Ellen Satlof, NATA
214-637-6282, ext. 159
Athletic Trainers Represent NATA in Washington, D.C., on “Capitol Hill Day”
Members lobby federal legislators on behalf of NATA, patient access to quality therapy care DALLAS, April 2, 2008 – A record number of nearly 300 members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) from 42 states descended on Congress recently for the fifth annual “Capitol Hill Day” in an effort to educate members of Congress about the athletic training profession and request their support in the passage of the Medicare Access to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services Improvement Act (House Resolution 1846). Introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns (N.Y.-10) in March 2007, the act will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have better access to quality health care provided by state licensed or certified health care professionals. The day also marked the kickoff of National Athletic Training Month which takes place annually in March. “We consider the day a huge success and know that grassroots lobbying is one of the best ways to communicate the unique issues of athletic trainers to members of Congress,” said Chuck Kimmel, ATC, president of NATA. “Passage of HR 1846 will result in better, more cost-effective care for patients by granting them access to our unique skills. It will enable a level of care that is desperately needed, but one doctors and patients have not been able to access, since an earlier rule change went into effect.” As a result of the day’s successful activities, Rep. Bart Gordon (Tenn.-6) became the newest co-sponsor of the legislation. Other co-sponsors include Rep. Brian Baird (Wash.-3); Rep. Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands); Rep. John Peterson (Pa.-5); Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas-32); Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.-1); Rep. Kendrick Meek (Fla.-17); Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio-17); and Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.-2). “We are delighted to have all co-sponsors, and now Congressman Gordon, supporting this legislation,” said Kimmel. “In short we believe it should be up to physicians to decide what’s best for patients when it comes to rehabilitation services.” Federal government reports indicate that therapy care provided by athletic trainers in physician offices is cost effective. A 2005 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report noted that, based upon 2002 payment data, the most cost-effective place for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain physical therapy was in the physician’s office, which supports the long-standing practice of providing “therapy-incident to.” The MedPAC report detailed the comparative costs of therapy delivered in various health care settings. The per-patient average cost for therapy was: Physician offices $405.00 Hospital Outpatient Dept. $429.00 Average $581.00 OT in Private Practice $594.00 PT in Private Practice $653.00 Skilled Nursing Facility $868.00 “NATA and its members believe that Medicare beneficiaries deserve the same access to athletic trainers that the general population has,” said Kimmel. “America’s senior citizens have earned the right to receive care by whomever they, along with their physician, deem appropriate. Having more qualified health care professionals to do the job during these times of tight labor markets will only benefit the patient and the health care system.” About the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA): Athletic trainers are unique health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession. NATA advocates for equal access to athletic trainers for patients and clients of all ages and supports H.R. 1846. Only 42 percent of high schools have access to athletic trainers. NATA members adhere to a code of ethics. www.nata.org.