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California Physical Therapy Association Strongly Supports the "Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act" to Fight Self-Referral of Physical Therapist Services

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On behalf of physical therapists throughout the state, the California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) strongly supports the Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act introduced by Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA).  The legislation, limited to Medicare, calls for eliminating the in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception to the Federal Stark laws, including self-referral of physical therapy, advanced imaging, anatomical pathology and radiation oncology services. Backed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM) coalition, the legislation is intended to eliminate financial incentives from the physician referral process. The IOAS exception was originally intended for same-day services that were fundamental to a physician's services and offered for patient convenience; however, physical therapist services do not meet the intent of the IOAS exception. Recently, the Government Accountability Office conducted studies on the economic and clinical impact of physician self-referral arrangements on health services, including advanced diagnostic imaging and anatomic pathology, and found over utilization of services and unnecessary treatments billed to Medicare.

Following APTA's announcement, Dr. James Syms, PT, DSc, ATC, SCS and President of CPTA, issued this statement:

"On behalf of all California physical therapists, CPTA believes patients have the right to choose their providers, and we strongly support the Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act.

"We have known and consistently stated that the issue of self-referral of physical therapist services would be advanced by federal policymakers and backed by strong national and state support.

"This legislation represents a significant step forward in reducing self-referral of physical therapist services under Medicare that compromises patient access while increasing patient costs.

"Physical therapist services are intended to improve the lives of patients, not serve as a revenue and profit source for health care providers.

"CPTA does not support provider practices that attempt to compromise patient access, safety and affordability of physical therapist services in exchange for increased profits.

"With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we are facing a shift in the way health care services are delivered.  The Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act is in concert with health care reform and will bring about needed changes to improve patient access to safe, physical therapist services."

SOURCE California Physical Therapy Association
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