Hill Day, organized by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in partnership with the American Society of Hand Therapy, brought hundreds of occupational therapists and hand therapists from 38 states across the United States together recently to discuss key issues with legislators.

The issues discussed focused on the importance of occupational therapy and rehabilitation services, and ensuring that people have full access to these services, according to a media release from the AOTA.

The gathering focused on the following four pieces of legislation, per the release: Enhancing the stature and visibility of medical rehabilitation research at NIH (S 800/HR 775); Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (S 539/HR 775); Advocating for occupational therapy in Medicare home health (S 2364); and Lymphedema Treatment Act (S 2373/HR 1608).

“Protecting access to Medicare services for millions of Americans must remain a top priority – but this access could be in jeopardy if we allow Washington to get in the way,” says US Rep Charles Boustany (R-LA), lead sponsor of both the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act and the Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act, in the release. “This bipartisan reform will make Medicare work smarter and in a more cost-efficient manner, helping to preserve access to care for patients.”

“Home and community-based care is a critical part of our healthcare system, and many of my constituents rely on home care while recovering from injury or illness,” states US Rep Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), according to the release. “Unnecessary barriers to home therapy services increase costs and leave seniors at risk.”

“The Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act will work to prevent these delays, and is a straightforward, no-cost solution that would allow occupational therapists to conduct the initial home health assessment and open therapy-only home health cases. We need to make care accessible for those who need it,” he adds.

[Source: American Occupational Therapy Association]