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Kent State University at East Liverpool Students Learn About Advocacy During D.C. Trip

Posted Oct. 4, 2010

Kent State Occupational Therapy Assistant program students attended the American Occupational Therapy Association's (AOTA) 2010 Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20 to both learn about and participate in advocacy efforts in their chosen career path. A group of 26 participants, consisting of second-year students, faculty and guests from the university's program, became part of a group of more than 400 politically active occupational therapy practitioners from around the United States.

regional feature occupational therapy in dc
The 12 students were accompanied by Nina Sullivan,
(back row, left) fieldwork coordinator, faculty member
Kathy Swoboda and Harriett Bynum, program director
(at end of back row, on right)
Discussed were occupational therapy's legislative priorities, including eliminating the Medicare outpatient therapy cap, making occupational therapy an initiating service, opposing the Medicare prospective payment reduction proposal currently being discussed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and protecting occupational therapy reimbursement.

Eliminating the caps on outpatient rehabilitation remains one of the top legislative concerns for AOTA. AOTA supports elimination of these caps because they feel they are arbitrary, inappropriate and potentially harmful to the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries.

A highlight of the conference was a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with Northern West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio senators and representatives.

Founded in 1917, the AOTA represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants and students nationwide. The association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditation and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA's major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, go to www.aota.org.

By Ruth McCullaugh