the [DoD] to use physical therapy or alternative methods to treat acute or chronic pain."

    Comments

    • Can we have bill info so we can contact local law makers to support the bill

      Posted by Jason Dougherty on 11/15/2017 2:28 PM

    • If this goes through, it will be such great news! Our PTA's are so well educated and trained, and many of them got into the field specifically to serve military veterans. More of our wounded and disabled warriors will be served by very caring professionals.

      Posted by Terri Whitmore, PTA on 11/15/2017 3:16 PM

    • As a healthcare professional, I look forward to starting my day making a difference in those whom I encounter. I am a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and enjoy helping correct musculoskeletal dysfunctions, retraining muscular firing patterns and re-educating appropriate functional movements. Unfortunately I am in able to treat patients with Tricare coverage, which sets them at a disadvantage of care. Some companies may be more inclined to utilize high school graduates to work with such patients because the physical therapist assistants can be utilized nor appropriate with a Medicare/Medicaid patinet. Give Tricare recipients equal opportunity for care with educated professionals such as Locenaed Physical Therapist Assistants.

      Posted by Dylan England on 11/15/2017 4:58 PM

    • I'm a veteran and I'm glad I will be able to treat veterans. Thank you

      Posted by James Poore on 11/15/2017 5:56 PM

    • Great news! And a cost savings benefit for our veterans.

      Posted by Don V on 11/15/2017 8:11 PM

    • What will this change for PTA's? What will it allow PTA's to do that they can't do now?

      Posted by Tracy on 11/21/2017 12:03 PM

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