Lymphedema Stakeholders, Inc. is proud to announce that Senator Craig Thomas (R–Wyo.) introduced federal legislation on Thursday, September 28, that will enable ALL state licensed or certified therapy providers to once again provide physical medicine and rehabilitation services to Medicare beneficiaries under the supervision of physicians in “incident to” reimbursement situations.
The Access to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services Improvement Act of 2006 (S.3963) will restore physician choice of whom they can hire to provide services to their Medicare patients. This includes lymphedema therapists that are RN’s, LPN’s and LMT’s.
This legislation is an important step to ensuring Medicare beneficiaries access to quality health care and restoring physician choice of therapy providers working under their supervision.
The second part of the bill makes lymphedema therapists covered providers for the purposes of Medicare reimbursement. It is believed that lymphedema therapists represent a great opportunity for cost savings to the Medicare program. Secondly, breast cancer survivors suffering from lymphedema have lost access to more than one-third of these specially trained therapists because of the Medicare rule.
We need your help with the following:
What to do this week:
· Immediately activate your grassroots in Wyoming. We’ve already encountered strong opposition to this legislation. Ask your members and contacts (patients, too!) in Wyoming to attend town hall meetings to demonstrate their support of this legislation and Sen. Thomas’ bold leadership. The web form page is here:
Wyoming members or anyone knowing anyone in Wyoming should immediately call or write Erin Tuggle at (202) 224.6441 and tell her how much they appreciate Senator Thomas’ support of your profession. Erin is Sen. Thomas’ legislative aide. For your members outside of Wyoming, a quick e-mail thank you will be helpful.
· Call or write Sen. Alren Specter and thank him for co-sponsoring S.3963. (202) 224-4254
Call or write Sen. Jim Bunning and thank him for co-sponsoring S. 3963. (202) 224-4343
What to do in the coming weeks and months:
· Make an appointment to see your congressperson while they are in his/her district campaigning (October-early November). A meeting with your representatives in your hometown will make an impact. Use the attached talking points
· Make future contacts with your home senators and representatives and ask them to co-sponsor or support S.3963. The more co-sponsors we have, the more likely it is our legislation will be successful. This can be a telephone call, a letter, an email, or an in-person visit. This will be a sustained campaign and I’ll be in contact with you regularly to request your help.
· Contact the Coalition to Preserve Patients Access Organizer (Cate Brennan Lisak - 800.879.6282 ext. 148) if you plan to travel to Washington D.C. She will assist you with getting appointments with your congressperson and talking points, etc.
· Get your physicians, other health care providers and patients involved.
Thank you for your support and contribution of your valuable resources. On behalf of Lymphedema Stakeholders and the Coalition to Preservice Patient Access to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services we are grateful for your support. We believe that together we can get the unfair and ill-advised therapy-incident to rule corrected and improve patient care. Our opposition wants to continue to limit patient access to quality health care and not allow physician choice of who can provide therapy services. They are spreading misinformation about the educational and clinical qualifications of therapy providers like you, and we need each other’s commitment to action.
Cheri L. Hoskins, CCT
President, Lymphedema Stakeholders