APTQI Applauds the AMA and Other Stakeholders for Urging Congress to Safeguard Patients and Providers During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, D.C. –– The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) agrees with the American Medical Association (AMA) and more than 100 national physician specialty groups and state medical societies on key Medicare payment priorities that must be included in the next COVID-19 legislative stimulus package.

Addressed to bipartisan House and Senate leaders, a new letter urges Congress to waive budget neutrality for the Medicare payment changes for evaluation and management (E/M) services that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to implement on January 1, 2021. Without this critical change, the budget neutrality requirements would impose deep, across the board cuts on therapy services at a time when providers across the nation are struggling to maintain operations and treat patients who are homebound from COVID-19 or are socially isolating as a result of the pandemic. 

“We concur with the American Medical Association. We are in an extraordinary national health emergency and this is the worst time to impose a severe rate reduction on therapy services. Waiving budget neutrality will help ensure our seniors won’t face greater access issues to their therapists,” said Nikesh Patel, PT, Executive Director or APTQI. 

Given the unprecedented level of financial stress currently burdening physical therapy and other specialty providers across the country, the letter also calls on Congress to extend sequestration relief through December 31, 2021 – a key policy priority that would provide critical financial relief for providers throughout the duration of the pandemic. While previous sequester cuts were delayed under the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the signatories of the letter argue that the current reprieve must be extended given the national scope and scale of the crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic calls for an unprecedented response on the part of our elected leaders. Extending the sequestration relief until the end of 2021 will ensure the stability of key healthcare infrastructure throughout the duration of this national emergency. These two items will support physical therapists and the patients we serve. APTQI urges Congress to include these key provisions in the next coronavirus emergency relief package,” Patel concluded.

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