National Advocacy & Legislative Activity
2023 ADVOCACY ISSUES IN FOCUS
School based OT case load cap - proposed
Support state inclusion with the Interstate OT Compact
Increased access to Behavioral Health / Mental Health
Protection of Health Care Reformed
Monitoring Medicaid Changes
Advocacy to protect OTA payment reduction
Monitoring payment policies for post acute care services
Working to ensure the Telehealth Service Delivery is permanent
For additional national advocacy information: https://www.aota.org/advocacy/issues
REVIEW of 2022 ADVOCACY OUTCOMES
Allied Health Workforce Diversity Program
The omnibus creates a new program first proposed in the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act (H.R. 3320/S. 1679). Grant funding will be allocated to support higher education for individuals studying occupational therapy and other allied health profession increase opportunities for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Intense Outpatient Mental Health Services
New Medicare Mental Health Benefit: Individuals can now receive outpatient mental health services at a Federally Qualified Family Health Center or a rural clinic.
OT and 988
New changes in mental health have been established nationwide impacting OT practice. On July 16, 2022, calling or texting 988 can help save a life. This 3-digit number supports suicide prevention and mental health nationwide. This bill is not replacing current state programming but is another resource for occupational therapy providers to use.
Advocating in everyday practice for mental health and wellness: https://www.aota.org/practice/clinical-topics/988-and-ot
Safer Communities Act
On June 25, 2022, the bipartisan Safer Communities Act was signed into law which included early and periodic mental health screening and treatment for children 0-21 including OT services as a required service. Review the full bill to see how these changes may impact your practice, specifically individuals working in school settings.
For more information review the following link: https://www.aota.org/advocacy/advocacy-news/2022/bipartisan-safer-communities-act-opportunities.
Extension of Medicare Telehealth Waivers:
The omnibus extends current Medicare telehealth waivers: All telehealth services offered through Medicare will be extended to the end of 2024 and will over ride the initial ruling of 151 days which would have ended early 2023. Additional legislative will be introduced in late 2023 to establish telehealth policies.
Lymphedema Treatment Act:
The omnibus includes a provision to require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover compression garments and other commonly prescribed items for the treatment of lymphedema.
Medicare OTA Payment Differential
The Medicare OTA payment differential went into effect on January 1, 2022 and many occupational therapy practitioners still have questions regarding what the policy means for OTAs. If your members need more information on this policy and how to apply the modifier, we are available to present to your association via webinar or conference.
Medicare Part B Payments
CMS’s final 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) included cuts to services provided by occupational therapy practitioners and the majority of other Medicare health care providers.