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July 2017 Federal Update

Tuesday, July 11, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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By: Julie Schwertfeger, PT, DPT, MBA, IPTA Federal Affairs Liaison

Regulatory Updates:

Physician Fee proposed rule:  This is due out any day, and APTA will follow the release with a story on the rule with an emphasis on the misvalued codes.  There will be a discussion later in July in which APTA will participate.

SNF advanced notice of proposed rule: Payment changes are being proposed that removes minutes of therapy from payment determinants.  APTA wants your feedback at The comment period has been extended by CMS through August 25th.  The proposed rule is viewable by clicking here.

Home Health PPS proposed rule is expected this month:  New payment model for 2018 that changes payment from visit-based to a set of 128 payment groups (Home Health Grouping Model or HHGM) may be part of this.  APTA is watching and will update on this as soon as it is out.

Quality Payment Program proposed rule:  APTA is working with CMS to determine is physical therapists are included in MIPS beginning in 2019.  APTA will be rolling out MIPS and APM training this Fall.  The quality payment proposed rule was released in June and can be viewed by clicking here.

Congressional Updates:

The ACA replacement healthcare legislation discussions are being followed closely by APTA.  We have spoken up regarding the importance of keeping essential health benefits in any final legislation.  APTA is participating on a number of coalitions to steward this important message to our Congressional policymakers.

TRICARE:  Ongoing steps to include PTA services in TRICARE are making slow but steady progress.  Read the recent progress here.

Sports Licensure Bill – No new movement, and yet there have been several senate meetings on this issue. 

Therapy Cap Repeal: Committee language is being developed that will allow legislation to pass that will end the therapy cap.  The SCHIP and Medicare extenders that need to be considered are likely vehicles for the finalized legislation that will be coming this year.  It is critical for our profession that repeal legislation of the hard cap that will occur January 1, 2018 is completed this year.

Key Contact – Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8), and Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) are Freshmen Representatives.  It is important to establish a connection with them.  If this is your district, please contact if you are willing to serve as their Key Contact.

Summer Advocacy- This is our window to connect in our districts.  If you missed the July 1 – 10 window, then you can make an appointment for the August recess (July 29 – September 14), to go see your legislators in their office or invite them to your workplace or school!

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Find out if they already support one or more pieces of legislation like the therapy cap.
  • If not, consider what you can educate them on so they understand why this is important for them to support the legislation.  This is the basis of your letter and meeting asks!
  • Have they used therapy services or has someone close to them?  This is a great way to find out what they know about what you do.  It is a base to build understanding upon.  Most of the time, you will find that people have a view of what PT is that is based upon a total knee surgery acute therapy story or experience, which is their entire (and very flawed) understanding about what PTs can do.  Our work is in establishing a relationship to educate our policymakers on the full scope of what we do through our personal stories, information about legislation concerns, and how policy impacts the constituents of theirs who are our patients.
  • Please make an appointment, attend a district meeting, send a letter, and or host a visit.  Let IPTA and the PTeam know your activity- and ask for support- as we are here to help you be successful in this shared work.

Want to learn more about federal advocacy? Email Julie Schwertfeger, PT, DPT, MBA IPTA Federal Affairs Liaison. 


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