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.
Members of Congress will be back in their districts for what is referred to as the “4th of July Recess” at some time between June 30th and July 6th. In addition to attending parades and other public events on July 4th, they and their district staff will be eager to engage with their constituents. This is a prime opportunity for you meet and reinforce the message of the important role you play in the local economy.
Please call your legislator’s local office today and follow up with an email to request a meeting with your Member of Congress when they are in town the first week of July. Use the attached template letter to present a formal meeting request. Customize your communications by filling in the blanks and following the prompts in red:
“Hello, my name is ___________. I am a constituent, small business owner, and physical therapist. I’m calling to request a meeting with Representative/Senator __________ the first week of July. Thank you.”
You may be told the Member’s schedule is full. If so, ask to meet with the district staff now and to schedule a meeting with the Member during the August recess.
If you get sent to voicemail, leave the following message:
“Hello, my name is ___________. I am a constituent, small business owner, and physical therapist living/working in [town]. I’m calling to request a meeting with Representative/Senator __________ the first week of July. 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.”
“I am a constituent, 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 Representative/Senator __________ when they are back home the first week of July. I understand that Rep./Sen. ________’s schedule is very busy during recess, but I hope he/she 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, and 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 for me to meet with Rep./Sen. ________. Thank you.”
Once you schedule a meeting with your legislator or their staff, check out the Nuts and Bolts of Lobbying for tips on how to conduct the meeting. Be sure to bring print-outs of the issue one-pagers to leave behind.
BACKGROUND AND TALKING POINTS FOR MEETINGS
Adding physical therapists to the National Health Service Corps
Background: The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (H.R.1639/S.619) has 48 House cosponsors. The Senate companion bill has three sponsors. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) addresses the health needs of more than 9.7 million underserved individuals across the nation. The program allows for the placement of certain health care professionals in areas which are designated as a health care professional shortage area (HPSA). This legislation authorizes physical therapists to participate in the NHSC Loan Repayment Program. Download One-Pager.
- Currently, there is no rehabilitative care component in the National Health Service Corps and physical therapists are not eligible to participate in the program.
- Including physical therapists in the National Health Service Corps would save costs by increasing access to essential rehabilitation services for rural, remote, and medically underserved areas.
- In 2012, the National Health Service Corps had an 82% retention rate for providers within the program.
- Physical therapy clinics in HPSAs could use this program as a recruitment tool and simultaneously reduce their initial salary outlay as their business grows to support an additional physical therapist for the long-term.
- The bill does not authorize any new funding for the program.
Background: The Medicare Patient Empowerment Act (H.R.4133) has 4 cosponsors in the House. We are seeking a Senator to lead the bill in the Senate. The bill adds physical therapists to the short list of providers who would be able to opt-out of Medicare. Additionally, this subset of providers could opt-out of Medicare on a case-by-case basis. Download One-Pager.
- The bill would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive treatment from their provider of choice.
- Medicare enrolled providers (including physical therapists) would be allowed to contract directly with their patients who are Medicare beneficiaries—on a case-by-case basis.
- The decision to opt-out would not impact the entire practice, only the billing relationship between that patient and therapist.
- Every time a beneficiary chooses not to bill Medicare it saves the program money.
Background: While the CONNECT for Health Act (H.R.2556/S.1016) addresses a number of ways telehealth can be used to increase access to care, the provision most significant to physical therapy would allow for any Medicare enrolled provider or supplier to be reimbursed for care provided via telehealth as long as the cost of that care is the same or less and has no negative impact on access to care or quality. The legislation would also allow PTs to be reimbursed for telehealth if the care is provided as part of a bundled or global payment program. Download One-Pager.
- This patient-centered policy will allow you to use technology to better serve your patients and your community.
- The use of telehealth could reduce travel times and cancelled appointments due to transportation challenges.
- Increased compliance improves outcomes; telehealth can be used to encourage patients to successfully complete their home exercises.
Follow up your meeting with a handwritten note mailed to the district office. In that note, invite your legislator 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