Congress Must Stop PTA Cuts to Protect Rural Access to Critical Services

Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) play an important role in the physical and occupational therapy profession by providing physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

With the growing workforce shortage in our profession, particularly in rural areas, PTAs are able to help ensure that individuals can receive the services they need to rehabilitate and regain bodily function, manage pain, prevent injury, and improve mobility, flexibility, and balance.

Unfortunately, Medicare payment cuts of 15% that went into effect on January 1st are jeopardizing the PTA profession and patient access to vital care they provide.

We spoke with Simon Hargus, a physical therapist in West Virginia and owner of First Settlement Physical Therapy, to learn more about the pivotal role that PTAs play in rural areas and the impact these cuts will have on patients:

What is a physical or occupational therapy assistant?

How does a PTA or OTA different from a physical or occupational therapist?

How important are PTAs and OTAs to practices that serve rural areas?

How does the PTA/OTA profession help rural communities?

How is the 15% cut to PTA and OTA services hurting your practices in rural WV and OH?

How would the Stabilizing Medicare Access to Rehabilitation and Therapy (SMART) Act help physical therapy practices like yours?

If Congress doesn’t act in some way to address these cuts, what will it mean for your practices and patients?

If people living in rural areas can’t access physical therapy, what alternative care options do these patients have? What risks are they facing?

If you could leave policymakers with one message, what would it be?

If these payment cuts to PTA services remain, our patients, especially those in rural and underserved areas, will have their access to care compromised.

If passed, the SMART Act would suspend the therapist assistant cut for this year and protect rural and underserved communities from the reduction permanently. It would also finally allow PTAs to practice as their state license permits in regard to assistant supervision.

We need your help: Send an email urging your Member of Congress to pass the SMART Act to protect rural and underserved Medicare beneficiaries’ access to vital care!