Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Category: Member News
From Rita Stanley, GAC Chair
The Government Affairs Committee (GAC) is an important part of RESNA’s policy presence. We coordinate with and support our partners and stakeholders regarding policy issues that are important to our members.
Since the pandemic started, RESNA has been part of a coalition that has successfully advocated for OTs, PTs, and SLPs to be able to bill Medicare for AT telehealth services. Along with other key stakeholders, we are now advocating that those pandemic-related changes become permanent for those clients that would benefit from telehealth. The "Expanded Telehealth Access Act" (H.R. 2168) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Mikie Sherill (D-NJ) and David McKinley (R-WV). Essentially, the bill would instruct the U.S Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to permanently adopt what is a temporary waiver of restrictions on payment for telehealth delivered by PTs and PTAs, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists. The Secretary of Health and Human Services also would be allowed to further expand the list of authorized telehealth providers.
RESNA members who are part of the Clinician’s Task Force recently published The Clinician's Guide to Use of Telehealth in CRT Provision to educate the field about when telehealth does work, and when it does not.
RESNA’s Position Papers are an important part of our advocacy. We use these position papers as educational tools for policy makers. RESNA position papers were important elements of the documentation submitted last fall to the CMS, requesting reconsideration of its coverage policy related to standing and seat elevation. RESNA members are now working on an update to our Wheelchair Service Provision Guide, which will be extremely useful in our policy efforts. Gratitude is extended to the people dedicated to this effort!
How does RESNA promote policy change? We participate in a number of coalitions with like-minded partners. These coalitions are an alphabet soup of names: ITEM, DRRC, CPR, etc. We also have a liaison seat on the NCART board to facilitate strong communication.
If you want to get involved in the GAC, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The committee does most of its work via e-mail. Right now, our efforts focus on the US, but we welcome volunteers eager to work on policy change in other countries. If you are interested in politics, can read and digest information quickly, and are willing to respond thoughtfully to e-mail within 24 to 48 hours, this might be the volunteer gig for you!