Legislation, Advocacy, and the Government Affairs Committee
By Tom DiAngelis, PT, DPT
The primary responsibilities of the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) of the Private Practice Section (PPS) are to work with our lobbyists and board of directors on advocacy issues that represent physical therapists in business in regard to federal, state, and association laws, regulations, and policies. In this capacity the GAC serves as an advisory committee to the PPS board on various issues that impact private practice.
Following each election cycle, or every two years, the GAC meets with our lobbyist advisors to review the outcome of the election and recommend to the board our section’s priorities for the new Congress. This year, the highest priorities and areas of focus for the section have been to permanently replace the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and repeal of the therapy cap. Some of the other areas of focus for the GAC this year include the following:
- Legislation to opt out of Medicare
- Legislation to allow physical therapists (PTs) to use locum tenens
- Mitigate the negative effects of physician self-referral
- Work for consistent Medicare standards for supervision of support personnel
- Legislation allowing for physical therapy payment through Medicare and federal health plans for telehealth
- Continue to pursue fair and equitable Medicare reimbursement
- Mitigate the negative effects of market control by insurance plans
- Monitor, respond, and participate in tax reform efforts to benefit physical therapists in private practice
There are many more priorities for the section. A full list can be found on the PPS website at www.ppsapta.org/c/legagenda.cfm.
One of the biggest undertakings of the GAC has been the development of the Key Contact program. Our Key Contact task force has been working diligently on finding PPS members who want to participate in the process and be key contacts for their U.S. representatives and senators. Having a strong key contact program allows PPS to have more consistent contact with the decision makers and ensure our voice and messages are being heard by more than just our lobbyist and board of directors. I urge you to consider participating in this important program, and if you are interested please contact the chair of our task force, Cristina Faucheux, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Election years are always a little different for the GAC due to the congressional workload decreasing significantly in the summer months through the election. As you are aware, members of Congress spend most of their time home in their districts during this period, which means there is not much movement with legislation at this time. However, as previously mentioned, in December following the election, the GAC will meet with our lobbyist and begin to understand the makeup of the new Congress and work on our advocacy and priority efforts moving forward. This is the ideal time for member input as to what you would like to see the section focusing on. I encourage you to contact any member of the GAC, or board, if you feel there is an issue we should be addressing so they can bring that forward at our planning meeting. In addition, the outcome of the elections will most likely create a need for additional or new key contacts, so if you can help by being a key contact please contact Cristina.