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Medicare Fee Cuts Could Devastate Rehabilitation Services, Physical Therapists Warn Congress
Date:5/8/2008

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pending cuts to the Medicare physician fee schedule could severely hamper the ability of physical therapists to serve the rehabilitation needs of seniors and people with disabilities -- driving up overall costs while decreasing quality of care, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and its Private Practice Section.

In testimony May 8 before a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, Tom DiAngelis, PT, vice president of APTA's Private Practice Section, commented that a scheduled 10.6 percent cut in Medicare physician payments could have an especially devastating impact on PTs in private practice, who are faced with not only the rising costs of running a small business, but also decreases in revenue due to a variety of government payment and policy challenges. The hearing on "Medicare Physician Fee Cuts: Can Small Practices Survive?" provided an opportunity for the committee to examine the potential impact of fee cuts on the practices of physicians and other allied health professionals. Unless Congress intervenes, the cuts will go into effect July 1, 2008, and could also have significant ramifications on the services offered to Medicare patients, according to APTA.

"These Medicare beneficiaries are individuals who have suffered from stroke, had joint replacements or chronic diseases that impair their ability to move, walk and perform their daily tasks," DiAngelis testified. "Physical therapist small businesses address these beneficiaries' health care needs throughout the United States and contribute to the health status of our country, including its economic health."

Physical therapists, in particular, are being hit especially hard, according to DiAngelis. Not only will they experience the overall 10.6 percent reduction in payment under the fee schedule, they also will be subject to an arbitrary annual cap of $1,810 per beneficiary on outpatient se
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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