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Legislative Topics:

IMPORTANT!! TAKE ACTION TODAY!

11/16/17

Please considering contacting our MT Senators about this important healthcare issue below:

Senator Daines:  Matthew_Ketron@daines.senate.gov

Senator Tester: senator@tester.senate.gov

Here is a sample letter to our Senators regarding Cost Sharing Reductions, please consider copying and e-mailing them on this very important issue, that could have a huge impact on healthcare in our state and country,.

November 11, 2017

Senator Steve Daines
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510


Senator John Tester
311 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2604

Dear Senator Daines and Senator Tester,
While Congress and the Trump Administration are in the middle of discussing health care
reform, it’s important that we work to ensure stability in the marketplace. To keep premiums in
check for fellow Montanans, we support legislation that works to counteract the rising costs of
health care services.
That reform needs to begin with the support of cost sharing reductions. The bipartisan
Alexander-Murray plan in the Senate will create greatly-needed confidence in the current
marketplace. Under the bill, funds would be allocated toward cost sharing reductions for the next
two years as a short-term solution.
This legislation will create much-needed protections in the current marketplace. Health care
makes up nearly 20 percent of the nation’s economy and affects the lives of all Montanans. I
encourage you to work across the aisle to pass this important legislation.
If Congress does ignore funding for cost sharing reductions, the scales would be tipped in the
wrong direction – and not just for those who directly rely on the provision. The future of our
entire health care system would be at risk.
The Alexander-Murray bill stabilizes the provision and even saves on costs. The Congressional
Budget Office estimates that the plan would reduce the federal deficit by almost $4 billion over
the next ten years. Without the backing of cost sharing reductions, we would face negative
consequences including:
* 20% average premium increases next year
* $194 billion in new federal debt over the next ten years
* Up to 16 million Americans with zero insurance options on exchanges
(Source: Congressional Budget Office, Joint Committee on Taxation, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
Access to affordable and quality health care is a continued priority, and Congress maintaining
cost sharing reductions is an important step toward achieving that goal. Thank you for your time
and consideration.
Sincerely,
Lisa Lowery, MOTA President,

MT Occupational Therapy Association

11/10/17

Congress Introduces Medicare Home Health Act

Andy Bopp
11/2/2017 

The Medicare Home Heath Flexibility Act (H.R.3820) was introduced in the House of Representatives on September 25. This bill would allow occupational therapists to open home health therapy cases by conducting the initial assessment and completing the required comprehensive assessments under Medicare, which they are currently barred from doing by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The legislation was introduced by Representatives Pat Meehan (R-PA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Ryan Costello (R-PA), and Paul Tonko (D-NY) and is identical to a bill introduced in April (S.977) by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Dean Heller (R-NV).

The bill was introduced to coincide with AOTA’s Centennial Hill Day, when 547 occupational therapy advocates held 248 meetings with members of Congress and their staff members in support of legislation, including the Home Health bill. In addition, AOTA has urged the House Ways and Means Committee to consider the home health bill as part of its formal Medicare Red Tape Relief Project. The committee’s current focus on eliminating burdensome Medicare regulations creates an outstanding opportunity for passage of this bill.

If the Home Health Flexibility Act were signed into law, occupational therapists would be able to open home health therapy cases, including conducting the initial assessment and completing the first comprehensive assessment. This would allow occupational therapists to be the first ones in the door, when they are the most appropriate profession, and reduce home health service delays in areas where access to physical therapy and speech-language pathology clinicians is limited. This would help to reduce Medicare costs related to service delays and ensure that clients have early access to occupational therapy when needed.

Based on their proven expertise in optimizing outcomes for clients and improving efficiency, occupational therapists are already well qualified to conduct the initial and comprehensive home health assessments for Medicare, and they already perform these assessments for Medicaid and private insurance home health therapy cases. Among other things, the new requirements for the comprehensive assessments include assessing a client’s functional, cognitive, and psychosocial status—all key domains for occupational therapy. This assessment is then used to develop the client-centered plan of care.

