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Legislative Oct-Dec

Details
Published on Thursday, 02 January 2014 14:09

Currently, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) advocacy and policy focus is on celebration of inclusion of habilitation and rehabilitation as part of the Essential Benefits portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). AOTA is also realistic about the need for OT professionals to be vigilant in pressing on for the advocacy of the profession in the best interest of our clients.

Currently, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) advocacy and policy focus is on celebration of inclusion of habilitation and rehabilitation as part of the Essential Benefits portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). AOTA is also realistic about the need for OT professionals to be vigilant in pressing on for the advocacy of the profession in the best interest of our clients.

Most recently (December 6th), AOTA released an e-mail urging AOTA members to write to their elected officials in effort to influence decisions with congress including lifting the therapy cap. If you are not currently a member of AOTA, you may still access the legislative center of the AOTA website to get started contacting your elected officials. Remember, this is not a new service. This option is always available with their website. This only takes about 5 minutes, and it is better than standing on the sidelines!

Q: “But they updated their website! Where is the legislative action now?”

A: From aota.org, click on “Advocacy and Policy” tab. Go to the Legislative Action Center (right side of page). To contact officials, follow the tab “Elected Officials.”

At a state level, a few bills were brought to the house and senate for Wyoming in 2013 that are in process and or acted upon at this time. The Bill number as well as a brief title or summary are noted below if they are of interest to anyone. For any details or to confirm the accuracy of these summaries, please visit our state website at the following web address, http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2013/billindex

SF0060 within chapter of 3/15/13 listed is Medicaid Reform WY legislature regarding authorization of the Department of Health to proceed with reform regarding “major elements” such as “incentives for healthy lifestyles.” Also noted is “use of capitated payment model instead of fee-for-service.”

Meetings regarding Mental Health and Involuntary Commitment occurred in 2013 regarding facilitites such as Lusk Women’s Center; The Cathedral Home for Children in Laramie; Red Top Meadows Residential Youth Treatment Facility of Jackson and were to focus on reductions of costs. The summary was vague but a worthwhile subject for the attention of OT’s who collaborate and or treat with recipients of services for such facilities.

Anyone interested in projected funding/expenditures for schools in accordance with the allowments with Grant Funding may view tables of the projected allowments at the legislative website listed above.

House Bill (HB)0144 is of interest to OT’s working in early learning environments regarding kindergarten readiness. Educational professionals are included in the wording of the summary of this bill dealing with overview of requirements for child readiness for Kindergarten, but not OT’s.

HB 0203 Notes the Health Benefit Exchange study approved for the study of outcomes and efficacy of the implementation of the health insurance exchange program in Wyoming in effect as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Finally, SF0048 “Hospice Care” regarding room and board as part of benefits warranted under Medicaid is a potential area of advocacy for clients in the future for OT’s whose focus is on our Older population and transition from Skilled Nursing and Long Term Care facilities.

I humbly welcome any input regarding my interpretation of current legislature that may be of interest to OT professionals. I am eager to learn from colleagues with much more experience than I have regarding focus on legislative terminology that could potentially impact our profession so as to advance my own knowledge and better inform our body of WYOTA members and other stakeholders throughout the coming year. If our website does not allow for comments, etc., please e-mail me at andreayoung@bresnan.net with any insight/suggestions/complaints you may have for me.

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