Gus Bilirakis Brings Back the Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act

This week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., brought back his “Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act” insisting it will help Medicare patients and expanding physical therapy services.

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, is co-sponsoring the proposal which Bilirakis introduced on Monday.

On Tuesday, Bilirakis’ office showcased the bill.

“This key legislation builds upon a provision which was signed into law as part of the 21st Century Cures Act to give physical therapists in rural, medically underserved, and health professional shortage areas to the ability to use locum tenens arrangements to ensure their patients continue to receive quality care during a temporary provider absence (e.g. illness, family leave, or continued professional education). The Bilirakis-Tonko legislation extends this same arrangement to all physical therapists in the outpatient setting participating in the Medicare program. This represents a significant benefit for Medicare patients, many of whom already face difficulty finding a qualified physical therapist in parts of the country due to a current shortage in the field. When they do begin physical therapy treatment, they don’t want that care interrupted due to a temporary provider absence,” the congressman’s office noted.

“We’ve seen countless examples throughout the pandemic of how important it is for our healthcare providers to have greater flexibility to meet patient needs,” Bilirakis said on Tuesday. Physical therapy is a vital component of our healthcare system, and these providers must also have the flexibility to ensure access to quality care. This legislation will enable them to better achieve that goal.”

“For…many patients, especially for seniors accessing physical therapy services, interruptions in care can be detrimental to their long-term recovery and health, especially for those in historically underserved communities,” Tonko said. “Our legislation provides a targeted response to this challenge by ensuring continuity of care, all while benefiting the provider as well as the patient. I am proud to stand with my colleague, Representative Bilirakis to push to turn this commonsense, compassionate legislation into law.”

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is behind the bill which was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means Committees on Monday. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.


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