Government Affairs Committee Report
By Mark E. Reitz, PT
As incoming chairman of the PPS Government Affairs Committee (the GAC), I have some large shoes to fill.
I am succeeding my good friend Tom DiAngelis, two-term PPS president and Dicus Award winner, who has guided us through some unique times in Washington. I am ready for the challenge, however, bringing the experience of 33 years of PPS membership and five years of membership on the GAC to the table. I have also been mentored by two extremely knowledgeable lobbyists, Jerry Connolly and Alpha Lillstrom Cheng. For those of you who do not know Alpha, I strongly recommend you take the time to meet her at the upcoming PPS conference in Orlando. We are extremely fortunate to have such a gifted lobbyist working for us at PPS.
I chose to give my time to the GAC because I believe it is one of the most important committees in PPS. Our primary function is to help the PPS Board set its legislative agenda. This is accomplished on a regular basis by monthly conference calls that include the members of the GAC, Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, the PPS executive director, a payment policy representative, and the PPS board liaison, which in our case is our president Sandy Norby, PT, DPT. A less frequent but even more important meeting occurs every two years (after each presidential and midterm election). The GAC meets in the APTA offices in Alexandria with many members of the PPS Board of Directors as well as Alpha and the executive director to brainstorm over two full days deciding how to prioritize the PPS legislative and regulatory agenda based on the makeup of Congress at that given time. It is imperative that PPS members let the GAC know what issues are concerning you so we can give them the proper attention as we prioritize our agenda. As a PT PAC trustee (yes, I am one of the redcoats, too!), I have the opportunity to help raise the money that then finances the opportunity of our membership to meet with their senators and representatives to educate them regarding our many concerns.
The GAC has recently planned such an event with the fly-in for Key Contacts on September 23 and 24. This fly-in has been designed just for the PPS in lieu of tagging along with the entire APTA so that we can discuss issues that are specifically pertinent to the PPS and not the entire profession. My gratitude goes out to another good friend and fellow GAC member Cristina Faucheux, who has grown our Key Contact program to 318 members since she took over this program in 2014.
I am looking forward to leading this amazing group of physical therapists for the next three years. We have some major issues in Washington to deal with and correct, but I am confident that with the help of the talented therapists on our committee, we will have a successful future. I hope to see you all in Orlando.
Mark E. Reitz, PT, is the founder of Penn Therapy Associates, Inc., in Havertown, Pennsylvania. He began practicing in 1979 at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after graduating from Columbia University’s PT program. Mark now serves as the chairman of the government affairs committee at PPS.