Huntington, West Virginia (July 14, 2014) -- A new bill, H.R. 4755 (The Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2014), is set to go before the House Ways and Means Committee for approval. The bill, which would be an addition to Section 1886(j) of the Social Security Act, is a bi-partisan effort to expand the types of therapy patients who have suffered brain injuries and other trauma can receive.
In an effort to get representatives to approve the bill, Recreational Therapy Advocate Danny Pettry has started a petition on Change.org: http://www.change.org/petitions/sander-martin-levin-include-rec-therapy. The site allows citizens and organizations to raise awareness for causes close to their hearts and gain public support for important votes coming before Congress. Already, the petition has amassed over 700 supporters.
"Using Recreational Therapy will help get those people back to what they love doing with use of adaptations and modifications. This is important to the individual in the rehabilitation facility to continue in what they love doing or finding things they like to do, while working toward goal-specific outcomes," said Sarah Rozanski, a soon-to-be graduate of a recreational therapy program.
The petition supports a bill that, if passed, would make recreational therapy an accepted treatment option under Medicare. Currently, only physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, orthotics and prosthetics are considered acceptable treatment options. By introducing this bill, Pettry and its supporters in Congress hope to empower physicians and patients to devise the best treatment plan to reach their desired goals.
"By including recreational therapy under the three hour rule, Medicare beneficiaries in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units will regain access to important therapies deemed medically necessary by their treating physicians and therapists. This will also reduce the risk that patients will be inappropriately diverted into less intensive post-acute care settings," wrote Phillip R. Bryant, DO Chair of the Reimbursement and Policy Review Committee (RPRC) and member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) in a letter to Congressman Glenn Thompson.
The Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2014 was introduced by Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA) and Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). It has received public support from a number of professional organizations, including the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association, Brain Injury Association of America, and the United Spinal Association.
Visit this link to sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/sander-martin-levin-include-rec-therapy.
ABOUT DANNY PETTRY: Danny Pettry has worked with children and adolescents in West Virginia since 2002. He has Master’s Degrees in Mental Health Counseling and Therapeutic Recreation from Lindsey Wilson College and Indiana University, respectively. He is a member of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association as well as the West Virginia Therapeutic Recreation Association.
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