April 11, 2023 | Net Health

4 min read

Net Health Goes to Washington: Rehab Therapists Advocate for a Stronger Future

It would be easy to think of Net Health as a company largely made up of EHR/EMR software developers. Yet, a significant portion of our overall team consists of healthcare professionals with real-world experience treating patients in a wide variety of care settings.

As such, many have walked in the shoes of our clients and continue to invest in the future success of their respective fields.

How? By actively serving as rehab therapy advocates.

Last month, for example, three rehab therapy professionals from the Net Health team traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby as members of two important professional associations: Argentum and ADVION.

In doing so, they participated in high-level meetings with members of Congress and/or their staff to discuss solutions to important issues affecting senior/assisted living communities as well as long-term and post-acute care facilities.

Here are the issues they discussed:

Argentum Public Policy Institute

As a member of Argentum, Net Health Account Executive Mikki Lindstrom, PT, participated last month in the Argentum Public Policy Institute and Fly-In. The goal of this annual event is to help ensure policymakers more fully understand issues affecting senior living facility operators as well residents.

Argentum is the nation’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to representing the country’s 31,000 professionally managed assisted living and memory care communities, as well as the 2 million residents and families these communities serve.

Its members’ goals, then, are to advance policies that improve the lives of seniors and their caregivers. At this year’s lobbying event, this included:

  • Solving the Assisted Living Workforce Shortage Crisis: According to Argentum, assisted living and memory care communities are facing the greatest workforce needs across the entire long-term care continuum. Such facilities and communities will need an estimated 20.2 million workers by 2040.
  • Helping More Seniors Access Assisted Living Communities: At half the cost of nursing home care and with customer satisfaction rates that consistently exceed 90%, Argentum believes enabling more seniors to access assisted living communities will save significant tax dollars.
  • Join the 21st Century House LongTerm Care Caucus: Formed in June 2022, this bipartisan caucus brings together members of both parties to identify and address long-term care in the U.S., ensuring patients/residents and their families get the support they need.

“I love going to The Hill with clients, colleagues and industry professionals,” Mikki said of her overall advocacy experiences. “I always return feeling that I have done my part to make a difference in the lives of a very needy group – our seniors.”

ADVION Hill Day

While Mikki was advocating on behalf of assisted living communities and their residents, two others from our team were doing the same for long-term and post-acute care providers.

Net Health SVP of Account Management and ADVION Board Member Cathy de Verteuil, PT, and Rita Cole, SLP, the Net Health Director of Clinical Services, both served as ADVION Advocates. In this capacity, they also took part in meetings with Congressional representatives and staff members to advocate for ADVION’s three top legislative priorities.

Formerly the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care, or NASL, ADVION is a national trade association that represents providers of ancillary services (i.e., rehab therapy services, health IT development, etc.) to the long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) settings.

As for its top legislative priorities, these include:

  • Long-Term Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Reform: Over the last 11 years, CMS has cut reimbursement for rehab therapy services furnished by rehab therapists by 26%, and 41% for services furnished by therapy assistants after the first unit billed per day. In the meantime, labor costs have continually increased.
  • Permanent Telehealth & Report Patient Monitoring Expansion Under Medicare: Beginning Jan. 1, 2025, Medicare will not pay for services delivered via telehealth by rehab therapists to Medicare beneficiaries in nursing facilities.
  • Include LTPAC in Any Federally Sponsored Health IT Initiatives to Improve Care Coordination & Transitions of Care: ADVION supports federal incentive funds to allow the nursing facility sector to achieve parity with acute and ambulatory care to advance interoperability that can help to improve care for our country’s most vulnerable citizens.

“I think from a relevancy perspective, what’s so awesome this year is that we’re back in person and we’re dealing with a post-COVID world,” said Cathy, who has served as an industry advocate for more than a dozen years. “So, this year’s event had a different flavor than in the past.”

“If we want to see change in the industry, we have to help exercise our voices to make it happen,” Rita added. “It’s about direct patient care – the stories about the impact on patients that the elected officials need to hear about. We have to help elected officials understand the impact [of our professions], and sharing the stories is the best way to do that.”

Such lobbying events, whether through ADVION or Argentum, provide an invaluable opportunity not just for our Net Health team, but for anyone looking for opportunities to make a difference in the future of their healthcare professions.

Leaders with Net Health will continue their advocacy efforts in May during the National Association of Rehab Providers and Agencies (NARA) Spring Legislative and Regulatory Conference in Washington D.C.

If you would like to learn more about the lobbying process or would like to provide a real-world story about how legislation may address current issues, contact us any time via email. We’re always thrilled to welcome new people to the world of advocacy!

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