Federal Affairs, Member Highlights

A Brief Report from the 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum

Section on Women’s Health members, rising leaders, and current leadership have recently attended the 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum hosted in Washington, D.C. Gail Zitterkopf, SoWH Federal Government Affairs Chair was joined by Section on Women’s Health 2018 FAF scholarship recipients, Cara Morrison, SPT (Student Member)  and Mackenzie Van Loo, PT, DPT (Early-Professional Member) to observe and report back to the Section on the latest developments. The 2018 FAF was also attended by Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, OCS, WCS (SoWH President), Tamela Blalock (SoWH Executive Director), and Secili DeStefano, PT DPT OCS.

2018-APTA-Federal-Advocacy-ForumApril-29-May-1-2018-_-Washington-D.C.-768x644The 2018 FAF was attended by 270 Physical Therapists (PTs), Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs), and students (SPTs) from 48 states who converged on Capitol Hill to educate legislators and staff about a range of important issues impacting the profession. Missed out on the 2018 FAF? Check out this blog post on how you can make an impact!

Below are some updates from the forum:

Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act  (S 808):  

This bill has already passed out of the House (H.R. 302), and has been referred to Senate HELP committee.

What We Are Asking For:

  • Cosponsor the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act to extend liability insurance coverage of a state-licensed medical professional to another state when the professional provides medical services to an athlete, athletic team, or team staff member crosses state lines

This Is Your Message:

  • Currently, liability insurance coverage of a state-licensed physical therapist (and other medical professionals) is not required to carry-over when the professional is required to travel across state lines with an athlete, athletic team, or team staff member.
  • This leaves the physical therapist unprotected and without malpractice insurance when required to travel to states that are not their primary practice location.

The Role of PT in Public Health:

This Is Your Message:

  • Improve access to physical therapy services as part of the solution to America’s Opioid epidemic
  • Importance of educating providers and consumers of the role PTs play in reducing barriers through regulatory reform.

The role of PT in Technology and Digital Health:

What We Are Asking For:

  • Cosponsor the CONNECT for Health Act “Telehealth” (HR 2556/S 1016) and Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (HR 2550)

This Is Your Message:

  • Allow PTs to furnish Telehealth services under the Medicare program
  • Provide information on the PT Outcomes Registry and its role as a qualified clinical data registry in value-based health care

PT Workforce and Patient Access Act  (HR 1639/S 619):

What We Are Asking For:

  • Cosponsor the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act to include physical therapists in the National Health Service Corp’s Loan Repayment Program

This Is Your Message:

  • This legislation matches the goals and mission of the NHSC
  • Can alleviate demand on other primary care providers to increase those serves
  • Provides for greater patient access to rehabilitation (which also could help with Opioid epidemic)
  • No rehab component currently represented in program
  • NHSC is successful pipeline for providers
  • 82% retention rate (PT’s who go to work in these areas, remain in these areas)
  • Helps meet the workforce needs of underserved areas.
  • Demand for PT continues to grow greater than other primary care disciplines
  • This legislation is budget neutral!!

Other Education & Workforce:  Opposed to PROSPER Act (HR 4508) (Reauthorization bill)

This Is Your Message:

  • Discuss the importance of ensuring funding for low-cost student loans, the impact of student debt, and why we are opposed to the PROSPER Act
  • Get rid of the capped aggregate loan amount a student can take out on a federal loan ($28,500/year)

Opposed to the Americans with Disabilities Education and Reform Act (HR 620) as we feel it guts a large portion of the current ADA program.

Lymphedema Treatment Act   (S. 497) (H.R. 930)

Currently, Medicare, and consequently many other policies, do not cover one of the critical components of lymphedema treatment, the medically necessary doctor-prescribed compression supplies used daily in lymphedema treatment. As a result, many patients suffer from recurrent infections, progressive degradation in their condition and eventual disability because they cannot afford the compression supplies required to maintain their condition.

Medicare’s failure to cover compression treatment supplies stems from the fact that these items cannot be classified under any existing benefit category in Medicare statute (law). The Center for Medicare Services (CMS) does not have the authority to add or redefine benefit categories, only Congress does, hence the need for this legislation.

Learn more about Lymphedema Treatment Act.


Gail Zitterkopf, PT, DPT,CLT
Gail Zitterkopf, PT, DPT,CLT
Gail Zitterkopf is the Section on Women’s Health Federal Government Affairs Chair. She can be reached at gailzitterkopf@gmail.com.
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