Congress has less than two months to act before some stroke survivors are, once again, at risk of losing access to critical speech, physical and occupational therapy services. Contact Congress today and ask them to preserve access to therapy services above the annual cap for Medicare beneficiaries.

Under current Medicare rules, beneficiaries can receive up to $1,880 per year of speech and physical therapy (combined) and another $1,880 for occupational therapy provided in non-hospital, outpatient settings (in 2012). Beneficiaries who require more services can use an exceptions process to obtain them before the start of the next year. However, this exceptions process is set to expire on February 29, 2012.

Congress extended this deadline for two months (from December 31, 2021 to the end of February 2012) through legislation passed at the eleventh hour just before the end of last year. However, this only ensures that stroke survivors covered by Medicare have access to additional therapy services until February 29. Congress must extend, or reauthorize, the exceptions process in order for beneficiaries to take advantage of it beyond this date. If Congress fails to act and the exceptions process expires, Medicare will only pay for rehabilitation services up to this capped amount—even if additional rehabilitation services are considered medically necessary by a healthcare professional.

You can help ensure that stroke survivors covered by Medicare have access to an adequate level of rehabilitation services. Send a message to your members of Congress urging them to preserve the exceptions process. Take action today! Even if you’ve already contacted your members of Congress about this issue, they need to hear from you again to ensure they take action on this issue by February 29.

Once you’ve sent your messages, follow up with your members of Congress to ensure they take action on your request. The Stroke Advocacy Network can help you identify your members of Congress and find phone numbers for their offices (local or in Washington, D.C.). Following up with a phone call will ensure that your request is not only heard but acted on as well.

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