09 Jun

Congressman Glenn (GT) Thompson (R-PA) and Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) have introduced H.R. 4755:  “Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2014”.  

This bill will amend the Social Security Act by including recreational therapy among the modalities that constitute an intensive rehabilitation therapy program.

What is the Purpose of this Act?
It is the purpose of this Act to restore reliance on the professional judgment of the treating physician and the rehabilitation team when determining whether a Medicare patient meets the intensity of therapy requirement of an inpatient rehabilitation hospital or unit in order for that patient to gain access to the appropriate mix of medically necessary therapeutic rehabilitation services in that setting, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and, as needed, speech therapy, orthotics and prosthetics, and recreational therapy.

What does this bill do?
This bill will amend the Social Security Act by including recreational therapy among the modalities that constitute an intensive rehabilitation therapy program.  

Specifically, the bill adds the following new paragraph to the end of Section 1886(j) of the Social Security Act:

“(9) Including Recreational Therapy among the therapy modalities that constitute an intensive rehabilitation therapy program in a rehabilitation facility. – The Secretary shall include recreational therapy services among the therapeutic modalities that constitute an intensive rehabilitation program in determining (pursuant to applicable regulations) whether inpatient services in a rehabilitation facility are reasonable and necessary under section 1862(a)(1)(A).”.

Why is this important?
By including RT under the intensity of therapy requirement, Medicare beneficiaries in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units will regain access to important therapies deemed medically necessary by their treating physicians and therapists. IRFs will be better able to meet the intensity of rehabilitation therapy requirement and thus reduce the risk that patients will be inappropriately diverted into less intensive post-acute settings.  

Coalition of Support
Several organizations have joined the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) in supporting this amendment including:

American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association
American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists
American Therapeutic Recreation Association
Brain Injury Association of America
CARF, International (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)
Council on Brain Injury
United Spinal Association

What can you do?
1.    Read the H.R. 4755:  Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2014
2.    Read the letter of support from AAPM&R
3.    Contact your Congressperson and ask them to sign on in support of H.R. 4755

Action Requested
Step 1:  Contact your U.S. Congressperson’s office and find out who handles health care issues for the Congressperson. You can reach them through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or by going through the direct website:

Step 2:  Tell them about H.R. 4755 and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor in support of H.R. 4755.  Ask them for their direct email so you can send them a copy of the H.R. 4755 and theletter of support.  (You can use this template.)  If they ask for a staff contact for either of the Congressmen, tell them to contact Matt Brennan (202) 225-5121 in Congressman Thompson’s office or Saul Hernandez (202) 225-3101 in Congressman Butterfield’s office.  

Step 3:  Urge your colleagues, clients, volunteers, students, etc. to do the same.  We have a short window of opportunity and all signatures need to be on the letter – so we need you and your colleagues to act fast!  This will take the entire profession!

Use this link to for more information;

If you have questions about this Advocacy Alert, please contact the ATRA Public Policy Committee Co-Chairs:  Diane Skalko,Thom Skalko, and Richard Williams.
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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


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