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Rush, Brooks lead letter urging protection for patients, medical professionals

Earlier last week, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.) led a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in urging House leadership to protect patients and medical professionals by removing pending rate cuts for physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.

“Outpatient rehabilitation and therapy services help millions of Americans manage chronic pain conditions and allow our seniors to carry on more healthy and independent lives,” said Rep. Rush. “If Congress allows these cuts to go into effect, these already vulnerable Americans will be unable to access the care they desperately need and thousands of medical professionals — particularly those in rural and urban areas — will lose their jobs.

“Our healthcare system is already under immense pressure due to COVID-19, and the last thing we need is another shock to the system through the implementation of these reckless and unnecessary budget cuts. That is why we strongly urge House leadership to protect patients by taking swift action to prevent such disastrous cuts and instead, continue to provide our physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists with much-needed aid during this pandemic.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) final CY2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule published in November 2019 proposed increased rates for the office-based evaluation and management (E/M) code set in CY2021. Due to the requirement for budget neutrality, this would result in a projected eight percent cut for therapy services beginning on January 1, 2021.

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