The bill would not alter Medicare’s criteria for establishing eligibility for the home health benefit, and it would apply only to rehabilitation cases. In addition, it has received a zero score from the Congressional Budget Office, which means it would not create added costs for the Medicare program. In Washington, legislation that has no cost is always easier to enact than legislation for which Congress must identify a funding source or “pay for.”

Broad support for H.R.3820/S.977 from groups including the National Association of Home Care and Hospice, the American Physical Therapy Association, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association also increases the chances that Congress will address this issue.

Members can help by contacting their representatives and senators to urge them to support H.R.3820/S.977. For more details, including contact information and suggested phrasing, visit the Legislative Action Center at https://goo.gl/Y7MaFi. 

Andy Bopp is AOTA’s Senior Legislative Representative.

Copyright 2017 American Occupational Therapy Association

 

 

ACOTE Statement Regarding the OTA Education Level Mandate (10/24/17)

 

At the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education's (ACOTE®’s) August 2017 meeting, two motions were made regarding the entry-level degree requirement for the occupational therapist and the occupational therapy assistant. The first motion resulted in a vote to mandate that the entry-level degree requirement for the occupational therapist move to the doctoral level by July 1, 2027. The second motion resulted in a vote to mandate the entry-level degree requirement for the occupational therapy assistant move to the baccalaureate level by July 1, 2027. 

 

Since the mandate announcement, ACOTE has heard from various stakeholders expressing concerns about the decision to move the occupational therapy assistant to the baccalaureate degree requirement. As a result of this feedback, ACOTE held a meeting on October 16, 2017, and decided to hold the OTA mandate decision in abeyance. In the meantime, ACOTE will conduct a forum to discuss and open the process by which individuals can formally submit comments to ACOTE. 

 

Representatives from ACOTE will hold a forum at the Occupational Therapy Assistant Academic Leadership Council meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday, October 26, 2017 from 3:30 p.m.—7:45 p.m. For individuals not attending the Academic Leadership Council meeting in Fort Worth, a survey and an email box have been created to collect comments regarding the mandate for the occupational therapy assistant. ACOTE will review all comments received from the forum, through e-mails submitted to acote-transition@aota.organd from the comments within this survey to determine how to proceed with this matter. This survey will close on Sunday, November 5, 2017.

 

We appreciate your input. Thank you.

 

The survey may be accessed here.


 
Hello all,
As some of you may know, significant budget cuts in the state of Montana are threatening Early Intervention services.  Unless we act now, Montana will become the first and only state in the nation without Early Intervention.  The opportunity for public comment will expire by the end of this week so we need to act now.  Below you will find a link to sign a petition that will send a message to the governor about our concerns.  It does not ask for a Montana address, so it can be signed by people outside of the state.   This link says that we still need 6,000 signatures for the petition to go to the governor.  Please share the link with anyone/everyone who would be willing to help.

If you are interested in participating in other advocacy efforts, please let me know.

Thanks for being an advocate for Montana's most vulnerable citizens!  


Thanks so much!

This is a quick and easy way to let our Senators know how important OT is!

My name is Taylor Halsey and I am working with a health care coalition of business, industry, and local leaders throughout Montana to call attention to health care reform issues including the need to stabilize the marketplace. I want to connect with you on the engagement of this important issue, and given the profession your association represents, we believe Montana Occupational Therapy Association could be an appropriate partner with our coalition.

                                                                                                                                                                                

Recent conversations on health care reform centered around Graham-Cassidy bill, and we were glad to see that the Senate decided this legislation wasn’t the answer to solving our health care challenges. We do believe there is a good opportunity to remain engaged on this issue and encourage Senator Tester to work toward legislation that stabilizes the health care marketplace, including provisions that support cost sharing reductions. You can find our Facebook page here where we will be posting articles and messages in support of these reform issues, and we would love to partner with you on these important communications.

 

Would you be willing to post a quick message to Senator Tester to encourage meaningful health care reform moving forward?  

