Separate benefit for complex rehab: Will therapy associations weigh in?

Friday, April 1, 2011

BETHESDA, Md. - The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is scheduled to vote April 14 on a motion that could pave the way for it to support a separate benefit for complex rehab.

The motion directs the AOTA to develop a fact sheet on appropriate access to and funding for complex rehab that it can use to educate OT members and public policymakers.

“Very few OTs that I speak to have even heard of (the efforts to create a separate benefit for complex rehab),” said Chris Chovan, an OT/ATP who owns Rehab Mobility Specialists in Belle Vernon, Pa. “This would be good, because it would educate OTs on this initiative and get more support behind it.”

There's a similar motion being considered by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The association will vote on the motion in June.

If the AOTA passes the motion, it will likely develop the fact sheet with help from the motion’s creators, Cindi Petito, an OT/ATP who owns Seating Solutions in Orange Park, Fla., and Tamara Kittelson-Aldred, an OT/ATP who owns Access Therapy Services in Missoula, Mont.

“We’re working really hard to put into place avenues for support for the separate benefit,” Petito said.

Having the AOTA’s and the APTA’s weight behind a separate benefit could be a big boost for groups like NCART, which is working to get a bill introduced in Congress.

“The consumer and clinical voices are clearly influential on the Hill,” said Laura Cohen, a PT and co-coordinator of The Clinician Task Force. “They have more weight than the industry voices, because they're largely free of financial ties. So having the backing of our professional organizations that have thousands of members is very powerful.”