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Update on Physical Therapy Advocacy

Physical therapists in private practice have been taking one hit after the next for more than a decade.  And while we have professional associations and a lobbying team to help advocate for the profession, there is always more that can be done on an individual basis. 

In September of 2023, our CEO Katie Hohman, DPT began working with the Small Business Administration (SBA) by way of some amazing people and connections.  She was connected through HENO’s CFO, Michael Judith, to Marilyn Landis, a member of the SBA Regulatory Fairness Board.  And then ultimately to Michele Schimpp, the National Ombudsman and Assistant Administrator of Regulatory Fairness of the SBA. 

After months of planning and discussions with the SBA we were able to schedule a roundtable discussion with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in May 2024.  We had some physical therapy superstars at the table that deserve recognition for their time, efforts and commitment to the PT profession. 

  • Helene Fearon, Owner of Fearon Physical Therapy
    • Helene is a past representative to the CPT Editorial panel, past member of the CPT HCPAC and Advisor to the RUC HCPAC (1993-2017) and is based out of Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Bo Hamil, Owner of Southern Therapy Services
    • Past Georgia APTA President and has a practice in East Georgia.
  • Mark Reitz, Owner of Penn Therapy Associates
    • Mark was the previous Chair of the Government Affairs Committee for the Private Practice Section of the APTA. 
  • Kevin Flaherty, Owner or Flaherty Physical Therapy
    • Kevin is the Public Policy Chair for the APTA of Massachusetts and resides in Northborough, MA.
  • Amanda Brewer, Owner of Brewer Physical Therapy
    • Amanda is a Key Contact and part of the Physical Therapy provider Network in Louisiana, and she resides in Shreveport, LA. 

These PTs deserve a huge amount of recognition for not only speaking out for our profession and the issues we all face as practice owners, but also being able to articulate their past experiences in advocacy practice ownership and the impact of the issues we are currently facing in the physical therapy industry today.   These practice owners were able to discuss the following issues our industry is facing with CMS:

  • The administrative burden of POC’s
    • Mark, Helene, Kevin and Bo were able to provide real-world experiences from practices; spending countless hours chasing down physician signatures; the frustrations of this process that even MD’s are struggling with.
  • The shrinking fee schedule
    • Helene was able to talk to CMS about her experience with being an advisor to the RUC, when fee schedules were being established for PT codes.  She was able to discuss the rationale for why they were originally established and why so much has changed that is no longer accounted for.
  • PTA supervision requirements in an outpatient setting
    • Bo and Mark provided valuable information about the rules for PTA supervision in an outpatient setting.  Bo brought his expertise from the state of Georgia APTA Presidential position.  And Mark was able to provide insight as to why this rule needs to be changed or up to the state requirements.

This call was just the beginning of establishing a dialog to address our issues, and it has opened the door for better communication and understanding between the physical therapy profession, the small business association, and CMS.   And the good news is that we already have a follow up call schedule for June 2024! 

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