AAPM&R’s Future Leaders Hill Day transitioned to a hybrid event this year, taking place in Washington, D.C. on September 20th, 2022! Future Leaders met with many Congressional offices to discuss several high priorities in physiatry, touching on a variety of issues including:
- Restoring physician judgement to inpatient rehabilitation care by supporting the Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2022 (H.R. 8746) also known as the "Three Hour Rule" and
- Opposing further physician reimbursement cuts in the Medicare program and encouraging a long-term solution to budget neutrality.
AAPM&R highlighted these issues on Capitol Hill as our Future Leaders shared their own personal challenges and compelled their states’ representatives to act. AAPM&R believes patients deserve the most comprehensive, individualized care for their conditions and have long fought to remove barriers to patient-centered care. The Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2022 will help empower physicians to prescribe the appropriate mix of skilled modalities that constitute an intensive rehabilitation therapy program in an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF). Meeting with Hill offices helped raise awareness about the need for additional co-sponsors on this recently introduced, bi-partisan legislation that aims to address unnecessary Medicare restrictions to the types of therapies that count toward the three hours of daily therapy required in an IRF.
AAPM&R also educated Congressional offices on the lack of stability in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). The Future Leaders told their Congressional representatives that, as physicians continue to grapple with the financial insecurity caused by payment cuts in the MPFS, medical practices and patients suffer. They urged Congress to work with the physician community and CMS to establish reliable positive updates to the MPFS annually. Several Congressional offices agreed there is an urgent need to address the issue after speaking to our member physiatrists.
With activity on Capitol Hill continuing to shift due to health and safety protocols, AAPM&R’s 2022 Future Leaders Hill Day was the first hybrid fly-in where participants joined together in Washington, D.C. for training and met with Congressional offices remotely. Participants saw firsthand the role that AAPM&R’s persistent advocacy plays in protecting physiatry practices and improving the quality and efficiency of rehabilitation care. The ongoing success of the PM&R field relies on emboldening members to unite behind advocacy efforts. As a result of AAPM&R’s Future Leaders Hill Day and the Academy’s ongoing engagement on the Hill, Congressional offices are more familiar with physiatry than ever and better understand the role physiatrists play in rehabilitation care. AAPM&R’s Future Leaders informed key offices of the importance of passing H.R. 8746 so physicians can prescribe tailored therapy programs for their IRF patients. AAPM&R also impressed the dire need for a permanent fix to the Physician Fee Schedule cuts rather than temporary solutions.
Many thanks to our amazing group of Future Leaders Hill Day participants:
- Antigone Argyriou, MD
- Surendra Barshikar, MD
- SuAnn Chen, MD
- Lauren Elson, MD
- Miguel Escalon, MD MPH
- David Haustein, MD MBA
- Byron Schneider, MD
- Amit Sinha, MD