Face-to-Face with your Members of Congress

Members of Congress have left Washington D.C. for the summer recess.  This at-home work period will last through all of August as well as the first week of September following Labor Day.  This is the time of year when lawmakers plan to spend a significant amount of time visiting with and hearing from their constituents.  Make the most of it! 

Advocacy Opportunity 1:

Mark an August 1st deadline on your calendar to request meetings and offer site visits to your legislators and their staff during the month-long August (and the first week of September) recess.  If you schedule a site visit, please reach out to your PPS Lobbyist Alpha Lillstrom Cheng for planning support.  

When the staff or Member of Congress visits your clinic, it will enable these policymakers to mentally reference what they learned from you, and solidify their association of you with the profession of physical therapy and the local economic impact of your small business.  As a result, they may then seek you out as a trusted touchstone on whether proposed legislation would be favorable to private practice physical therapists.

Advocacy Opportunity 2:

Jump at any opportunities to attend public town halls, community meetings or fundraisers so that you can talk to your legislators about the PPS legislative priorities and the impact you have on your community.  Post photos of you attending these events and tag your legislator on social media platforms, please also tag PPS using #______ [Mariesa, please fill this in]

When you see your lawmaker, be sure to introduce yourself as a private practice physical therapist, hand them your business card, and then follow up with a call to the district office to request a meeting with staff.  When planning your meeting with your legislator or his/her staff, please refer to the “Nuts and Bolts of In-District Advocacy” document on the PPS advocacy page for tips. 

Supporting the Physical Therapist Workforce in Underserved Areas

Your advocacy efforts asking for Members of Congress to cosponsor the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act  (S.970/H.R.2802) have been effective.  Twenty cosponsors have been added to the House bill since the last legislative update!  H.R.2802 now has 43 cosponsors in the House and S.970 has 5 cosponsors in the Senate.  Check the hyperlinks in the last sentence to see if your Representative or Senators have yet to cosponsor the bills.

These bills seek to add physical therapists to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).  As you know, the NHSC allows for the placement of certain health care professionals in areas designated as a health care professional shortage area (HPSA).  In exchange for serving at least two years in these areas, eligible health professionals are provided up to $50,000 towards the cost of their education.  Adding physical therapists to the NHSC will enable patients in underserved areas have better access to nonpharmacological options for the prevention, treatment, and management of pain.  

Advocacy Opportunity 3:

Keep up the good work and help increase the number of cosponsors!  If your lawmaker has already signed onto the bill, be sure to thank them.  If not, call or email your lawmaker and their healthcare policy staff and ask for your Senator/Representative to cosponsor the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (S.970/H.R.2802) to add physical therapists to the list of providers eligible to participate in the National Health Service Corps.  A one-pager that you can refer to during meetings and share with your Members of Congress and their legislative staff is available on the PPS advocacy page.  If you are on social media, follow up with a tweet or facebook post. 

Use the following talking points: 

  1. Adding physical therapists to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) will increase patient access to PT care and rehabilitation in underserved communities across America.
  2. Physical therapy is an essential component of the multidisciplinary undertaking that will be required to improve both patient outcomes and alter the trajectory of the current opioid crisis.  
  3. Cosponsor S.970/H.R.2802 in order to improve access to nonpharmacological options for the prevention, treatment, and management of pain.  This increased access will both prevent opiate abuse and help those who are already struggling with addiction to opiates.  
  4. This bipartisan effort could improve lives of those in pain while also encouraging PTs to practice in rural and underserved areas.

For information on PPS’s legislative priorities and activities, visit the Advocacy section at www.ppsapta.org

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