We Need to Do Better
By Tom DiAngelis, PT, DPT
As many of you are aware from our emails, this past spring PPS, along with member contacts in Oregon, held a fundraiser for the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden. For those of you who made a donation, thank you. For those who did not, I am not sure what to say.
I respect those who didn’t contribute but replied to the request for support and let me know why you weren’t going to give—versus ignoring the request, knowing that a small percentage of members would once again step up and lead. For those of you in this category, I refer to you as the coattail riders: Always content to ride the coattails of those who know the importance of these events and will always help any way they can.
However, part of the problem is the misunderstanding of the importance these events have on our organization. Perhaps PPS has not adequately relayed the message indicating their importance. This fact became evident to me when one member replied that they wouldn’t support the party that brought us “Obamacare.” First of all, to this member, thank you. At least I understand and respect your position. However, it makes me feel that we need to send a better message to our members in regard to our advocacy efforts with these events.
I don’t look at the purpose of a fundraiser so much as a division between party lines, but rather how it can help our profession—now, and in the future. In this case, Senator Wyden had a plan to permanently fix the Sustainable Growth Rate. It was a reasonable plan that unfortunately didn’t go anywhere. This was not a party plan, but his plan. Our colleagues in Oregon have relayed that the senator is a long-time supporter of physical therapy. I realize if we don’t adequately convey this information, it is difficult for our members to understand the importance of supporting this candidate.
While the Democratic Party did bring us Obamacare, some of you may not realize that the biggest stumbling block to getting rid of the In-Office Ancillary Service Exceptions (IOASE) is on the House side with the Republican Party. For reference, it is the IOASE that allows for Physician-Owned Physical Therapy Services. The House has a very strong physician caucus, and we have been told that the IOASE is a nonstarter that the Republican leadership will not touch.
Based on this scenario—whom do we support? It comes down to the individual and learning as much as we can about their history of support and how they might be of influence, as well as how they might support us, in the future. Keep in mind, we never know when that will happen. Who would have thought an everyday politician would one day be the Chair of one of the most influential committees in the Senate?