One constant over the last nine months has been change. The pandemic has forced change in so many aspects of our lives. As we continue to live in what seems like a never-ending game of dodge ball, in constant motion and changing direction, we realize that we are still in the game, upright and moving forward. The resilience shown by so many in our profession, dealing with the changes and challenges, is inspiring. Thank you to all physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy in Indiana who have stepped up and have been willing to be on the frontlines in the hospitals taking care of those with COVID-19, ensuring that these patients regain mobility. Thank you to all who work outside of the walls of our hospitals ensuring that physical therapy services continue to be delivered even if it means long hours in personal protective equipment or navigating the use of technology to allow for services to be delivered by telemedicine. Thank you also to those who teach in one of the PT or PTA programs across the state for your heroic efforts to continue to educate our future PTs and PTAs.
Going forward from here, we have more change that will challenge us. APTA and APTA Indiana will continue to work hard to find solutions. An immediate challenge is the 9% Medicare payment cut which will go into effect on January 1, 2021. On December 1, 2020, CMS issued its 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule. A high-level overview of the estimated combined impact to PT (and OT and SLP) reimbursement in 2021 can be found HERE. As expected, this final rule is very similar to the proposed rule. In the 2021 PFS final rule, CMS advances the policy discussed in the 2021 PFS proposed rule to increase the values of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) office/outpatient evaluation and management codes and adopt the add-on code (HCPCS code G2211) beginning January 1, 2021. Despite significant opposition from APTA and a broad range of impacted provider groups, as well as concerns expressed from members of Congress, CMS is adopting reimbursement reductions for physical therapy and dozens of other provider specialties beginning January 1, 2021 under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Please consider contacting your member of Congress to support the passage of Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020 (H.R. 8702) before the end of the year. The bill would keep Medicare payment levels stable for the next two years, sparing physical therapy and 36 other professions from cuts designed to offset increases to payment for office/outpatient evaluations and management services. Access the APTA Legislative Access Center where you can make an impact in less than 1 minute.
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) contacted the Chapter earlier this week asking that we share with members the ISDH’s plan for vaccination across the state. The initial plans for vaccination can be found HERE. In communication with APTA about this vaccination plan, it appears that we are one of the first states where vaccination plans are being shared. I will be acting as the point of contact for ISDH’s communication and all communications will be shared with you as we receive them.
On December 1, Governor Holcomb signed into law Executive Order 20:49. This extends the Public Health Emergency (PHE) until December 31, 2020. Under the extension of the PHE, we are permitted to continue to provide telemedicine services, as many of you have been doing over the past eight months. Beyond this point, the APTA Indiana State Legislative Committee is working with Senator Charbonneau on the inclusion of physical therapy in telehealth legislation that he is authoring. As we do this, we need your input. If you are a physical therapist who has used telemedicine, please take 2-3 minutes to complete a survey.
Lastly, I want to recognize my colleagues who have served on the APTA Indiana Board of Directors and finished their terms on November 30:
- Ryan Wood, PT, DPT, MHA – Vice President
- Frank Bates, PT, DPT, MBA – Recording Secretary
- Jessica Baker, PT, DPT – New Professional
I want to also recognize our Delegates who finished their terms:
- Bill Staples, PT, DPT, DHSc
- Jerry Smith, PT, ATC, MBA
- Rick Reuss, PT
- Nate Nevin, PT, DPT – Alternate Delegate
I want to thank everyone who ran in this year’s election and congratulate our new members of the Board:
- Nate Nevin, PT, DPT – Vice President
- Connie Crump, PT, DPT – Recording Secretary
- Kevin Sanborn, PT, DPT – Director at Large Central Region
- Kate Zenker, PT, DPT – New Professional
In addition, we have two new Delegates, Valerie Strunk, PT, DPT and Ryan Wood, PT, DPT, MHA. As you are aware, the third Delegate position required a second election due to the tied vote. If you have not voted yet in this second election, please do so NOW. We are so fortunate, as a Chapter, to have an incredible slate of candidates this year.
As we round out the year, I wish you all good health and a window in the Holiday Season to slow down and enjoy time with family and loved ones.
Emily Slaven, PT, PhD, Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
President, APTA Indiana