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  • 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.

    Move Forward Radio Discusses Chronic Pain

    The latest episode of APTA's Move Forward Radio looks at chronic pain through 3 people who were part of a new Discovery Channel documentary on the subject and a physical therapist (PT) who treats chronic pain in his practice. APTA has also issued a press release on the episode.

    The Move Forward Radio episode includes Iraq war veteran Derek McGinnis, as well as Melanie Rosenblatt, MD, and American Chronic Pain Association CEO Penney Cowan. Also featured is John Garzione, PT, DPT, president of the Orthopaedic Section’s Pain Management Special Interest Group, who discusses the role of physical therapy for chronic pain.

    McGinnis, Rosenblatt, and Cowan were featured in Pain Matters, a documentary that features the stories of 6 individuals living with chronic pain, as well as the perspectives of several experts in pain management. The film can be viewed online and will be rerun on December 7 and 14 on the Discovery Channel.

    Designed to be of interest to consumers, Move Forward Radio airs approximately twice a month. Episodes are featured and archived at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA's official consumer information website, and can be streamed online via Blog Talk Radio or downloaded as podcasts via iTunes.

    Feedback on a past episode? Great idea for a future episode? E-mail consumer@apta.org.

    PTs Get Expanded Code Choices in Maryland Medicaid System

    After more than 2 years of work by APTA and the Maryland Chapter, the fee schedule for Maryland's Medicaid program has been expanded to include additional procedure codes directly related to physical therapy.

    The additional CPT codes went into effect on December 1 for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMA) and include a range of codes that more appropriately describe the services provided by physical therapists (PTs). Previously, the program's fee schedule was limited to 4 codes: PT evaluation, therapeutic exercise, unlisted therapeutic procedure, and manual therapy. APTA and the Maryland Chapter voiced concerns over the limitations of the codes.

    The added codes will strengthen increased patient access to physical therapy services achieved through the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new fee schedule can be found in the MMA provider manual (.pdf). Editor's note: some users may have to click "cancel" and "ok" to access the document.

    APTA Names HPSO, Hocoma, Parker Labs Strategic Business Partners

    APTA added 3 companies to its Strategic Business Partners program. Through the program, APTA seeks to enhance business relationships and develop meaningful partnerships with for-profit companies by offering services and marketing opportunities that provide mutual benefits to partners and APTA. The new partners are:

    Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO), a division of Aon Affinity. HPSO and APTA have provided a variety of risk management resources to physical therapists (PTs), including claim report, a service that delivers 10 years of comprehensive professional liability and licensing protection claims data and trends.

    Hocoma USA, Inc., a Swiss medical technology company that provides robotic rehabilitation therapy to support patients with neurological diseases and injuries as well as those with low back pain. Products include Lokomat® for locomotion therapy, Armeo® for upper extremities, Erigo® for early rehabilitation and mobilization, and Valedo® for low back pain functional movement.

    Parker Laboratories, a manufacturer and marketer of ultrasound and electrormedical accessories and supplies. Parker Laboratories products include Aquasonic® 100 Ultrasound Transmission Gel, Protex™ Cleaner/Disinfectant for athletic training rooms, and Thermosonic® Gel Warmer.

    APTA issued press releases for HPSO, Hocoma, and Parker Laboratories as the partnerships were announced. For further information on the APTA Strategic Business Partner program, please visit the Strategic Business Partners webpage.