In The News

Expression of Thanks from APTA Colorado

We hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends.

The APTA CO Board and Staff have so much to be thankful for!

  • We are thankful for the dedicated frontline therapists and assistants who have continued to go above and beyond during the last year of the pandemic; often putting their own needs behind those of others;
  • We are thankful to all the Administrators, Managers, and Office Personnel who continue to sacrifice in support of their teams and clients/patients;
  • We are thankful for your loved ones who recognize how important your work is and support you through your long days/nights and work-related stress that sometimes comes home with you;
  • We are thankful for all the health care providers in Colorado who partner with physical therapists to care for their clients/patients;
  • We are thankful for our local and national representatives, government employees, Advocacy and Communications teams who advocate for the expansion and increased support of physical therapy services;
  • We are thankful for our country’s Veterans and for the opportunity that you have to give back to them, in some measure, for their service and sacrifices;
  • We are thankful for both faith and science that help us get through life’s trials, including the ongoing global pandemic;
  • We are thankful for eyes to see and hands to help those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 or other infirmities during the last year;
  • We are thankful for your support of the work that we do every day on behalf of APTA Colorado members and physical therapy in Colorado.  
 

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra: All Adults Are Now Eligible for COVID-19 Booster Shots

On the heels of the FDA and CDC decisions to expand COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra issued following statement:
 
“All adults are now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots. After thorough review of the data, we are following the science, which shows boosters can help increase people’s protection from COVID-19 and help us reduce infections and severe outcomes. This is especially important ahead of the winter months, where we all spend more time indoors. I am grateful to the hard-working scientists at the FDA and CDC for their rigorous, independent decision-making on booster shots and their ongoing commitment to keeping us all safe.

“As President Biden has said, we are committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight the virus on our path out of the pandemic, and boosters are important for strengthening people’s protection from disease and helping us stave off a worse winter surge. We will continue to pull every lever we have to get all Americans vaccinated, but for the adults who are already vaccinated, you can get your booster six months after your second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after your single dose of J&J. Getting a booster can help keep you—and those around you—even safer. If you are eligible, please go to vaccines.gov to find available vaccine near you and schedule your booster appointment today.”

 

Speak out on the 2022 fee schedule

The final 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule includes a significant payment reduction for physical therapy services and implementation of the PTA differential, with no mitigating policies. Congress must take action to address these damaging cuts if CMS won't. APTA's Patient Action Center makes it quick and easy to contact lawmakers and advocate for the profession.

 

New Cures 2.0 bill extends key telehealth flexibilities, hastens CMS approval of medical devices

Fierce Healthcare
Nov 16, 2021 12:51pm
 
New major legislation would require Medicare to cover breakthrough medical devices faster and make permanent key flexibilities to telehealth reimbursement for providers.
 
Lawmakers introduced on Tuesday Cures 2.0 bipartisan legislation that builds on the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016. The legislation includes major investments in medical research including the creation of a new agency to research difficult diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but also contains several reforms to Medicare reimbursement and coverage.
 
The legislation would permanently remove Medicare’s geographic and originating site requirements that require a patient to live in a rural area and be in a doctor’s office to qualify for telehealth services.
 
The use of telehealth has exploded since the pandemic when patients were afraid of going to the doctor’s office. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also granted greater flexibility for providers to get reimbursement from Medicare for telehealth services.
 
But those flexibilities are expected to be removed at the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which will now sunset early next year.
 
The legislation would make some of those flexibilities permanent.
 
Another key provision is to codify a rule that would let Medicare automatically cover products approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration under the breakthrough therapy pathway, which grants advanced approval to devices that treat unmet medical needs.
 
The bill would allow CMS to temporarily cover breakthrough products approved by FDA for four years. The agency will have to make a permanent coverage determination in those four years. It also calls for the Government Accountability Office to offer recommendations on how to enhance Medicare coverage and reimbursement of innovative health technologies.
 
But the decision comes a few days after CMS issued a final rule that got rid of a Trump-era regulation that requires CMS to approve breakthrough medical devices under the same type of pathway as in the Cures 2.0 bill.
 
CMS said that it was concerned the clinical data necessary for the FDA breakthrough therapy approval may not meet Medicare’s guidelines for a coverage determination.
 
The insurance industry has fought the Trump-era rule, arguing that it could lead to premature coverage of medical devices.
 
The legislation now heads to the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The lawmakers behind the legislation—Democratic Rep. Dianne Degette of Colorado and Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan—spearheaded the 2016 law.
 
“The federal government has shown, time and time again, that when it’s given the resources needed to accomplish the impossible, there’s not much it cannot do,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

 

 

OSHA Halts Enforcement of Emergency Temporary Standard Vaccine Mandate for Businesses with 100+ Employees

Following a November 12 order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, all activities related to the implementation and enforcement of OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) have been suspended.

Litigation has now been transferred to the 6th Circuit for review following filings in multiple federal circuit courts across the country. Appointment to the 6th Circuit Court was made by a “lottery” system for purposes of consolidation. It is likely that the case will eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court for final ruling.

Should enforcement of the ETS resume, it is anticipated that OSHA will offer further clarification on medical and religious accommodations.

Readers should note that suspension of the OSHA ETS, which applies to businesses with 100+ employees, does not have any bearing on the Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC), which applies to healthcare facilities regulated by CMS. Although there are lawsuits in play against the CMS rules as well, the deadline of January 4th, 2022 for full-vaccination is still in place.

 
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