Kent State East Liverpool Students and Faculty Attend Hill Day 2012
Students, faculty and staff from Kent State University at East Liverpool’s occupational therapy assistant program attended the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) 2012 Hill Day in Washington, D.C.
With 514 registered attendees, the 2012 Hill Day was the largest-ever in the association’s history. It trumped last year’s record number of 400-plus attendees.
Hill Day is an opportunity for occupational therapy professionals to bring their advocacy and concerns to their elected officials and educate them on the issues critical to occupational therapy and the people whom they serve.
For many weeks preceding the conference, Kent State students in the program call to schedule appointments with individual senators and representatives.
“The students have to leave their comfort zone to call government offices and make appointments and be professional by researching the issues and how they affect the patients receiving services, as well as the profession as a whole,” says Nina Sullivan, clinical fieldwork coordinator.
Kent State students had meetings in the offices of Ohio and West Virginia representatives: Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (Ohio), U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (Ohio), U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (Ohio), U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Sen. Joe Manchin (W.V.).
The group of occupational therapy clinicians, educators and students advocated for congressional support to pass the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (S. 829/H.R. 1546), which seeks to repeal therapy caps implemented by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The current act limits Medicare coverage of outpatient occupational therapy to $1,880 and places a separate combined limit on physical and speech therapy of $1,880. Students and healthcare professional also sought congressional support of the Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act (H.R. 2468) to give occupational therapy equal footing among other services provided by home health agencies to allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive the most appropriate skilled service to meet their needs.