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American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Endorses Move that Puts Patients in the Driver’s Seat for Physical Therapy


AARP, which is more than 37-million members strong, is publicly supporting the tightening of restrictions on physician self-referral. In a letter addressed to Rep. Jackie Speier (D), dated December 11, 2014, AARP expressed its support of tighter physician self-referral restrictions by eliminating the in-office ancillary services exception. Under the Stark law, the exception is for physical therapy, radiation therapy, anatomic pathology and advanced imaging.


Speier sponsored the legislation aimed at improving health care while reducing cost.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), which is the organization that represents physical therapists, also supports tighter restrictions on physician self-referral and Speier’s legislation. The Stark law prohibits a physician from making referrals for many Medicare health services to a service with which that physician or an immediate family member has a financial relationship. But an exception of the Stark law, notably, the in-office ancillary services exception, puts physical therapy services into a loophole.

According to the APTA, the government’s Office of Management and Budget concluded that closing the loophole for these services would save more than $6 billion in 10 years.

“APTA continues to urge Congress to take action to close this loophole, which threatens the integrity of the Medicare program” APTA President Paul A Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, said in a press release. “We’d like to see patients put back in the driver’s seat, receiving treatment because they need it to be healthy, not because of the profit it will generate. It is time to take action. It is time for Congress to pass the Protecting Integrity in Medicare Act (PIMA) (H.R. 2914) and close the loophole. We are pleased to see AARP join the fight, and we stand behind them 100 percent.”

AARP’s support is timely, as President Obama assembles his Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

“This is a huge win for health care. We’ve been working hard for years to make these changes, and it is exciting to see a major influencer like AARP join the effort,” said physical therapist Terry Brown, president of the Private Practice Section of the APTA. “These changes to the … exception would shift the focus in health care from profit and put it back on the patient.”
APTA is a founding member of the Alliance for Integrity in Medicare, a group of organizations that advocates for Congress to address the In-office ancillary services exception (IOAS) loophole. For more information about the loophole affecting physical therapy care in America and information about how anyone can take action, go to www.aimcoalition.com.

Physical therapy services are important to patients’ overall health care, in maintaining quality of life, productivity and independence. For more about what a physical therapist can do to increase a patient’s function, movement, balance, posture, agility, strength and more, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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