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2018 General Assembly: Bills Filed that Impact PT

Tuesday, March 13, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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2018 General Assembly: Bills Filed that Impact PT

Despite 2018 being an Illinois election year with many highly contested and challenging races set to square off on the March 20th primary, an abundance of new bills were filed that could potentially impact physical therapy.  Here’s a quick rundown of issues the IPTA is following.

PT Diagnosis (aka Direct Access):  HB 4643 is the top priority for IPTA, removing the final barriers for direct consumer access to physical therapy.

Click here to download the key talking points for HB 4643

Telehealth:  There are quite a few telehealth bills out, but the one that IPTA believes to be the most effective and relevant is HB 5070, which addresses the fact all health care professionals need to be included in the Telehealth Act in order for physicians, etc to communicate with the other professions who were not listed in the original Telehealth Act bill that passed into law last year.

Workers Comp:  HB 4872 amends the Workers’ Compensation Act so that  providers can bill either the employer or its designee directly, and provides for interest payments to the provider.  This could potentially eliminate some of the third party utilization pieces that makes the current system burdensome.

Health Liens/Insurance Billing:  For personal injury cases, HB 5776 would require PTs to bill the health insurance and health insurance would pay under the provisions of health plans.  Currently, health insurance denies payment when there is auto insurance or other liability insurance coverage. Many providers are paid discounted rates under health insurance and we believe most providers would prefer this not be extended to personal injury cases. There is also the issue of deductibles and co-insurance/co-pays under health insurance which would also present a problem in personal injury cases.

PT Licensure:  HB 5212 and SB 3395 attempt to simply the process of licensure through endorsement for certain individuals.  We believe it is a step in the right direction for reducing administrative work, but the original bill language was confusing.  The IDFPR has proposed an amendment that clarifies the requirements and process and, with that amendment, the IPTA believes this is good for the PT profession in Illinois.

Athletic Trainers:  While it appears there are many bills relating to Athletic Trainers, many are vehicle (or shell) bills that have no real purpose and are just put forth in case a bill relating to health care licenses is needed.  That is not the case for HB 5213 and SB 3397, which seek to repeal the Athletic Trainer Act.  Translation: this bill would deregulate the athletic trainer profession.  We understand that the IDFPR is looking at the long list of professions that are regulated in Illinois and evaluating whether all are necessary.  Why they picked athletic trainers as one of the first to consider repealing, we don’t know, except for the fact that over the last couple of years, the IATA has complained that their scope of practice is too restrictive and has seeked to expand it through legislation that was opposed by the IDFPR, ISMS, and IPTA.  Deregulating the profession would mean that their national certification would dictate their scope of practice, without input from Illinois lawmakers -- or other Illinois professions, like physicians and physical therapists.  The question most relevant to this conversation is whether the certification offers enough public protection, or if regulation through licensure is necessary to insure the safety of our state’s young athletes.

Therapy Pools:  HB 4504 seeks to exempt therapy pools used by physical therapy programs from the Swimming Facility Act and Swimming Pool Safety Act. While we recognize that the current law may be overly burdensome and expensive relative to the size and use of therapeutic pools in PT programs, complete lack of regulation could present a risk to the public unless there are at least minimal sanitary provisions in place. 

- Mike Riley, PT
IPTA President (2016 - 2021)
Member since 1973

“We are very pleased with the interaction with our new lobbying group and the efforts they are making on our behalf. The response of our members when called upon for financial support, as well as legislative contacts, is greatly appreciated and extremely helpful.
The continued support of our members and the networks they have established will continue to be needed if we want to be successful.”

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