Government Affairs Committee Chair Letter
By Mark Reitz, PT
No matter the environment in Washington, DC, we must work to help our businesses survive and thrive.
As chairman of the Government Affairs Committee (GAC), it is my responsibility to see that our Section’s legislative and advocacy agenda is promoted and advanced in Washington.
In December, the GAC, many members of the Board of Directors, our lobbyist Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, and our chief operating officer Carrie Stankiewicz, met via zoom for six hours over two days to discuss, plan, and prioritize our Section’s legislative and advocacy agenda for the 117th Congress. This is usually a two-day in-person meeting at the APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, but like everything else this year, things were different. Instead of windows covered with posters filled with ideas from our first-day brainstorming session, my desk was covered with papers as I attempted to herd cats. But with the help of my wonderful committee, we completed our task and were able to present the Board with an updated list of items that we will pursue over the next two years. By the time this article appears in Impact, that list should be available to all of our Section’s members on the website.
We have much to do moving forward. Through our concerted efforts, including the thousands of letters you sent, we avoided the 9% cut. However, we still face a 3.6% cut with an additional 2% cut in April from the pending sequestration that affects all Medicare providers. Those are still unacceptable numbers and we must continue to find ways to offset those cuts. Many other issues continue to face us such as making telehealth a permanent treatment method, achieving locum tenens for all physical therapists and decreasing administrative burden. Our Key Contacts that now number 398 have become our first line of communication with our legislators. We all owe a great deal of thanks to Cristina Fauchaux, PT, for chairing the Key Contact subcommittee and more than tripling the number of key contacts since she took on that responsibility.
We all hope for more a more normal environment in Washington over the next two years that will hopefully provide us with a more stable platform to present our concerns to Congress. But in any case, we will need your support to move our Section’s agenda forward. Please stay tuned to Advocacy updates on the website and act when asked. As John Lennon once said, “Strange days indeed,” but we will persevere and succeed. I hope to see you all in Dallas so we can discuss our strange days over a beverage or two.
Wishing you all the best.