 

The Consequences Without Cost Sharing Reductions in the Marketplace:

  • 20% average premium increases in 2018
  • $194 billion new federal debt over ten years
  • 50% counties with one insurer today – would get worse
  • Up to 16 million Americans with zero insurance options on exchanges o Four-lane highway to single payer solution

 

(Source: Congressional Budget Office, Joint Committee on Taxation, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

 

The following is from a post by OT student Will Harvey, please spread the word and call your reps!

For anyone who is not aware, Montana State legislature just released proposed budget cuts and it is looking very, very bleak to put it mildly. Here are some of the programs to be reduced or eliminated entirely:

Eliminate Part C Early intervention services for children with developmental disabilities
Transition programs for children with developmental disabilities
Eliminates a program designed for mobility training for children with low vision
Eliminates funding for second chance housing for teen mothers
Eliminates funding for forensic investigation for children who may be subject to abuse or neglect
Eliminates healthcare support for foster children
Eliminates funding for youth mentorship programs
Eliminates funding for domestic violence shelters
Eliminates financial stipends for foster care providers to purchase diapers
Eliminates funding for education on shaken baby syndrome (a disorder that is (100% preventable)
Eliminates the family education and support program through DDP
Terminates diagnosis program for running ADOS tests
Eliminates grants that fund education and other resources through Parents Let's Unite for Kids (PLUK) including informational library and Family Support Services Information Network (FSSIN)

You can call the governor's office at 444-3111.
They can also direct you to your county reps who are also involved in this decision.
Please make some calls and explain why these programs matter, who they will hurt, and how it will impact our ability to do our jobs. I read through the budget form so I did all the hard work to give you some talking points. Please act. There really is not a lot of time to delay and if these programs are cut, lots of people will be impacted.

Time to advocate!

Budget proposal for Health and Human Services: http://balancedbudget.mt.gov/Portals/186/DPHHS.pdf

Other article for more info: http://helenair.com/…/article_8c5900d9-1063-56b2-97d4-aeea2…

 

Hello Everyone,
I'm emailing to inform you of a very concerning proposed change to the evaluation team for Medicaid autism evaluations. DPHHS is proposing to eliminate STs, PTs, and OTs from comprehensive evaluation teams. This information is contained in the attached legal notice dated 6/2/17. I just recently became aware of this proposed change. I am concerned about this proposed change because I believe that a transdisciplinary team (including ST, OT and/or PT) using the ADOS provides the most comprehensive, reliable, and accurate method for diagnosing whether children and adolescents have ASD and for identifying individuals' needs and abilities/skills.

We need to take action immediately! We need to submit comments to the individuals listed below by June 28, 2017.  (So sorry for the late notice!)

ADOS evaluation coordinators have provided some "talking points" that may offer a starting place to consider what feedback you'd like to provide.  These "talking points" are attached. Please use any of these talking points that are helpful and also generate comments that reflect your own specific concerns. If you have questions about the proposed change or talking points, feel free to call (690-3523) or email me.  Feel free to forward this email to any/all OTs that would be willing to send emails/letters, as well.

Comments can be submitted to:

  1.  Mary Eve Kulawik, Medicaid State Plan and Waiver Coordinator; (406) 444-2584; mkulawik@mt.govmkulawik@mt.gov>
  2.  Sheila Hogan, Director, DPHHS; (406) 444-5623; sheilahogan@mt.govsheilahogan@mt.gov>; or mailed to - Director's Office, PO Box 4210, Helena, MT 59604-4210
  3.  Marie Matthews, Medicaid & Health Services Branch Manager; (406) 444-2754; mmatthews@mt.govmmatthews@mt.gov>
  4.  Novelene Martin, Bureau Chief, Developmental Disabilities Program; (406) 444-5662; nomartin@mt.govnomartin@mt.gov

 

STATE REGULATORY UPDATE

Montana (MT) MT 6968 2016

AGENCY: Department of Labor and Industry/Board of Occupational Therapy Practice

TITLE: Occupational Therapy Application and Licensure

PROPOSED: 08/22/2016

ADOPTED: 12/12/2016

SUMMARY: Amends rules pertaining to the definitions, fees, and continuing education in the field of occupational therapy.

