Government Affairs Committee

By Mark E. Reitz, PT, Chairman

As I write this article in early May, we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stress has affected us all. From private practice owners to part-time physical therapist aides, we have all faced stress of varying degrees. This issue of Impact focuses on stress management — very timely indeed. As July and August arrive, we will be collecting the diminished revenue we generated in May and June. Hopefully all of us are seeing numbers near our historical norms as you read this issue and seeing light at the end of the tunnel. For many of us, stress is caused by fear of the unknown. COVID-19 certainly fell into that category. Relevant and timely information can diminish stress by answering some of the unknown questions that we were facing. As chairman of the Government Affairs Committee (GAC), I was invited to sit on the PPS COVID-19 Advisory Committee. Being a part of this amazing group of intelligent, hard-working, and forward-thinking physical therapists has been one of the highlights of my professional career. This group decreased my stress immensely despite the increased workload I inherited by participating on this committee. We worked hard to find answers and provide those answers to our PPS members. Hopefully this information helped relieve your stress as it did mine. It also made me proud to be a physical therapist.

Through this entire pandemic, the GAC has been working overtime as regulations and legislation moved through Washington, DC, at a record pace. Thanks to the work put in by the wonderful members on my committee, we were able to assist our rock-star lobbyist Alpha Lillstrom Cheng in providing the PPS Board of Directors and Advisory Committee with timely information. This allowed the Board to act quickly in a very dynamic environment. Some unique opportunities for advocacy have been presented as issues we’ve worked on for many years, such as telehealth, received some temporary changes in regulations. Our work continues now to advocate that these gains remain in place, as well as to be sure insurance companies do not use some of our gains against us moving forward.

This December after the presidential election, the GAC is scheduled to meet in Washington, DC, with Alpha, PPS COO Carrie Stankiewicz, and several members of the PPS Board of Directors to discuss all of these issues and once again prioritize the PPS legislative agenda for the next two years. This process happens every two years after midterm and presidential elections. What our major challenges will be by then is unknown as I write this article in May, but there will be challenges for sure. Please let me or any member of the GAC know what legislative or regulatory issues most concern you so we can discuss them. Remember we are all here to represent you, the PPS membership. We hope to take away some of that fear of the unknown and help your stress management by promoting legislation that will help your practice succeed. Success does tend to decrease stress after all! As physical therapists, we are a resilient bunch and I am confident that we have all learned a tremendous amount from a terrible situation and have landed in a better place than from where we started. I hope we can all get together in Washington, DC, for the PPS Annual Conference this Fall as I am sure it will be a huge party this year. We will have a lot to celebrate indeed! 

The next Board meeting will take place August 19-22, 2020.

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