In The News

Ask Congress to Guarantee Permanent Medicare Coverage for PT Telehealth

Email Your Members of Congress with Just a Few Clicks & Ask Them to Support The Expanded Telehealth Access Act of 2021

Please help pass the Expanded Telehealth Access Act of 2021 (H.R. 2168)—bipartisan federal legislation that would permanently guarantee telehealth Medicare coverage for health providers, including physical therapists and PT assistants.

It's time to make telehealth a permanent option for PTs and PTAs. APTA makes it easy to add your voice to the effort: PTs, PTAs, students, patients and others can send messages to lawmakers by way of the APTA Patient Action Center. Just follow the instructions for contacting members of Congress.

It only takes a moment to make a difference.

 

APTA-Backed Bill Presses for Medicare Advantage Prior Authorization Reforms

The legislation would require MA plans to share data, provide transparency, create more efficient systems, and do a better job of listening.

APTA-supported bipartisan legislation taking aim at misuse of prior authorization in Medicare Advantage plans has arrived at the U.S. House of Representatives. If signed into law, the bill could mark a major shift in Medicare Advantage by holding plans more accountable for their use of prior authorization, establishing a pathway for "real time" coverage decisions, and requiring MA companies to get more input from providers and other stakeholders on what is and isn't deemed clinically appropriate.

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Message to This Year's Graduates From APTA CEO Justin Moore

The famous philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It's like déjà vu all over again." Our association is celebrating its centennial this year, which means that for the second time in our history we’re beginning a new century amid a global crisis. 

You enter a new century of physical therapy in the United States like no other class before you. Over your three years of physical therapist education, almost 40% has been completed during a world health crisis. This crisis has reinforced the need for a profession committed to the process of restoration, recovery, and rehabilitation...

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APTA Adds Its Voice to Multi-Organization Advocacy Efforts

We're seizing opportunities to amplify our public policy messages — here's a sampling of some of the issue letters we've signed on to.

Advocating issues important to the physical therapy profession and its patients isn't strictly a solo endeavor for APTA. While the association's individual voice is crucial, it's also important to understand that there's power in numbers.

That's where APTA's work with other groups comes in. In addition to our ongoing, APTA-only efforts to support needed change on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, we're also actively engaged with other groups — professional associations, patient advocacy groups, issue-based organizations, and more — to join forces around shared concerns....

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DOL Withdraws Trump Administration Independent Contractor Test

From SESCO Management Consultants

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has eliminated a Trump administration end-of-term rule for determining whether workers should be classified as independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The former administration rolled out the rule in January 2021, and though it went through the full rulemaking process, it never took effect.

Current Economic Realities Test

As it stands, the DOL’s current guidance on the factors considered under the economic realities test, last updated in July 2008, remains in place. These factors include:

  • The extent to which the services rendered are an integral part of the principal’s business;
  • The permanency of the relationship;
  • The amount of the alleged contractor’s investment in facilities and equipment;
  • The nature and degree of control by the principal;
  • The alleged contractor’s opportunities for profit and loss;
  • The amount of initiative, judgment or foresight in open market competition with others required for the success of the claimed independent contractor; and
  • The degree of independent business organization and operation.

Withdrawal and Dispute

On March 12, 2021, DOL proposed to withdraw the rule prior to its effect, an action that met opposition from business groups. On March 26, 2021, business groups challenged the proposed withdrawal in court, arguing that the DOL failed to provide a meaningful notice and comment period in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. This case, however, remains in its early stages.

Possible Alternatives and Consequences for Employers

Since his inauguration and in his campaign, President Biden has signaled that he intends to make worker-friendly policies a priority in his administration. Biden has stated that he supports an “ABC Test” for independent contractors, similar to the oneCalifornia adopted in 2018,imposing a fairly restrictive standard for a person to qualify as an independent contractor.

Regardless of the test used, the Biden-era DOL, under Secretary Marty Walsh, likely will favor classification of workers as employees, rather than as independent contractors. For example, as recently as April 30, 2021, Walsh stated that, in many cases,gig workers should be classified as employees. Employers that utilize independent contractors should consider evaluating whether these individuals are appropriately classified, recognizing that this is a point of focus for the Biden-era DOL.

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