Join Us for Capitol Hill Day

Posted by Marsha Lawrence, PT, CHT on 07/22/2016

There has never been a more crucial time or a better opportunity to participate in forming the future of our profession. In recent weeks, CMS has released several proposed rules that will seriously impact the provision of hand therapy services to beneficiaries in the coming years. You can sharpen your pencils and get ready for more documentation or follow the lead of presidential candidates and tweet, but real change takes face-to-face action! 

We have the unprecedented opportunity to join with our partners at AOTA to meet with legislative staff and communicate our concerns over pending rules and legislation. We can also express support for many initiatives introduced in both Houses. As a smaller specialty practice, hand therapists fly “under the radar” of most legislators and federal agencies. Capitol Hill Day enables us to engage in meaningful dialogue to bring our profession to their attention.

Some of the critical issues facing us currently include: The Quality Payment Procedures (QPP), new evaluation coding and proposed orthotics legislation. QPP was released in April in response the MACRA legislation passed a year earlier. Details are available in the Practice section of the ASHT website. CMS recognized the rule was complex and set aside $100 million for training small practices. Imagine how many beneficiaries could be helped with those funds… Because the final rule will not be published until November, you have the opportunity to discuss the impact of the new rule with your legislators and their representatives.

The proposed revisions to payment policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2017 includes statements confirming that therapy will not be added to the list of approved telehealth providers in 2017. It is clear that Congress will have to pass legislation to allow therapy to participate. There are presently multiple bills in both Houses that would allow therapy participation. Learn more in the Active Legislation section of the ASHT website. Your voice can move this legislation forward.

The rule above also introduced new evaluation codes for physical and occupational therapy that will impact practices employing both PTs and OTs to treat hands. ASHT is working on a response to these codes and their valuations, and will update our members as new information comes to light. Learn more

ASHT members have the opportunity to guide the future of our profession and the futures of our patients. Don’t let the opportunity pass by! Join your colleagues at Capitol Hill Day this September 19. It will be an exciting time to be in Washington DC!

ASHT is pleased to partner with the American Occupational Therapy Association for Capitol Hill Day to create an advocacy opportunity will allow our members both PTs and OTs, to promote education to our nation’s legislators on the issues that impact the provision of hand therapy services. In preparation for Hill visits, AOTA will conduct an advocacy training session (2 CEUs, at no additional registration cost) Sunday, September 18 - following the close of the 39th Annual Meeting. This session will provide an overview of Congressional activities and legislation that impact the provision of occupational and physical therapy services.

To facilitate your participation in Capitol Hill Day, additional hotel rooms are available for Sunday night at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Within walking distance of the Hill, the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is a great location to spend your last night in DC (and check your luggage) while educating members of Congress. It’s also conveniently located within walking distance of Union Station. ASHT was able to secure a great rate of $219/Sunday night for your convenience! For more information, please visit the Capitol Hill Day page of our 39th Annual Meeting site.