On June 9, Dr. Therese E. Johnston, physical therapy assistant professor, participated in Physical Therapy Day on Capitol Hill. Some 1,000 members of the American Physical Therapy Association held a rally in front of the Capitol and then met with individual representatives and senators about specific bills related to PT.
One of the biggest rallying points was to advocate the repeal of the Medicare cap on PT services. The decision to cap services was made in a very arbitrary way without concern for older Americans who may be in need of PT. Every year, the exemption on the cap has been extended, but it has yet to be fully repealed. Another big focus was on the Loan Repayment Act in order to include physical therapy students as being eligible for this program. This act would provide loan forgiveness to graduating PTs who are willing to go to work in an underserved area of the country.
Dr. Johnston, in the second row in the middle, was among five who met with PA Congressman Jim Gerlach's aides since the House was off that week. Gerlach has been a supporter of the repeal of the Medicare cap and of including PTs in the Loan Repayment Act. Since Gerlach hadn't yet pledged his support for the Medicare cap this year, but had for the Loan Repayment, their job was to not only thank him for his support but to make sure he was still going to support the repeal of the cap again this year. Her group also did a pop in visit to a representative's office from the Pittsburgh area since one member of our group was from that area. Also participating was alumna Roberta Michelle Stringer DPT’11.
For more information on specific bills, visit: http://app3.vocusgr.com/WebPublish/controller.aspx?SiteName=APTA&Definition=Home&XSL=Home&SV_Section=Home.
A YouTube video helps to highlight the day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCSetXGOgMc.