Therapy Cap Repeal Bills Introduced: Help Our Congressional Champions Stop the Cap!
The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act of 2011 (H.R. 1546/S. 829) was introduced in both the House and Senate. The legislation would fully repeal the Medicare Part B Outpatient Therapy Caps on occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology services.
In order to accomplish the task of bipartisan introduction, AOTA received enthusiastic support from our Congressional champions. Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) championed the legislation along with 8 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate, including Akaka (D-HI), Blunt (R-MO), Franken (D-MN), Graham (R-SC), Inouye (D-HI), Johnson (D-SD), Leahy (D-VT), and Reed (D-RI) while Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Xavier Becerra (D-CA) took the lead on the bill in the House of Representatives.
Advocacy is needed now to both thank the Congressional leaders listed above for their support of occupational therapy and to help them build broad support for the legislation.
Your help is needed to spread the word about the re-introduction of the repeal legislation in the current 112th Congress and to urge your elected officials to become cosponsors of the bills. “The political and economic environment make passing legislation in this Congress a daunting task," said Tim Nanof, AOTA's Federal Affairs Manager. "Having Senators Cardin and Collins as well as Representatives Becerra and Gerlach leading this effort makes success possible if we all do our part. While AOTA is working for you on Capitol Hill we need your support and grassroots advocacy to make sure Congress knows the problem of the cap is a direct problem for their constituents."
AOTA worked hard to secure bipartisan introduction of the bills because the issue of access to care for Medicare beneficiaries crosses party lines, and support from both Republicans and Democrats is key to Congressional action on the cap.
If Congress fails to act and address the cap, it is estimated that in 2012 alone more than 640,000 Medicare beneficiaries would be denied access to rehabilitation services they need to live life to its fullest. The current exceptions process, which ensures continued access to medically necessary rehabilitation, is set to expire on December 31, 2011. Without Congressional action this year a cap of $1,870 would be applied to occupational therapy and a separate cap of $1,870 would be applied to physical therapy and speech-language pathology services combined.
In order to support AOTA’s efforts, grassroots advocacy is absolutely essential. The economic environment and the contentious political climate make action on the cap even more challenging than in recent years. Congress will not act unless they hear directly from their constituents that the therapy cap is a priority issue for occupational therapy practitioners and the clients we serve.
Take Action Now!
To support member education and advocacy, AOTA has dedicated a portion of the Legislative Action Center to the Cap and also created a Stop the Medicare Therapy Cap Facebook page that currently has more than 4,300 fans. Please use these resources and others to do your part in the fight for OT. AOTA has also created some advocacy Podcasts and lobbying tips to help new advocates broadcast their message to Capitol Hill in high definition. Together we can Stop the Cap!
To learn more and to take action please go the AOTA’s Legislative Action Center and contact Congress today!