AGENCY CONTACT: Board of Occupational Therapy Practice, 301 S Park Ave, PO Box 200513, Helena, MT 59620-0513, fax 406-841-2305, dlibsdotp@mt.gov

CITATION: ARM 24.165.302, .401, .2101

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“ Montana's 2017 Legislative Sessionofficially kicked off on Monday, January 2ndand we already need your help. Many of the programs that individuals with disabilities all across the state of Montana rely on are facing severe and drastic budget cuts to begin the session. The legislature is looking at passing a 5% across-the-board cut, plus allowing Governor Bullock to make addition budget cuts in the current biennium throughHouse Bill 3.

Some of these cuts include:
  • Eliminating the Orientation and Mobility Instruction contract with Montana Independent Living Project, a cut of $87,705;
  • Reducing extended employment benefits, a cut of $344,927;
  • Reducing independent living funding by 25.9%, a cut of $110,103;
  • Reducing Disability Services Waiver Case Plans, a cut of $1,100,000;
  • Reducing the durable medical equipment provider rate, a cut of $3,109,965;
  • Reducing Medicaid Community First Choice Services and provider rates, a cut of $4,709,154; and
  • Many other cuts that affect people with all types of disabilities from developmental disabilities to physical and mental health disabilities.

These are just some of the many cuts contained in the 5% reduction plan. DPHHS could stand to lose another 3.5% of its budget ifHouse Bill 3is passed. Many of these cuts could be devastating for individuals with disabilities as well as older adults.

House Bill 3has beenscheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, January 4 at 3:00 p.m. before a joint session of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.

We need your helpin contacting members of Gov. Bullock's office, DPHHS, and the Legislature to try to hold off or at least minimize these cuts. We have pre-written a message for you butplease personalize your messageto let the Governor, Legislators, and DPHHS staff know how reductions in funding for these vital programs may affect you.”

Copyright © 2016 Brain Injury Alliance of Montana, All rights reserved.

A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU!

I want to personally thank my friend and colleague Stephanie Perdue-Wetmore, PhD, PT for reviewing and editing this newsletter!

“ Montana's 2017 Legislative Sessionofficially kicked off on Monday, January 2ndand we already need your help. Many of the programs that individuals with disabilities all across the state of Montana rely on are facing severe and drastic budget cuts to begin the session. The legislature is looking at passing a 5% across-the-board cut, plus allowing Governor Bullock to make addition budget cuts in the current biennium throughHouse Bill 3.

Some of these cuts include:

  • Eliminating the Orientation and Mobility Instruction contract with Montana Independent Living Project, a cut of $87,705;
  • Reducing extended employment benefits, a cut of $344,927;
  • Reducing independent living funding by 25.9%, a cut of $110,103;
  • Reducing Disability Services Waiver Case Plans, a cut of $1,100,000;
  • Reducing the durable medical equipment provider rate, a cut of $3,109,965;
  • Reducing Medicaid Community First Choice Services and provider rates, a cut of $4,709,154; and
  • Many other cuts that affect people with all types of disabilities from developmental disabilities to physical and mental health disabilities.

These are just some of the many cuts contained in the 5% reduction plan. DPHHS could stand to lose another 3.5% of its budget ifHouse Bill 3is passed. Many of these cuts could be devastating for individuals with disabilities as well as older adults.

House Bill 3has beenscheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, January 4 at 3:00 p.m. before a joint session of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.

We need your helpin contacting members of Gov. Bullock's office, DPHHS, and the Legislature to try to hold off or at least minimize these cuts. We have pre-written a message for you butplease personalize your messageto let the Governor, Legislators, and DPHHS staff know how reductions in funding for these vital programs may affect you.”

Copyright © 2016 Brain Injury Alliance of Montana, All rights reserved.

IV.  TELEHEALTH - AOTA'S POSITION PAPER

 

 

 

 

 

 

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