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Elected officials discuss pressing physical therapy concerns

l-r: Congressman Zach Wamp, Dr. Debbie Ingram, Chancellor
Roger Brown, Laura Warren,, PT, MS, Chattanooga State
and Representative Bo Watson.

Zach Wamp, U.S. Representative from Tennessee’s Third Congressional District, and Bo Watson, State Representative, District 31, were among those to examine “Government Issues Affecting Physical Therapy and the Patients We Serve” at the Sixth Annual Physical Therapy Forum sponsored by The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga DPT Program and Chattanooga State PTA Program. Nearly 300 participants attended the program at no cost.

According to Dr. Debbie Ingram, UC Foundation Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, participants heard the latest news and insights from Capitol Hill and the Tennessee Legislature. Members of Congress and the General Assembly debate legislation that has a dramatic impact on the practice of physical therapy, and Ingram identified the Medicare therapy cap as a major federal issue.

“The Therapy Cap went into effect January 1. It limits a Medicare recipient to roughly $1700 worth of outpatient physical therapy and speech therapy combined for a calendar year,” Ingram said. “This becomes problematic for the person who has a stroke in January and uses up all therapy dollars. If that person then falls and breaks a hip later that year, the patient is not eligible for therapy under Part B.”

Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN3) is a co-sponsor of the physical therapy legislation to repeal the Medicare outpatient therapy caps. Wamp is the founder and current co-chairman of the Congressional Fitness Caucus, which promotes healthier lifestyles for all citizens. In 2004, he launched “Tennessee on the Move” as a statewide program administered by the University of Tennessee to promote physical activity, proper nutrition and preventative healthcare.

State Representative Bo Watson is the first physical therapist elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives. Representing District 31, Watson serves on the Health & Human Resources and Government Operations Committees. He is a 1983 graduate of UTC and earned a PT degree from the University of Tennessee at Memphis. As a practicing physical therapist for 20 years, Watson is the Director of Therapy Services at Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga and frequently serves as a clinical instructor to the PTA students from Chattanooga State and PT students from UTC.

For more information, please contact Dr. Debbie Ingram, (423)425-4767.

January 13, 2006

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