If lawmakers on Capitol Hill ever thought the physical therapy profession would simply accept a proposed 9% cut to Medicare payment, they now have about 47,000 reasons to think again. And that number continues to climb.
The latest advocacy infusion came by way of APTA's #FightTheCut Virtual Rally, held Sept. 10, which challenged members, nonmembers, and other stakeholders to contact legislators and express opposition to a CMS plan that would reduce payment to PTs by an estimated 9% in 2021. The association's rally effort sparked an estimated 47,000 communications with lawmakers in the span of just a few days.
The rally is just the latest in ongoing efforts to stop implementation of the cuts, which CMS says are necessary to increase payment for evaluation and management visits to primary care providers and others while maintaining budget neutrality required by law. APTA's virtual rally was aimed at getting Congress to lift the restrictions that CMS says are necessitating the cut.
"The response we had to the virtual rally was fantastic," said Laura Keivel, APTA's grassroots and political affairs specialist. "People showed up for the profession and took the time to participate, and the influx of communication in such a short amount of time was attention-getting."
There's More To Do — Including Contacting CMS
The virtual rally gave advocacy efforts a boost, but its success doesn't mean the job is done — and Congress isn't the only target.
As the agency responsible for crafting the proposed cut in the first place, CMS needs to hear from the profession and physical therapy patients as well — and in large numbers. APTA's Regulatory Action Center makes it easy through a set of customizable template letters, one for PTs, PTAs, and students, and another for patients, friends, and families. Copying and pasting the comments takes fewer than two minutes.
And while you're at it, go ahead and send more emails to Congress — even if you're not a member, we have an easy way to make your voice heard.
"We can't stop now," Keivel says. "We still need to continue advocating to Congress, and we need to flood CMS with comments as well."