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ASHA Applauds Congressional Progress On Therapy Caps

Group Appeals To Lawmakers For Long-Term Solution

(Rockville, MD - March 3, 2010)  

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) joined over 40 patient, consumer and provider organizations today to thank Congress for providing a short-term fix to the outpatient Medicare therapy caps on speech, physical and occupational therapy services.

However, in thanking Congress for its action, ASHA also echoed the other members of the coalition by urging lawmakers to continue working on a long-term solution to the therapy caps issue.

Since January 1, 2010, Medicare patients have been subjected to a $1,860 joint cap on speech and physical therapy services and a separate cap on occupational therapy.  Many of those patients have hit their limit for services including treatment for aphasia and dysphasia. Without this continuation of care, the number of patients forgoing treatment will only increase adding additional costs to the already challenged U.S. health care system.

"The outpatient Medicare cap on speech, physical and occupational therapy services prevents patients from receiving necessary treatment," ASHA President Dr. Tommie L. Robinson, Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP said during a joint press conference today on Capitol Hill.

"On behalf of ASHA, I thank members of the House and Senate for providing short-term relief. However, a long-term permanent solution to the caps is still needed, and we stand ready to work with Congress to help find one, both for the good of the patients who need the care, as well as financial health of the overall health care system."

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 140,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.

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