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  • APTA Urges CMS Officials to Stop Cuts for EMG/NCV Services

    On December 20, APTA, the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine, and American Academy of Neurology met with Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator and director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to discuss cuts for electromyography/nerve conduction velocity (EMG/NCV) services that will go into effect January 1, 2013. Other CMS officials attended the meeting via videoconference.   

    Representatives from the 4 associations explained that the payment cuts to providers would be between 40%-70%. APTA discussed the fact that most physical therapists (PTs) who provide EMG/NCV do so exclusively (100% of their practice). Additionally, many of these PTs serve patients in rural areas and often drive long distances to treat them. Thus, the deep cuts could have a detrimental impact on patient access to these services.   

    The associations requested that CMS phase in the cuts over a 4-year period to allow time to revisit the values for NCV studies before such draconian cuts become effective. Blum stated that CMS did not have legal authority to do such a phase-in, nor would it be possible to change the values for 2013; however, CMS would consider changing the values for 2014.

    Blum stated that CMS is concerned with any effects that the reductions in payment for EMG/NCV codes would have on Medicare beneficiaries. He said that CMS would study the impact of the cuts over the next year. Blum continued that he would be open to consulting with the organizations over the next month to identify ways that CMS could track the impact, specifically through claims forms. If CMS identifies a negative impact, the agency would likely take steps to calibrate the payment differently for 2014. Further discussion related to NCV studies is expected.

    On December 6, APTA sent an action alert urging association members to contact their members of Congress about the scheduled payment cuts. Four days later, APTA and more than 120 other organizations concerned about the impact of the 2013 cuts to reimbursement for electrodiagnostic procedures sent a coalition letter to congressional leadership and committees. 

    Be a Part of APTA's 'Fit After 50' Initiative

    Are you helping patients who are aged 50 or older to maintain their fitness and mobility? Are you a PT or PTA aged 50+ who is "walking the walk" by staying active and mobile as you age? If the answer is "yes" to either of these questions, APTA wants to hear from you. E-mail public-relations@apta.org with a brief description, and we’ll arrange a brief video recording of you while you are at the Combined Sections Meeting to post on www.apta.org/FitAfter50.

    2012 APTA State Award Winners Announced

    APTA presented its 2012 State Legislative Leadership Awards December 1 at the State Policy and Payment Forum in Alexandria, Virginia. For their individual leadership on legislation advancing or defending Vision 2020 in the state arena, APTA's Board of Directors (Board) awarded the 2012 State Legislative Leadership Award to Phil Moe, PT, of South Dakota, and Emmett Parker, PT, MS, ATC, of Alabama. Moe was recognized for his work to successfully pass legislation to limit patient copays for physical therapy. Parker was recognized for his leadership on the passage of legislation that made Alabama the 47th state with direct access to physical therapy.

    In recognition of their long-term commitment to their chapters' advocacy activities over several years and for consistently providing assistance in the statehouse, the Board awarded the 2012 APTA State Legislative Commitment Award to David Morris, PT, PhD, of Alabama, and Kathleen Picard, PT, of Minnesota. Morris was recognized for his many years of service supporting the Alabama Chapter's legislative efforts on a variety of issues, including infringement challenges, POPTS, and this year's direct access campaign. Picard's leadership has been invaluable to the Minnesota Chapter's success in advocating on a variety of state legislative and regulatory issues, including the recent repeal of a burdensome prior authorization process in the state's medical assistance program. Read more at www.apta.org/StateAdvocacy/LegislativeLeaderAward/.