Funds in the FY 2010 budget aimed at transforming the nation’s health care system may be used to improve access to outpatient physical therapy services for Medicare beneficiaries by repealing the therapy caps, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va.     

S. Con. Res. 13, which recommends budgetary levels and amounts for FY 2009 to FY 2014, was passed April 29 by the House of Representatives by a 233 to 193 vote and by a 53 to 43 Senate vote. An amendment by Sens Ben Cardin (D-Md) and John Ensign (R-Nev) to the budget’s existing deficit neutral reserve fund relating to health care reforms allows for improvements to the Medicare program for beneficiaries and protects access to outpatient therapy services, including physical therapy, through measures such as repealing the current outpatient caps while protecting beneficiaries from associated premium increases.

Earlier this year, Ensign, Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark), Susan Collins (R-Me), and Cardin, and Reps Xavier Becerra (D-Calif), Mike Ross (D-Ark), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo) introduced the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (S 46/HR 43), which calls for the repeal of the Medicare therapy caps that limit coverage of outpatient rehabilitation services to $1,840 for physical therapy and speech language pathology combined and $1,840 for occupational therapy services.

[Source: APTA]