Bipartisan legislation is in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prevent cuts to the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, and another bill in the House would address the PTA payment differential set to begin in January. Now that Congress is back in session, we're calling on the entire profession, patients, and supporters to use the APTA Patient Action Center to send a message to lawmakers that they can't ignore.
The fee schedule-related legislation, known as the Supporting Medicare Providers Act (H.R. 6020), would essentially offset the cuts planned by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid by providing additional funding to the fee schedule’s conversion factor through the end of 2022. Reps. Ami Bera, D-Calif., and Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., introduced the bill.
That's not the only positive development on Capitol Hill: The bipartisan Stabilizing Medicare Access to Rehabilitation and Therapy Act, or SMART Act (H.R. 5536), introduced in the House in October would delay implementation of the 15% Medicare PTA payment differential until Jan. 1, 2023, provide an exemption to the differential for rural and underserved areas, and allow for general supervision of PTAs in outpatient settings. The SMART Act was introduced by Reps. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Jason Smith, R-Mo.
Take Action Now
Now's the critical time to let lawmakers know how important it is for Congress to act on both pieces of legislation. Here's how.
First, start sending letters this week. Delivering a strong, unified, and coordinated message is key — and timing is everything. Use the APTA Patient Action Center to send emails to your legislators in both the Senate and House to urge them to cosponsor H.R. 6020 and H.R. 5366 (APTA makes it easy to send multiple communications in a matter of minutes). And be sure to tell co-workers, patients, and other supporters to do the same — everyone can use our Patient Action Center.
Next, get connected with APTA (and be ready to act). It's hard to predict if, when, and how Congress will address the cuts, so we need to be ready to take further action on a moment's notice. The best way to do that? Sign up for the APTA Advocacy Network, a free service that sends you special legislative updates and action alerts so you're up to speed and ready to roll.
"We have great opportunity to change the 2022 payment landscape under Medicare," said Laura Keivel, APTA grassroots and political affairs specialist. "Our members and supporters have done an amazing job of advocacy throughout the year that has helped us get to this point — now it's time to bring it all home."