AAPM&R's annual Day on Capitol Hill transitioned to a virtual event this year, taking place December 2 and 3. 15 AAPM&R physicians discussed key priorities with 39 of their Congressional representatives and key offices over two days. Thanks to the virtual platform, AAPM&R was able to meet with 15 more offices than we are normally able to meet with on one day on Capitol Hill.
Participants included members of the Health Policy and Legislation Committee (HP&L), AAPM&R Past President Peter Esselman, MD FAAPMR, Reimbursement Policy Review Committee Chair Matthew Grierson, MD, FAAPMR, State Advocacy Committee Member Lennox McNeary, MD, FAAPMR, Program Planning Committee Member Sarah Hwang, MD, FAAPMR, Digital Learning Committee Member Angela Beninga, DO, FAAPMR and Quality, Practice, Policy & Research Committee Chair, Thiru Annaswamy, MD, MA, FAAPMR.
AAPM&R members spoke on several high priorities, touching a wide variety of issues. These included:
- Concerns about budget neutrality requirements causing deep cuts to the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule conversion factor
- The need to reduce barriers to rehabilitation care by streamlining prior authorization and expanding the therapies that count towards the "three-hour rule" in IRFs
- Delaying implementation of the IMPACT Act to accommodate for the effects of recent changes to post-acute care (PAC) payment systems and COVID-19 on data collection in PAC facilities
- The value of physiatric care for COVID-19 survivors and AAPM&R priorities for a COVID-19 relief package.
For more information on these topics, visit AAPM&R's Virtual Fly-In to Capitol Hill.
Other key takeaways include:
- Due to AAPM&R's targeted efforts, Hill offices are more familiar with physiatry than ever and are aware of physiatry's positive impact during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Congress is actively working to address budget neutrality, and several legislative fixes are being considered, while others continue to be developed. AAPM&R is strongly urging Congress to consider a permanent fix rather than the current temporary solutions that have been proposed.
- AAPM&R secured a sponsor to introduce our bill to expand the types of therapies that count towards the "three-hour rule" in IRFs, giving physicians the flexibility needed to prescribe tailored therapy programs to their IRF patients. This bill will be introduced in the upcoming Congress.
Special thank you to our Health Policy & Legislation Committee participants:
- Nneka Ifejika, MD, MPH, FAAPMR, Chair
- Richard Chang, MD, MPH, FAAPMR
- Keith Foster, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAPMR
- Carl Gelfius, MD, FAAPMR
- Stuart Glassman, MD, MBA, FAAPMR
- Prakash Jayabalan, MD, PhD
- Tom McNalley, MD, FAAPMR
- James Miller, MD, FAAPMR
- Sindhu Pandit, MD, MBA, FAAPMR