APTA's President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD issued a statement representing the associations disappointment in continued Medicare cuts that specifically impact therapy services. The 7%-9% reduction in payments will have reprecussions that will greatly impact our nation's seniors and disabled and anyone needing long-term care our out patient services.
Statement by APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD Today the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, which, I am disappointed to report, contains significant cuts to outpatient therapy services that will negatively impact physical therapists and millions of patients. Under a new multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) policy, physical therapists will see a 7%-9% reduction in payment for these services starting January 1, 2011. The association is deeply concerned about this policy. APTA has worked diligently these past few months educating CMS, White House officials, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and other policymakers about the detrimental effect the MPPR policy will have on physical therapists and the patients we serve. The initial MPPR proposal called for an 11%-13% cut in payments and, while our actions did have an impact, we are nonetheless seriously troubled by this final rule. This lesser reduction of 7%-9% will still mean disturbing repercussions for outpatient therapy providers and their patients. As such, APTA is now aggressively exploring all legal, regulatory, and legislative options to negate the MPPR policy. APTA believes this policy is unjustified, as it is based on flawed analysis conducted by CMS in the agency's effort to avoid duplication of payment when multiple services are furnished during a session or day. As we know, the practice expense values for the codes reported by physical therapists had already been reduced to avoid duplication during the Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) review process, thus making the MPPR an unfair and unnecessary policy. In addition, CMS only examined the median number of units in private practice therapists' offices and physician offices, which account for approximately 35% of expenditures. Data from skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, and comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities, which account for the remaining 65% of expenditures, were not taken into account. And, CMS excluded all dates of service during which one unit of service is billed, further skewing the data on which this policy is based.