Legislation Would Expand PT Workforce in Underserved Areas, Extend Student Loan Repayment Program to PTs
Legislation that would include physical therapists (PTs) among the professions included in a federal program to provide greater patient access to health care in underserved areas was introduced in both the US House of Representatives and Senate, just in time to be included in the grassroots advocacy efforts taking place during PT Day on Capitol Hill June 3-4.
The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (H.R. 2342/S. 1426) was reintroduced late last week and, if passed, would allow PTs to participate in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program, an initiative that 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 Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
The bill was introduced in the House by John Shimkus (R-IL) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), and in the US Senate by John Tester (D-MT) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). The timing of the reintroduction couldn’t be better, as an estimated 1,000 PTs, physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students from PT and PTA programs descend on Washington, DC, to join in PT Day on Capitol Hill on June 4. Events will begin with a rally before participants fan out across the halls of Congress to advocate for increased patient access to PTs, loan forgiveness, the Medicare therapy cap, and other issues.