Thursday, September 21, 2017 US Senate Makes Statement With Language to Bring PTAs Into TRICARE APTA's efforts for revision of the TRICARE payment system to include services by physical therapist assistants (PTAs) got a big push on September 18 when the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). TRICARE is a major part of the US Department of Defense health care system. The Senate bill includes an amendment to NDAA that calls for the US Secretary of Defense to revise TRICARE so that it recognizes PTAs (as well as occupational therapy assistants). APTA worked with the office of Sen Thom Tillis (R-NC) to introduce the amendment. The Senate victory comes on the heels of report language included in the House of Representative’s version of the NDAA that calls for a review on the feasibility of adding PTAs and designated others as health care providers in the military health system, to be completed by April 1, 2018. "APTA has long supported PTAs being included in TRICARE, and we're encouraged by this progress," APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, said about the Senate bill. "Including PTAs in TRICARE will make it easier for uniformed service members and their families to get the quality care they need and deserve." Dunn is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy. Representatives from the Senate and House armed services committees now are expected to come together in a conference and work out the differences in the 2 bills. No schedule is set for the conference yet, but with language in both versions APTA believes chances are good that PTA recognition will be included in the final bill that eventually is signed into law. It’s too early to project how long after that implementation would occur, but the association notes that the Senate version is more directive and would take less time to implement than the House bill. APTA will continue to educate the chairs of the Senate and House committees to help ensure the best possible language in the final law. Association members with questions can contact Michael Hurlbut, APTA senior congressional affairs specialist, at email@example.com.