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Senate Passes NDAA with PTA Inclusion in TRICARE

Thursday, September 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jacque Bardgett
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Senate Passes NDAA with PTA Inclusion in TRICARE


On September 18th, the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.  APTA worked with Senator Tillis’s (NC) office to introduce an amendment that directs the Secretary of Defense to revise TRICARE so it would recognize physical therapist assistants and occupational therapy assistants. The amendment was part of a large package of amendments that was added and we were happy to see Senator McCain praise the bipartisan agreement on the package.


The Senate victory comes on the heels of report language included in the House’s version of the NDAA which directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the committee determining the feasibility of adding para health professionals as healthcare providers in the military health system by April 1, 2018. The review will look at how to incorporate PTAs, OTAs, and other para health professionals.


Taken together, APTA has secured language in both bills on both sides of the Capitol. We expect representatives from the Senate and House Armed Services committees to come together in a conference and work out the differences in the legislations. With language in both versions, we are optimistic we will see positive language in the final draft that the President signs. APTA is hopeful that the language passed in the Senate version is the final agreed-upon language since it is more directive and we believe it would take less time to implement.


Currently, there has been no schedule set for a conference between the committees, but we will continue to educate the chairs of committees to ensure the best version of the language is enacted. If you have any questions please contact Michael Hurlbut.

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