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

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"This cap will not save the Medicare program money," added DiAngelis. "It would only shift the cost of care away from outpatient facilities and small business to more costly and less efficient inpatient facilities. Small businesses in physical therapy will be impacted as the therapy cap policy includes an exemption for hospital outpatient departments. This exemption will do nothing more than encourage patients to seek services in the hospital setting to avoid having to change providers over the course of their physical therapy treatment when they reach the cap." APTA is advocating for a repeal of the therapy caps or an extension of the current exceptions process that maintains access to clinically appropriate physical therapy services under Medicare.

In addition to the problems posed by the pending payment cuts and therapy caps, physical therapists in private practice have significant limitations on how patients may access their services and the marketplace, DiAngelis explained. Currently, Medicare requires that patients obtain physician referrals to receive physical therapy, despite laws in 44 states and the District of Columbia providing direct patient access to physical therapists. "If the payment cuts go into effect and physicians stop taking Medicare patients or limit the accessibility or availability of physician services, then access to physical therapy services will be impacted as a ripple effect," DiAngelis added. APTA is lobbying for passage of the Medicare Patient Access to Physical Therapist Act (HR 1552) as one strategy to provide relief to physical therapist small businesses.

"The health care delivery system needs physical therapist small businesses to meet patients' rehabilitation needs," testified DiAngelis. "If those needs are unmet, then health care costs will be transferred to more intensive, costly environments, compounding the existing crisis in health care spending. Physical therapist small bu
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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