Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy Priorities for the 115th Congress

By Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, JD, MA, and Jerry Connolly, PT, CAE

Every two years, each seat in the House of Representatives and one-third of the one hundred U.S. Senate seats are up for election. The 115th Congress began on January 3, 2017, when all of the members of the House of Representatives and 34 U.S. senators were sworn in for their terms in office. This new Congress is the most diverse in history, with more minority lawmakers than ever before and a record 21 women in the U.S. Senate. There are 52 new members of the House of Representatives, and the House’s Republican majority was reduced by a dozen to 47. Republicans also hold the majority in the Senate with 52 members to the 46 Democrats and 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats. There are seven new senators, three of whom (Chris Van Hollen [D-MD], Tammy Duckworth [D-IL], and Todd Young [R-IN]) moved from serving their district in the House to representing their whole state in the Senate. While the GOP majority is smaller than in previous Congresses, the party still controls the floor and committee agendas in both chambers.

Legislative and Advocacy Progress in the 114th Congress

By Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, JD, MA, and Jerry Connolly, PT

Over the past two years your lobbyists utilized the Private Practice Section (PPS) legislative and advocacy priorities for the 114th Congress to guide PPS advocacy efforts. With these goals in mind, we cultivated and capitalized on the relationships we have built with members of Congress. Through these efforts and PPS member engagement, we have been able to advance legislation that seeks to remove barriers to access as well as improve the business opportunities and climate for private practice physical therapists. While our advocacy goals have not been fully attained, we can take pride in the progress that has been made. We look forward to building on these accomplishments in pursuit of our goals. In boldface in the following are the Section’s advocacy priorities for the 114th Congress that received the most attention and activity, along with a detailed explanation of the legislative and regulatory activity in pursuit of the PPS mission.

CMS Seeks to Expand Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model to Surgical Hip and Femur Fracture Treatment Episodes

By Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, JD, MA

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) remains focused on regulations to move away from fee-for-service (FFS) and toward value-based payment systems. The first Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model was implemented this April. Then on August 2 CMS proposed an expansion of the current CJR bundling provisions for total hip (THA) and knee (TKA) arthroplasty to a model that will include Medicare beneficiaries undergoing surgical hip and femur fractures treatment (SHFFT) episodes.

Choosing a President


How will your choice affect your business?

By Jerry Connolly, PT, CAE

The conventions of the national political parties have come and gone and a historic presidential election approaches. It has been a tumultuous primary season with results that few predicted; a political outsider as the candidate of the usually more traditional GOP, and the first woman as the nominee of a major political party.

The Value of Feedback


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeks to implement merit-based incentive payment system.

By Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, JD, MA

The Private Practice Section’s (PPS) federal policy efforts focus on advocating for and supporting the passage of bills that impact private practice physical therapy. However, the passage of legislation is not the end of the road for policy development. After a bill is signed into law by the President, the intent and direction of the law needs to be determined and implemented by an agency in the executive branch. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are tasked with drafting, proposing, and finalizing regulations that put meat on the bones of health care laws. Through a process known as “notice of proposed rulemaking” (NPRM), CMS releases draft regulations to the public and requests feedback and comments from stakeholders. Based on the summary, analysis, and draft comments developed by your lobbying team, PPS routinely weighs in on these proposals on behalf of the membership.

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