Advocacy Information

House Bill 967-Telemedicine Policy

Legislative Update 

 

The 2018 Short Session of the North Carolina General Assembly has convened, and we are pleased to report that a bill to expand telemedicine and telehealth opportunities for providers in North Carolina was one of the first bills introduced.  House Bill 967 Telemedicine Policy was introduced on May 17.   If passed, this bill would establish a telemedicine policy for North Carolina and direct the Department of Health and Human Services to study and report recommendations for various telemedicine standards.  House Bill 967 provides that “any individual licensed as a health care provider in the State of North Carolina under Chapter 90 of the General Statutes may provide health care services, consistent with the provider’s licensed scope of practice, via telemedicine, to any individual located in the State of North Carolina.”  Occupational therapists are Chapter 90 providers.  The language of this bill was also included as a recommendation by the Joint Legislative Health and Human Services Committee.  The primary sponsors of HB 967 are Rep. Donny Lambeth (Forsyth) and Rep. Josh Dobson (Avery, McDowell, Mitchell).  We appreciate these sponsors for introducing HB 967 and for including Chapter 90 providers, like occupational therapists.  Expansion of opportunities for occupational therapists in the area of telehealth is an advocacy priority for NCOTA.  Please take the opportunity to contact your legislators and ask them to support HB 967.  You can find the contact information for your legislators by using the “who represents me” link on the North Carolina General Assembly website:  https://ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx   

 

 

You can also read HB 967 by clicking on the following link:  https://ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/House/HTML/H967v0.html

 


 

 

Advocacy Update

The Department of Health and Human Services has released a Medicaid managed care concept paper, “Prepaid Health Plan Network Adequacy and Accessibility Standards.”  These standards consider the perspectives of beneficiaries, plans and providers on what each defines as an “adequate and accessible” network. 

 

 

 

The proposed network does not currently list occupational therapists.  Please take a moment to advocate for the inclusion of occupational therapists Appendix B of the document: Providers Subject to Specialty Care Access Standards section.  Comments are welcome and encouraged, and can be emailed to [email protected] through March 29, 2018. For more information about Medicaid transformation efforts, including links to previously released concept papers, visit the Medicaid Transformation website.

 

 


 

AOTA's Message Regarding OTA Payment Changes in Budget Bill

Click here to read the official statement


 

Our advocacy is working!

 

On February 9, 2018, the president signed into law a bill that repeals the cap on Medicare part B outpatient therapy services; this has been 20 years in waiting! This therapy cap created significant barriers for our client’s with chronic, long-term conditions and clients that required ongoing services.  This cap previously caused many of our clients financial hardships for paying out of pocket after meeting their cap or if they could not afford services possibly permanent and debilitating injuries. We can now treat based on Medical Necessity!

 

 AOTA President, Amy Lamb issues a public statement:

 

https://www.aota.org/Advocacy-Policy/Congressional-Affairs/Legislative-Issues-Update/2018/therapy-cap-repealed-signed-into-law-aota-president-message.aspx

 

January 11, 2018

Capitol Hill

A cap on Medicare outpatient therapy services went into effect on January 1st after Congress failed to act at the end of 2017. This $2,010 cap for occupational therapy services applies to all patients being reimbursed for outpatient, Part B therapy services, except for those provided at Hospital Outpatient Departments/Clinics (HOPD). The law applying the cap to HOPDs expired December 31, 2017. The Medicare therapy cap will in many cases deny access to medically necessary occupational therapy services for the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries

Please contact your Members of Congress to end the cap once and for all, and to provide a pathway to therapy services for all Medicare beneficiaries.

Last year, Congress drafted bi-partisan legislation to permanently repeal the therapy cap and replace it with a targeted review of claims.  However, the exceptions process expired at the end of 2017, and Congress failed to enact any legislation that would keep the cap from taking effect in 2018.  Congress must take action soon to prevent beneficiaries from hitting the cap and to end this policy.

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Advocacy Success!

We are thrilled to announce that House Bill 208 Occupational Therapy/Choice of Provider passed the Senate today with a unanimous vote!  It will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.  NCOTA expresses our sincere gratitude to the outstanding House sponsors Rep. Hugh Blackwell, Rep. Gregory Murphy, Rep. Mitchell Setzer and Rep. Pat Hurley.  We also thank the sponsors of the Senate companion bill Sen. Paul Newton and Sen. Joyce Krawiec.   

Ashley Perkinson, NCOTA Lobbyist 

Thank you Ashley!

 

A special thanks goes to Representative Hugh Blackwell who presented the bill to the full House and received a strong vote of 115 to 3. Thank you Representative Blackwell!

 

 

 

 

 

And to Senator Paul Newton who presented the bill to the full Senate and received a vote of 47 to 0.  Thank you Senator Newton!

 

 

Advocacy Spotlight - Champions for Occupational Therapy

The 2017-2018 Session has been very active and positive for occupational therapy.  We would like to highlight the efforts of the Senators and Representatives who support OT, as well as encourage your own advocacy efforts for the profession and the clients we serve.

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The State Affairs Group is responsible for all of AOTA's state legislative and regulatory activities. 

This department monitors and provides analysis of proposed legislation and regulations affecting occupational therapy in the states, conducts outreach, and provides assistance to state occupational therapy associations on key state issues such as professional regulation and scope of practice. 

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