Therapists, therapist assistants and therapy students will gather June 4 as a unified agent of change for the physical therapy profession during PT Day on Capitol Hill. The group of PT activists plans to bring the concerns of the physical therapy profession to the front doors of federal lawmakers.

This year’s participants will draw attention to several pieces of legislation currently in play in the national legislature that could affect circumstances for the profession as well as they physical health of its patient population. The event takes place as the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) NEXT Conference gets underway in National Harbor, Md.

An 8 a.m. rally in Upper Senate Park is scheduled to kick off the event, also known as “Hill Day.” Participants will subsequently disperse among offices of congressional leaders for what the APTA reports will be scheduled visits with representatives from 350 congressional districts. These visits aim to discuss issues affecting the physical therapy profession and the patients the profession serves.

According to a media release from the APTA, the group’s president Paul Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, says the association feels encouraged by what it describes as momentum created by a surge of legislative support directed at permanent repeal of the therapy cap.

“We are fortunate to have a large group of passionate members joining us to rally and speak directly with lawmakers to build on that momentum,” Rockar says.

The APTA reports it will seek to move forward several key pieces of legislation important to the profession as part of Hill Day efforts. Among these are HR 2342/S 1426 (Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act). The APTA characterizes this legislation as a law that would allow PTs to participate in the National Health Service Corps, addressing shortages in the PT workforce and providing greater access to PT services in underserved areas of the country.

Other measures the association plans to introduce during meetings are HR 556/S 313 (Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act). According to the APTA’s media release, this legislation would allow PTs to enter into locum tenens arrangements under Medicare, giving them the ability to bring in another licensed PT during temporary absences for illness, pregnancy, vacation, or continuing medical education to allow care to continue.

Participants will also look to gather congressional support for the Suporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth Act (SAFE PLAY Act), HR 829/S 436. This measure is described legislation that recognizes PTs as health care professionals qualified to make return-to-participation decisions for youth sports concussions. It is also said to provide for education, awareness, action plans, training, and further research related to health issues associated with sports—including cardiac conditions, concussions, and heat advisories—in which PTs play a role.

[Source: American Physical Therapy Association]