Pediatric Federal Affairs Liaison Update (May 2023)
Some hightlights from the May edition of the APTA Advocacy Network Newsletter (you can sign up to receive this for free from APTA Advocacy Network):
The End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
On Thursday, May 11, the COVID-19 public health emergency officially ended and with it the various waivers that have been in place since early 2020. Of note for PTs and PTAs the ability to utilize telehealth under Medicare, which was a critical waiver allowed during the PHE, was extended by Congress through the end of 2024. APTA also was successful in getting confirmation from CMS (see question 21) that the continued use of telehealth by therapists is allowed for hospital-based outpatient departments. CMS responded to advocacy by APTA and other organizations and now says that hospitals can bill Medicare for services provided via telehealth until the end of 2023. Previously, CMS had suggested any setting that used a UBO4 claim form — the form used by most hospitals — was excluded from billing for telehealth after the end of the PHE.
While the PHE may be over, advocacy aimed at addressing the impact of the pandemic on the health care workforce continues, as well as providing resources to support providers and patients. The APTA-supported legislation TREAT Long COVID Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to increase access to medical care and treatment for communities and individuals struggling with long COVID and its associated conditions. The bill will fund the expansion of long COVID clinics and empower health care providers to treat patients with it in their own communities. Finally, to help educate consumers, patients, and other providers about the role of PTs and PTAs in the treatment of long COVID, APTA recently released its latest ChoosePT public service announcement.
Virginia On Tuesday, March 21, Virginia Governor Youngkin signed legislation eliminating the provision that limited treatment without a referral by a licensed physical therapist to 60 consecutive days after evaluation of the patient. The bill also eliminates the requirement that a physical therapist only may practice dry needling under a referral. Finally, the legislation clarifies that a referral is not required for physical therapist services for infants and toddlers, birth to age 3, who require physical therapy services to fulfill the provisions of their individualized services plan under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education. This law takes effect Saturday, July 1, 2023. Congratulation to the Missouri and Virginia chapters for their legislative wins in removing restrictions tied to treatment without a referral.
Raise Your Voice With Congress at APTA Capitol Hill Day
Advocating for physical therapy on Capitol Hill with hundreds of other APTA members is an experience like no other. Join us July 24-25 for APTA Capitol Hill Day.
To kick off the event, there will be a mandatory advocacy training at 4 p.m. ET on July 24 that will take place at the host hotel, the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C. You will learn about the issues we are advocating for, how to be a successful advocate, and meet with others attending from your state to prepare for your meetings. On July 25, you will be on Capitol Hill meeting with your representatives and senators to talk about important issues that will impact the future of the physical therapy profession. Please do not schedule Capitol Hill meetings on your own; APTA has hired a vendor that will schedule all meetings for you. Registration is open today! Learn more and don’t miss your chance to raise your voice on Capitol Hill.
Erin Wentzell, PT, DPT, DrPH
APTA PEDIATRICS FEDERAL AFFAIRS LIAISON