Requirement puts ATPs in a bind

Monday, August 28, 2017

Would RESNA have any interest in pursuing and requesting to CMS/Medicare to lift the rule of requiring an ATP to be a W2 employee and not 1099 contractor?

I believe this rule surfaced as a requirement around 2009, which states that a DME rehab company must employ W2 ATP on staff. At the time, RESNA was involved and had some input. There was also some input and involvement with the IRS over this decision.

I understand the importance of being a certified ATP, but CMS thought it would be a conflict of interest to let companies contract with ATPs, and I beg to differ.

Here's why this is unfair and not right. If I'm the owner of my company and also the ATP on staff as a Medicare provider, then I can pay myself and file/pay my taxes as a corporation/W2 employee or sole-proprietor/1099. All insurance payments to a DME company are reported as 1099.

Why is all of this a concern? Me, like a lot of ATPs have lost their jobs and cannot sustain a business with the complexity of being a Medicare provider. Smaller companies may not be able to afford a full-time W2 employee ATP. It puts companies in a difficult position.

If you cannot relocate and/or find a job as ATP in your area, then you can no longer practice/ apply your profession for remuneration. A lot of ATPs need the work and would be willing to accept 1099 contracted work as an independent ATP.

The primary payer for rehab power chairs is usually Medicare and the second biggest payer is state Medicaid programs, which typically follow Medicare guidelines, Although, this rule may not apply for Medicaid and private payors.

—Steve VanHoose, ATP