Support Needed to Prevent Therapy Cuts

Beginning January 1, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plan to impose cuts to therapy reimbursement and implement a payment differential for services provided by PTAs and OTAs. Therapy providers will be negatively impacted by these cuts, making delivery of therapy services more difficult. As a result, Medicare beneficiaries, especially in rural areas, will likely experience decreased access to therapy services. Congress has introduced two bills that could offer some relief from these cuts, however the bills will need to be passed by the end of the year to be effective.

The two bills introduced to help prevent/delay therapy-related cuts include:

H.R. 5536 – Stabilizing Medicare Access to Rehabilitation and Therapy Act (SMART Act)

  • Delay implementation of the 15% Medicare PTA/OTA payment differential until January 1, 2023
  • Provide an exemption to the differential for rural and underserved areas once implemented
  • Change supervision requirements for OTA/PTA in outpatient settings under Medicare Part B to general supervision like in all other settings

H.R. 6020 – Supporting Medicare Providers Act

  • Prevent cuts to the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule by providing additional funding to the fee schedule’s conversion factor through the end of 2022
  • Maintain the conversion factor increase passed in 2020, essentially offsetting CMS’s planned cuts for 2022

You can help by contacting your local elected officials to show your support for these bills and urge Congress to intervene to stop the therapy cuts. APTA, AOTA and ASHA all have letter templates that anyone, not just therapists, can use to send letters of support for these bills to members of Congress. And where the templates are great, congressional staffers may pay more attention to personalized letters from constituents so if you have the time, please consider a personalized letter.

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