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Physical Therapists Support Patient Access to Much-needed Rehabilitative Care

Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) spoke before some 1,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy on Capitol Hill June 9, 2011. The rally was in support of legislation to increase patient access to rehabilitative care.

Members of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), which represents more than 77,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide, had gathered in Maryland for the association’s annual meeting. They cheered as senators urged them to fight for policies that protect patients by reducing barriers to care.

One bi-partisan bill, the Physical Therapist Student Loan Repayment Eligibility Act (HR 1426/S 975), is aimed at bringing health care professionals to underserved areas in rural America. The rally also brought attention to two other important pieces of proposed legislation: the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (HR 1546/S 829) and Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act (HR 469.

The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act would repeal the arbitrary “cap” on outpatient rehabilitative services for Medicare beneficiaries. The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act includes physical therapists in the multidisciplinary team of licensed health care providers qualified to evaluate and manage concussions. An important aspect of this bill is that it would allow for the development of concussion management guidelines to prevent, identify, treat and manage concussions in school-aged children.

With physical therapists in the lead, patients can help protect their access to care by writing to their members of congress in support of these bills.

Click on this link for the APTA’s press release.

For more about how physical therapy helps people maintain quality of life and independence as they age, as well as how physical therapy restores quality of life and independence for people after injury and surgery, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

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