Federal Legislative Issues Update - December 2010
Congress Extends Medicare Part B Exceptions Process
AOTA advocacy achieved number of key victories for the profession of occupational therapy and its clients during the final weeks of the 111th Congress, with the passage of the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 (H.R. 4994), which President Obama is expected to sign in the next several days
The package include a 1 year extension of the Medicare Part B Outpatient Therapy exceptions process and staves off the scheduled 25% reduction in reimbursement for providers including occupational therapy practitioners through 2011. The therapy cap amount for 2011 is $1870.
Senate Introduces the Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act
Federal Affairs staff has made major progress on our home health initiative; Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced the Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act (S 3978), a companion to our House measure (HR 1094), which would make occupational therapy an initiating service under the Medicare home health benefit. This is the first time in several years we have been able to secure the introduction of legislation in both the House and Senate. This development positions us to identify possible legislative vehicles in either chamber as the 111th Congress winds down, and almost guarantees introduction in both houses during the 112th Congress, set to begin in January.
The American Occupational therapy Association (AOTA) continues to work towards passage of the Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act (S.3978/H.R.1094) to remove a long standing problem for the profession. We can do this now, but we need YOUR help! Utilize the Legislative Action Center to make your voice heard on this critical issue.
Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR)
AOTA was successful in it’s efforts to reduce the impact of the MPPR policy from a 25% cut to certain office-based practice expenses for therapy services to 20%. AOTA is currently working with CMS and the Hill to separate the therapies for purposes of the MPPR. For more information, see AOTA's analysis of the fee schedule final rule and the Legislative Action Center.
Veterans Bill of Rights Passes House of Representatives
The Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights (H.R. 5428) introduced by Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) passed the House and has been sent to the Senate for consideration. AOTA has been following the bill and supports passage to ensure access to quality care for veterans with traumatic injuries and amputations. AOTA is working with Congressional leaders to ensure that the final version of the bill and any report language accompanying the bill provides recognition for the quality care provided by occupational therapy practitioners. Action in the Senate may come before the end of the Congressional session for 2010 but time is growing short and several large items remain unaddressed. If the Senate does not take action before they adjourn for the year the bill will need to be reintroduced in both Chambers for 2011 and the 112th Congress.
AOTPAC is still working to reach its 2010 goal to raise $250,000. We still need to raise additional pledges to reach our goal.. November 2 elections bring many new faces to Washington who need to know about occupational therapy. We need all AOTA members to contribute to help us continue our work to protect OT. Contributions of any amount will help us support our friends and build new relationships as we approach the new Congress in 2011.
AOTPAC supported a bipartisan slate of candidates for the 2010 elections and will be looking to support new faces as we approach the 112th Congress. AOTPAC welcomes recommendations for federal candidate support from AOTPAC contributors, so if you would like to make a recommendation, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and tell us who and why we should support this individual.
Health Care Reform
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues to play a leading role. AOTA continues to monitor, identify and address issues critical to the profession. AOTA is working in concert with other national associations, federal agencies, and our champions on Capitol Hill to protect and advance the interests of the profession and the clients we serve.
AOTA will continue to actively engage on key issues throughout the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Visit AOTA’s and Regulatory policy pages (www.aota.org) to keep up to date with the latest on implementation of the Affordable Care Act and what is happening on Capitol Hill.