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AAHSA Statement: Therapy Caps Ration Care
Date:7/2/2008

Statement from Larry Minnix, President & CEO, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, on the Expiration of the Medicare Therapy Caps Exceptions Process

WASHINGTON, July 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following is a statement from Larry Minnix, President & CEO, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, on the Expiration of the Medicare Therapy Caps Exceptions Process:

"Medicare beneficiaries are once again having their physical and occupational therapy rationed with the expiration of the exceptions process on Medicare coverage of outpatient therapy back in effect as of yesterday. This is unconscionable public policy to ration therapy for people recovering from strokes, hip replacements and other conditions for which outpatient therapy can restore health and independence for patients.

"Therapy caps are a powerful example of bad public policy driven by regulation and cost cutting instead of human need. Older people are likely to find out when they go for their therapy appointments that their Medicare coverage won't be there for them.

"Coverage now is capped at $1,810 for physical and speech therapy combined and another $1,810 for occupational therapy for each beneficiary. Furthermore, since CMS will count any therapy a beneficiary may have received since Jan.1, 2008 against the cap, many beneficiaries will already have exceeded their annual cap.

"If a beneficiary had a hip replacement in January and then suffers a stroke in August, she will not be able to get coverage for the therapy that will help her recover from both illnesses and eventually need less medical intervention.

"Immediately after it returns from Independence Day recess, Congress must pass the legislation necessary to reinstitute the exceptions process. By an overwhelming bi-partisan majority, the House has already passed H.R. 6331, which extends the exceptions process for 18 months. We urge the Senate to do likewise, and the
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SOURCE American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
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