ADD YOUR VOICE IN SUPPORT OF THE THERAPY CAP REPEAL!
On Thursday, February 14th, Senators Ben Cardin (MD) and Susan Collins (ME) and Representatives Jim Gerlach (PA) and Xavier Becerra (CA) reintroduced a bill to permanently repeal the Medicare outpatient therapy cap. The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act, HR 713 in the House and S 367 in the Senate, is identical to the therapy cap bill introduced in the last Congress.
Add your voice to the debate through AOTA’s Legislative Action Center and join 4000 others who have already sent messages supporting full access to occupational therapy!
AOTA Executive Director Fred Somers notes, “Senators Cardin and Collins, and Representatives Gerlach and Becerra, know therapy is essential for full recovery from stroke or heart disease or for preventing a bad fall. This bill takes a stand against a bad policy and for good health. Therapists and beneficiaries appreciate their continuing leadership on this issue.”
Now, it is more important than ever that Congress hears from you about the need to repeal the therapy cap. Recently, the two House Committees with jurisdiction over healthcare and Medicare (Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means), released a joint “statement of principles” about fixing the current physician payment system, addressing what is known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The problem of the Medicare outpatient therapy cap has long been tied up with the issue of the SGR. Traditionally, fixes to the SGR and the extension of the exceptions process for the Therapy Cap have happened at the same time. Unfortunately, Congress has also used cuts to outpatient therapy, such as the current Multiple Procedure Payment Reductions (MPPR) to help pay for fixing the SGR in addition to paying for the extension of the exceptions process.
Any legislation that reforms Medicare physician payments must also include a fix to the therapy cap. AOTA fully supports repeal of the Medicare Part B Outpatient Therapy Caps, which place arbitrary limits on access to medically necessary rehabilitation services for all Medicare patients seeking outpatient services. The financial restriction of the therapy cap for 2013 is set at $1,900 for occupational therapy services, with a separate therapy cap of $1,900 for physical therapy and speech-language-pathology services combined. But there is also a review process that will take place when a beneficiary reaches the level of $3700; AOTA is working with CMS to assure this is administered in a fair and equitable manner.
But at this time it is critical that Congress continues to focus on the problem of the cap to ensure Medicare beneficiaries get the proper care, for the appropriate duration of time, within the correct timeframe throughout the disease process in order to maximize their function so they can be as independent and productive as possible.
Support for the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act is support for a permanent repeal of the therapy cap. We need members of Congress to show their strong support for this repeal by cosponsoring the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act.
Go the Legislative Action center to contact your Members of Congress, and urge them to co-sponsor Act today.