Luján, Thune Introduce Legislation to Prevent Physical Therapy Interruptions

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced The Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act to prevent the interruption of physical therapy services nationwide. For many senior Medicare patients, the physical therapy services can help restore mobility and patient’s ability to function and live independently with a higher quality of life. 

The Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act builds on previous legislation passed into law in the 21st Century Cures Act that enables physical therapists in rural, medically underserved, and health professional shortage areas to ensure their patients continue to receive quality care during a temporary absence. This bill would extend the same flexibility to all physical therapists and patients nationwide. 

“Nationwide, there are millions of Americans, myself included, who have benefited from physical therapy and received the care they needed to get stronger and better,” said Luján. “As patients embark on their journey to recovery, any interruption in physical therapy can be damaging to a patient’s long-term recovery and health. This bipartisan legislation works to bridge those interruptions and allows physical therapists and patients the flexibility that benefits the provider and the patient.”

“Ensuring seniors have consistent access to health care services is vitally important to the well-being of individuals across the nation, including those seniors seeking physical therapy treatment,” said Thune. “I’m proud to join Senator Luján in reintroducing this bill that provides Medicare beneficiaries in South Dakota the care they deserve without interruption and providers the flexibility they need.”

“Consistent care by a physical therapist is essential to a patient’s clinical outcome and should be available to everyone,” said American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) President Roger Herr, PT, MPA. “The Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act opens important opportunities for treatment by providing physical therapists support and flexibility to ensure that patient care is not interrupted no matter where a patient lives.” 

“Occasionally, a physical therapist must be away from their outpatient clinic for short periods of time for medical, professional or family reasons. When this happens, they need to be able to bring in a licensed and qualified physical therapist to ensure their patients’ care can continue without interruption,” said Mike Horsfield, PT, MBA, Private Practice Section of APTA President. “APTA Private Practice thanks Senator Luján and Representative Bilirakis for reintroducing this impactful, bipartisan legislation to ensure that all seniors can retain continued access to highly skilled care by a qualified physical therapist while also protecting the livelihood of private practice physical therapists.”

The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced companion legislation in the House.

This bill is endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association. Full text of the bill is available HERE.



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