WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), lead sponsors of S. 253, the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act, together lauded the bipartisan, bicameral deal struck by the Senate Finance Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the House Ways and Means Committee to permanently repeal the annual limit on per-patient therapy expenditures in Medicare (“therapy caps”). The agreement will protect Medicare beneficiaries from arbitrary limits on outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services that are often needed to recover from debilitating illnesses, such as stroke, or support the effective management of conditions including multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
“A full repeal of the existing, arbitrary caps on physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services has been long fought for and long overdue,” said Senator Cardin. “I have been proud to work with my colleagues across the aisle and across the Capitol to help ensure Medicare’s most vulnerable beneficiaries can receive the services they need to resume their normal lives after a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury, or to effectively manage conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. I call on my colleagues in both the House and Senate to work together to pass this policy by the end of this year.”
“This bipartisan agreement is great news for Medicare beneficiaries who require outpatient therapy services to ensure a healthy recovery,” said Senator Collins. “I strongly supported eliminating the current, arbitrary caps so that patients recovering from a stroke, hip fracture, or other disease or condition are able to receive the treatment they need. Rehabilitation has also proven to be more cost effective than similar services provided in the hospital outpatient setting, which are not subject to caps and force higher out-of-pocket costs.”
“This bipartisan legislation will make important advances for beneficiaries,” Senator Casey said. “By working in a bipartisan way we have moved this issue forward. I am hopeful we can get this bill to the President’s desk.”
“This bipartisan, bicameral agreement to permanently repeal caps on therapy care is a positive step toward ensuring Nevada’s seniors and Americans throughout the country have access to the services they need. As a long-time advocate of eliminating arbitrary caps on therapy services, I’ll continue working with Senator Cardin to get this across the finish line so that seniors have the flexibility to pursue health care options that fit their needs and provide for the quality of life that they deserve,” said Senator Heller.
As announced by the bipartisan leaders of the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, “the policy agreement would: repeal the therapy caps, continue to require an appropriate modifier be included on claims submitted over the new threshold, indicating the services are medically necessary, and continue targeted medical review of claims established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).”