Keep up the good work! Your advocacy efforts are much appreciated and with each engagement you enhance your relationship with your legislator and their understanding of the value of physical therapy provided in a private practice setting.
Interest in Modernizing the Physician Self-Referral Policy
With a goal of accelerating the transition to a value-based system, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are prioritizing implementing regulations to remove what they see as unnecessary government obstacles to team-based care. They see the self-referral prohibitions of the Stark Law to be a hindrance to coordinated care and the use of bundled payments and thus are seeking to modify the regulations. CMS has posted a Request for Information (RFI) seeking recommendations and input from the public on how to address any undue impact and burden of the physician self-referral law (also known as the “Stark law”).
ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITY # 1:
Respond to CMS’ Request for Information to educate the agency about the harm created by the In-Office Ancillary Services Exception (IOASE) loophole which allows physicians to self-refer to physical therapists which they employ or whose practice they have a financial interest in. APTA has created a helpful template to use for drafting and submitting a response the Stark Law RFI—use this opportunity to add to the chorus of voices advocating for removing physical therapy from the IOASE. The deadline for submission is August 24, 2018.
Engage with Candidates for Elected Office
Being an active advocate in an election season is easy to do and more important than ever. While Members of Congress are not particularly focused on legislating or cosponsoring bills, they are eager to appear engaged with their electorate. Candidates for office are crisscrossing their districts eager to talk to potential voters and community leaders. Fundamental to effective advocacy and representative democracy is the process of educating the policymaker. How you engage with them could change the make-up of the incoming Congress and impact the laws it passes. All seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate seats will be contested this fall. This is a prime time for you meet and reinforce the message of the important role you play in the local economy. With each engagement you enhance a candidate’s understanding of the unique value of physical therapy provided in a private practice setting.
ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITY #2:
Please call your both your incumbent legislator and the opposing candidate’s local offices this week and follow up with an email to request a meeting with your Member of Congress or the candidate in August. If you don’t get a response within a week, reach out again. Customize your communications by filling in the blanks in the scripts below and following the prompts in red:
“Hello, my name is ___________. I am a voter, small business owner, and physical therapist. I’m calling to request a meeting with Representative/Senator __________/(candidate’s name). Thank you.”
You may be told the Member or candidate’s schedule is full. If so, ask when you can meet with the local staff and offer 2 or 3 dates and times that work for you.
Once you have someone on the phone, also ask for the email address of the scheduler so that you may also send an email request using the template below.
“Hello, my name is ___________. I am a voter, small business owner, and physical therapist living/working in [town]. I’m calling to request a meeting with Representative/Senator __________/(candidate’s name) in August. My email is _____________, my cell phone number is _________. I look forward to hearing back from you so we can set up a time for me to come meet with you. Thank you.”
“Dear Representative/Senator __________/(candidate’s name);
I am a voter, small business owner, and physical therapist. My ___ person practice is located in [town]. [#] percent of my patients are Medicare beneficiaries.
I am writing to request a meeting with you, Representative/Senator __________/(candidate’s name) when you are in the area this summer or early fall. I understand that your schedule is very busy during election season, but I hope you can spare a few minutes to meet with me to discuss the important role physical therapy plays in the local economy, health care and wellness, as well as the role federal legislation plays in ensuring access to care.
My email is _____________, my cell phone number is _________. I look forward to hearing back from you so we can set up a time to meet. Thank you.”
In addition to scheduling in-office meetings, there are many other ways to engage with those running for office. Please attend town-hall and community meetings and introduce yourself to their staff. If you feel comfortable, consider volunteering for a campaign or attending a fundraiser—both are great ways to meet anyone running for elective office. Check out the “Advocacy in Action” article in the August issue of Impact for more details and ideas.
Once you schedule a meeting with your legislator, candidate, or their staff, check out the Nuts and Bolts of Lobbying for meeting tips such as preparing a good anecdote to share. Be sure to bring print-outs of the issue one-pagers to leave behind. At the end of the meeting ask to take a picture, then post that picture along with a “thank you for meeting with private practice physical therapists” message to your social media, tagging the candidate or Member of Congress. If you have any questions, please reach out directly to Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, the Section’s lobbyist.
- The Private Practice Section (PPS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is an organization of nearly 4,300 physical therapists in private practice
- Physical therapists use their expertise to restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities in patients with injury or disease.
- Private practice PTs provide rehabilitative and habilitative care that:
- Restores, maintains, and promotes overall fitness and health.
- Is considered an Essential Health Benefit which is required to be offered as part of a qualified insurance plan as defined by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
- As small business owners, we are interested in policies that will allow for access to affordable quality care for our patients who are Medicare beneficiaries.
Follow up your meeting with a handwritten note mailed to the district or campaign office. In that note, invite them and their staff to visit your clinic for a tour to see physical therapy in action. Let us know how we can help with planning the site visit.
Thank you for your continued advocacy and engagement!
For one-pagers, talking points, and information on PPS’s legislative priorities and activities, visit the Advocacy section at www.ppsapta.org