Legislation, Advocacy, and the Government Affairs Committee
By Tom DiAngelis, PT, DPT
The Government Affairs Committee (GAC) serves at the pleasure of the Private Practice Section (PPS) Board of Directors and works closely with the PPS lobbyist to provide feedback and recommendations to the Board on legislative issues that impact our patients and practices.
Serving as guides through the process are the PPS Legislative and Advocacy Priorities as well as the Section’s strategic plan.
The fall is always an interesting time from an advocacy perspective, and this year has proven to be no different. A few of the major issues the Government Affairs Committee has been actively monitoring and participating in include the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Request for Information specific to the physician self-referral Stark law, and the upcoming elections.
I won’t go into a lot of detail on these issues as there is a wealth of information on both the PPS and American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) websites. However, the reason that CMS is looking for comments surrounding the self-referral law is that they, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, feel that the law is interfering with coordinated care and bundled payments. The GAC, along with the PPS Payment Policy Committee, provided feedback to our lobbyist who then worked with President Norby to develop PPS’s comments. Please see the advocacy tab on the PPS website to read PPS’s submission. As you are all aware, under the proposed rule, physical therapists were added to the list of Medicare-eligible providers who could be required to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, known as MIPS. The proposed rule also listed occupational therapists, clinical social workers, and clinical psychologists. Participation in this program offers an opportunity for CMS to reward value as part of the Quality Payment Program.
A big focus for the GAC this year is the upcoming elections. Every two years following the mid-term elections, the GAC meets at the PPS office to discuss and plan the Legislative and Advocacy Priorities for the Section that coincide with the new Congress. We feel it is important to meet following the elections as the make-up of the new Congress can, and does, have tremendous influence on our priorities. This year’s elections are even more interesting because of the number of representatives not seeking reelection, which at last count was 65. In addition, a fair number of the 65 sit on various committees that have jurisdiction in health care. So, as the country transitions from the 115th to the 116th Congress, the GAC, your lobbyist, and your board of directors will be analyzing the impact and setting our priorities accordingly. Since our meeting doesn’t take place until early December 2018, while at conference please seek us out and provide any thoughts you have that may help us in our discussions. Finally, once the elections are over if you have a relationship with one of your members of Congress, please let us know!