"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Uncertainty for Private Practice Physical Therapists

Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson of Pensacola, Florida sent the private practice physical therapist community into greater uncertainty Monday January 31st by overturning the Individual Mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

Vinson's court Order Granting Summary Judgement granted the plaintiff's motion against the defendant, the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ruling the following:
"...a Declaratory Judgment shall be entered separately, declaring “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) unconstitutional."
How might Vinson's ruling upset the provider apple cart?

Early Adopters of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) may now feel like we're "too early".

The Federal rollout of alternative, bundled payments for hospitalizations for specified conditions such as total joint replacements, heart procedures and episodes of pneumonia has had providers nationwide scrambling to find the right path to position ourselves with the right partners.

Now, it seems all this maneuvering was premature.

Unlike the first partial defeat of PPACA, Vinson's ruling threw out the whole law - ACOs included.

In Virginia, Federal court Judge Henry Hudson found the Individual Mandate unconstitutional but left the remnants of PPACA, including support for ACOs, intact.

The Score

Two federal courts have now ruled against the PPACA while two courts have ruled for the Act.

Fourteen other courts have dismissed lawsuits against PPACA.

The appeals process should last eighteen months until the Vinson and Hudson decisions wind up in the Supreme Court where court watchers have called it a split-decision.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, to the best of my knowledge and awareness there is no "severability clause" in the Act. This means that should any part of the act be found illegal, the entire act is null and void.

    What is going to occur is either the Act will be found legal, or illegal, by the full court. At that point, it will go forward or be replaced within a short time by another reform Act. People are not going to tolerate the system as it is anymore. They're done with it, and will good reason. We work in it, and it's all I can do some days to do it.

    I've had a number of private practice PTs who have said they wish the government would simply say, "We're not covering PT services anymore." So they could work out a private pay arrangement with people and not have to worry about being locked up for fraud.

    Personally, I see some good in the Act, and some bad. I wish they had been able to accomplish more regarding tort reform and accessibility. I wish they hadn't tried to lie their way through attempting to convince people they were going to insure 30 million more people with no longer lines and spend less money.

    I really wish someplace in the Act was a mechanism to hire 12,000 new health care providers, and educate them... Instead we got a mechanism to hire 12,000 new IRS Agents. "Just what we freakin needed...."

    LOL Thank You TIM! :)


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