In his recent speech before Congress, President Obama called for the elimination of arbitrary limits on health care services that Americans can receive in a given year or in a lifetime–a policy that the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va, supports as the nation’s leaders work to guarantee access to affordable health care for all individuals through health care reform.
In a statement released by the organization, APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD, said APTA is pleased that President Obama has taken a stance against arbitrary financial limits on health care services. "For more than 10 years, APTA has worked with Congress to repeal the Medicare cap on outpatient physical therapy services that restricts access to rehabilitative services for America’s seniors," he said. "It is time for Congress to deal with this serious health policy problem and repeal the therapy cap.To do less at this time of overall reform would burden the American public with still greater costs down the road the road by requiring yet additional legislation to protect patients from an arbitrary limit on therapy services."
The Medicare therapy caps were originally adopted by Congress in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, says the statement, adding that, since 1999, Congress has acted to prevent implementation of the caps by passing several moratoria and authorizing an exceptions process for rehabilitation services above the financial limitation based on diagnosis and clinician evaluation and judgment. An 18-month extension of the exceptions process was included in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (HR 6331), which passed July 15, 2008. The exceptions process is set to expire December 31, 2009, says the statement.