Advocating for PPS members requires engaging with both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Your role as a PPS Key Contact focuses on the policy changes that can be made by Legislative branch and Members of Congress. Our other efforts focus on Executive Agencies which issue regulations to implement the laws passed by Congress.
VA Working on Regulations to Allow Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) to care for TRICARE Beneficiaries
The Department of Defense (DoD) published the proposed regulations to add PTAs and OTAs to the TRICARE program. PPS commented on the proposed rule. In the interest of administrative simplification, PPS supported DoD’s proposal to tie the qualifications of PTAs under the TRICARE program to Medicare’s requirements. In its comments, PPS took the opportunity strongly recommend that the DoD clarify that the “direct supervision” requirement is met when the supervising physical therapists is in the same office suite as the PTA at the time of service, and that the supervising physical therapist is not required to be in the same room with the PTA at the time the service is performed. While the DoD proposed to tie reimbursement rates of PTAs in TRICARE to those of Medicare, PPS instead suggested that the rates for PTAs be the same as for PTs—as a way to preemptively avoid the inevitable 85% payment differential for PTAs under Medicare that is required by law. Finally, in light of the time that has passed since the DoD was granted this rulemaking authority, PPS strongly encouraged the DoD to promulgate the regulations as soon as possible, with an effective date that immediately follows the publication of the final rule. The final DoD regulations on PTAs under TRICARE is likely to be published before the end of the summer, so if all goes smoothly, coverage of PTAs under TRICARE should become effective by January 2020 at the latest.
Committees of Healthcare Jurisdiction in the House
In the House there were many changes made to the rosters of the committees of healthcare jurisdiction. The Democrats now hold the majority of seats on each committee and a large number of Republicans serving on these committees retired or lost their reelections. Check out the full rosters below and look for the name of your Representative. Red font indicates that the member is a new addition to that committee.
House of Representatives
It is important that the members serving on the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees (which have jurisdiction over healthcare issues) hear from their constituents. Check the above committee membership rosters for the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees and see if your Representatives has been assigned to either the main committee or the health subcommittee. If so, please reach out to his/her offices via their websites (the standard naming convention is “lastname.house.gov”), sign up for their newsletters, and share the PPS legislative priorities with their staff.
As staffing is completed for those members who have been assigned to committees of relevant jurisdiction, you will hear from me with individual contact information.
Thank you for your continued advocacy!
For information on PPS’s legislative priorities and activities, visit the Advocacy section at www.ppsapta.org