BEND, OR – For the second time in as many years, founder and principal at Vantage Clinical Solutions, Tannus Quatre – also a licensed physical therapist – joined more than 75 physical therapists from across the country to lobby members of Congress in Washington D.C. on behalf of private practice physical therapists and their patients. Held on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 29-30, the trip was part of an effort by the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (PPS APTA), which coordinated the event.
While in Washington, Quatre met on Capitol Hill with representatives from the offices of Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (R-OR) and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR, 3rd District), Kurt Schrader (D-OR, 5th District) and Greg Walden (R-OR, 2nd District). According to Quatre, the agenda included issues related to the future of health care, the physical therapy profession, independent health care entrepreneurs, and patients.
Quatre joined others in asking Congress to take action on pending legislation and topics on the House and Senate floor, including Locum Tenens, or the “Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act.” This bill (HR 3426 and S.2818) would add physical therapists to the list of providers allowed to utilize locum tenens arrangements, or temporary fill-in PTs, under Medicare.
Currently, physical therapists who must take a leave of absence cannot, by law, hire substitutes to fill in and treat their Medicare patients.
- Repealing the sustainable growth rate formula that determines Medicare payment rates for physical therapy;
- Removing an annual Medicare per-beneficiary cap for patients in need of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology services;
- Reforming a law that allows physicians to “self-refer” for physical therapy services provided within their own clinics.
“The opportunity to work with our elected officials on Capitol Hill is a real privilege for me as a physical therapist,” Quatre said. “The ability to convey the impact of therapy cap and locum tenens legislation on patients in Central Oregon, and throughout the country, is important, and I’m proud to be a part of the conversation.”