Friday, April 20, 2007

H.R. 1846, The Medicare Access to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services Improvement Act

We (Lymphedema Stakeholders) are part of the coalition working on this and Lymphedema People submitted a support document as well.

Lymphedema Patients - here is your chance to speak and make your voices heard!!!!!!

Dear Coalition members, supporters and friends:

I am pleased to announce that Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) introduced legislation that will restore the right of physicians to determine what health professionals are best suited to provide physical medicine and rehabilitation services to Medicare beneficiaries under the supervision of a physician.

H.R. 1846, The Medicare Access to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services Improvement Act, will restore physician choice of who they can hire to provide therapy services to their Medicare patients. By restoring physician authority, all of the Coalition’s members and friends who can legally provide physical medicine and rehabilitation services under the supervision of a physician will be covered by the “incident to” section of the bill.

We expect a companion bill to be introduced in the Senate soon.

This legislation is an important step toward ensuring that Medicare beneficiaries have access to quality health care and restoring physician choice of therapy providers working under the physician’s supervision.

Like the bill introduced in the 109th Congress, H.R. 1846 also establishes education and credentialing standards for athletic trainers and lymphedema therapists as Medicare-covered providers. There have been two minor changes to this bill compared to the version introduced in the Senate last year. The first change is that it more clearly designates the physician/hospital/clinic as the entity that will receive payment. The second change only relates to athletic trainers. It states that in the six states where there is no athletic trainer (AT) licensure, both a bachelor’s degree and national certification will be required in order for the AT to qualify as a Medicare-covered provider.

We are requesting your help with the following:

· Immediately activate your grassroots and tell them to ask their Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1846. One of the largest organizations representing therapy providers already covered by Medicare, worked hard to discourage Rep. Towns from even introducing this bill. Ask your members, professional colleagues and patients to send support letters and attend home-town meetings to demonstrate their support of this legislation and Rep. Towns’ bold leadership. Go here for a list of district offices to call to find out the next coalition Web site.

· Make an appointment to see your Representative while he or she in the district over the Spring work session. A meeting with your representatives in your home town will make an impact. ·

Contact me if you plan to travel to Washington D.C. I will assist you with getting appointments with your Representative and talking points, etc.

· Get your physicians, other health care providers and patients involved.

Please contact me and let me know what action you will take to support this legislation and Rep. Towns in his leadership role. I will be happy to assist with news releases and letter writing. Talking points and Q&A are located on the Coalition web site. I will continue to serve as the Coalition’s organizer at no cost to you, the Coalition member, supporter or friend.

If you are not already a member of the Coalition, please consider joining. There are no dues, no fees or commitment to action. We only ask that you support the Coalition’s original mission of reversing the therapy-incident to problem. If you know of patient groups that can support this effort, ask them to join also. Local, state, regional and national groups are welcome.

Thank you for your support and contribution of your valuable resources. On behalf of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, we are grateful for your support. NATA believes 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 continue to spread misinformation about the educational and clinical qualifications of therapy providers like you, and we need each other’s commitment to action and change.

You can make the difference today.

With best regards and many thanks,

Cate Brennan Lisak, Organizer for

214.637.6282 ext. 148 * 214.637.2206 F


Medicare Access to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services Improvement Act of 2007 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to provide for: (1) access to outpatient occupational and physical therapy services provided incident to a physician's professional services if furnished by an educated or credentialed therapist who does not have a license; and (2) coverage of certified athletic trainer services and lymphedema therapist services under part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance) of Medicare, including those provided in rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers.

Supported and Endorsed by

Pat O'Connor
Lymphedema People