For the fourth time in four years, Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA — founder of Vantage Clinical Solutions, the parent company of BuildPT — will join more than 250 other physical therapists from across the country in an effort to advocate to members of the U.S. Congress on behalf of private practice physical therapists and their patients.
From Sunday through Tuesday, March 26-28, 2017, Tannus and three other physical therapy representatives from Oregon will travel to Washington D.C. for the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) 2017 Federal Advocacy Forum. During their visit, they will meet with lawmakers to discuss the removal of barriers that affect people’s access to physical therapy and legislation that can enhance the ability of physical therapists to provide optimal care to their patients.
Tannus will be joined by another Bend (OR) physical therapist, Karen Walz, of Therapeutic Associates Bend Physical Therapy, as well as Portland (OR) physical therapist Chris Murphy and Pacific University physical therapy student Megan Roos.
“We are in the early stages of seeing physical therapy become an answer to many of the quality and issues we face in healthcare,” Tannus said. “Advocating for patient access rights is something I’m passionate about, and I’m proud to be in a position where I can help our legislators understand the value of physical therapy.”
The main issues Tannus and other participating physical therapists plan to address include:
- Adding physical therapists to the list of providers allowed to utilized locum tenens, or temporary fill-in PTs, under Medicare (HR 556/S 313: Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act);
- Removing an annual Medicare per-beneficiary cap for patients in need of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language pathology services (HR 807/S 253: Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act); and
- Promoting legislation (HR 1639/S 619: Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act) that would allow physical therapists to participate in the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, providing better access to physical therapy in rural and underserved areas of the country.
“Physical therapists will be offering ideas on new models of medical care to optimize the potential success of healthcare interventions, applications of research advances, and ideas to remove barriers that affect public health,” Karen said. “For example, physical therapists play a critical role in education and treatment interventions for pain management and reduction that serve as first-line interventions to treat common conditions, such as low-back pain.”
While in Washington, the four Oregon PTs plan to meet with several members on Congress and their staffs. This includes scheduled meetings with the offices of U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Greg Walden (R-OR) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR), along with U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
“It’s really a thrill to be able to advocate on behalf of my profession and the millions of lives we touch as physical therapists,” Tannus said.
To learn more about this advocacy trip to Washington D.C. and about how to get involved in physical therapy advocacy, contact us at BuildPT and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. For a summary of healthcare priorities of the APTA, click here.