APTQI Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan Loan Forgiveness Bill for Physical Therapists

If passed, H.R. 3759 would add physical therapists to the National Health Services Corps and offer student loan forgiveness for professionals who commit to serving high-need areas

Washington, D.C. –– The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) today commended U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) for recently introducing H.R. 3759, a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the physical therapy workforce in rural and underserved areas by offering student loan forgiveness to qualified therapy professionals. Specifically, the bill would add physical therapists to the National Health Services Corps loan repayment program and offer student loan forgiveness of up to $50k for physical therapists who agree to work for at least two years in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area.

“APTQI applauds Representatives DeGette and Armstrong for introducing this important legislation, which will go a long way towards addressing the serious workforce shortages that threaten Americans’ access to the vital physical therapy services they need – especially in rural and underserved areas of the country,” said Nikesh Patel, PT, Executive Director of APTQI. “The patients our profession serves experience significant healthcare challenges, including the risks of painful, deadly falls and difficulty accessing non-opioid pain management solutions. By strengthening the physical therapy workforce, this bipartisan bill would help address these challenges and increase access to safe, high quality physical therapy services.”

According to data compiled before the COVID-19 pandemic, accidental falls among the elderly result in an estimated 2.8 million emergency room visits, 800,000 hospitalizations, and over 27,000 deaths annually. With many Americans facing challenges related to long-term COVID-19 recovery and decreased physical activity during the pandemic, there is a serious need to help Americans maintain strength and mobility through interventions including physical therapy.

“This bill is an opportunity to increase access to care that helps Americans gain strength, manage pain, and live more independently by investing in the physical therapy profession,” concluded Patel. “With companion legislation expected soon in the U.S. Senate, we urge Congress to pass H.R. 3759 into law in order to boost America’s therapy workforce during a time of high patient need.”

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