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Contact Your US Senators Today and Ask Them to Cosponsor S. 970: The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 by Arizona Physical Therapy Association

Rural and underserved communities face multiple health care crises. There are over 7,026 health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) nationwide in rural, frontier, and urban settings, at a time when many of the 11.4 million Americans in these communities are being impacted by the opioid crisis.

Rural and underserved communities face multiple health care crises. There are over 7,026 health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) nationwide in rural, frontier, and urban settings, at a time when many of the 11.4 million Americans in these communities are being impacted by the opioid crisis.

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program repays up to $50,000 in outstanding student loans to certain health care professionals who agree to work for at least 2 years in a designated HPSA.  Currently there is no physical rehabilitation care component within the NHSC, a piece that could greatly complement the current program to promote health across the continuum of care.

The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (S. 970) has been introduced in the US Senate by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Angus King (I-ME). This important legislation would add physical therapists to the NHSC loan repayment program, and will help provide greater patient access to rehabilitation services in rural and underserved areas of the country.

Adding physical therapists to the NHSC will also ensure that individuals in rural and underserved areas have access to nonpharmacological options for the prevention, treatment, and management of pain. Physical therapy is an essential component of the multidisciplinary undertaking that will be required to improve patient outcomes and alter the trajectory of the current opioid crisis.

Take Action Today

Please contact your senators and ask them to support greater patient access to rehabilitation services in rural and medically underserved areas by cosponsoring S. 970.

Please note: a companion bill is expected to be introduced in the US House of Representatives soon. Please stay tuned for additional updates. Thank you for you dedication and your membership in APTA!