Medicare Cuts to PTAs Severely Impact on Rural Areas

When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) imposed a 15% Medicare payment cut on the services provided by physical and occupational therapy assistants (PTAs and OTAs) in January, the physical therapy profession warned the impact of these cuts would be most severe in rural and underserved areas.

In rural areas, where the workforce shortage is already most acute, PTAs and OTAs provide a vital lifeline of therapy services to seniors with limited access to healthcare professionals.

APTQI recently spoke with Mike Cline, a physical therapist and CEO of Pintler Physical Therapy and Sports Rehab in Montana, to hear about the role PTAs play in his rural community and the impact of these cuts on his business:

We asked Mike the following questions:

  • What is a physical or occupational therapy assistant? (0:21)
  • How does a PTA differ from a physical therapist? (0:47)
  • How important are PTAs to practices like yours that serve rural areas? (1:34)
  • How does the PTA profession help your community? (2:18)
  • How is the 15% cut to PTA and OTA services hurting your practices? (3:54)
  • How would the Stabilizing Medicare Access to Rehabilitation and Therapy (SMART) Act help practices like yours? (5:04)
  • If Congress doesn’t act in some way to address these cuts, what will it mean for your practices and patients? (7:08)
  • If people living in rural areas can’t access physical therapy, what alternative care options do these patients have? What risks are they facing? (7:46)

We must work together to stop these Medicare cuts to prevent any further damage to rural patients’ access to care.

Send an email urging your Member of Congress urging support for the SMART Act to protect rural and underserved Medicare beneficiaries’ access to vital care!