More than 1,100 PTs, PTAs and physical therapy students from across the U.S. will converge June 4 on Washington, D.C., for PT Day on Capitol Hill, according to a news release.

PT_news-01Among the top issues motivating participants is Congress’ recent decision not to include a permanent repeal of the Medicare therapy cap with legislation that eliminated the sustainable growth rate formula, according to the release.

The day will begin with an 8 a.m. rally in Upper Senate Park. Participants then will fan out across the halls of Congress for scheduled visits with representatives from 350 congressional districts to discuss issues affecting the physical therapy profession and the patients it serves.

The Alexandria, Va.-based American Physical Therapy Association hosts the Hill Day advocacy event annually to educate policymakers about the role of a PT in improving and restoring mobility in patients’ lives, and to discuss the profession’s key legislative priorities. This year’s event coincides with the association’s NEXT Conference & Exposition, which will take place June 3-6 in National Harbor, Md.

“APTA is encouraged by the momentum created by the recent surge of support of lawmakers concerning permanent therapy cap repeal,” APTA President Paul Rockar Jr., DPT, PT, MS, said in the release. “We are fortunate to have a large group of passionate members joining us to rally and speak directly with lawmakers to build on that momentum.”

Hill Day participants also will discuss several other key APTA legislative priorities, including:

  • Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (HR 2342/S 1426). This legislation would allow PTs to participate in the National Health Service Corps, addressing shortages in the PT workforce and providing greater access to PT services in underserved areas of the country.
  • Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act (HR 556/S 313). This legislation would allow PTs to enter into locum tenens arrangements under Medicare, giving them the ability to bring in another licensed PT during temporary absences for illness, pregnancy, vacation or continuing medical education to allow care to continue.
  • Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth Act, or the SAFE PLAY Act (HR 829/S 436). The legislation recognizes PTs as healthcare professionals qualified to make return-to-participation decisions for youth sports concussions. Additionally, it provides for education, awareness, action plans, training and further research related to health issues associated with sports — including cardiac conditions, concussions and heat advisories — in which PTs play a role.

As part of Hill Day, PTs also will be participating in a health and fitness clinic for legislators and their staffs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Cannon Caucus Room. Assessments will include grip strength, balance, blood pressure and a golf swing analysis.