Medicaid (Title XIX) - Step-by-Step Calling Instructions

Helping Ensure Life- and Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians Act (HR 1542/S 1533)

Medicaid Beneficiary Access to DPMs (Title XIX) Bills

Take Action Today

Use these steps to contact your elected officials to ask them to support the bipartisan Helping Ensure Life- and Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians (HELLPP) Act (HR 1542/S 1533). Overall, be persistent but polite! 

Central message: Bipartisan legislation to modernize and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, enhance patient choice, and reduce the federal budget deficit.

Step 1. Identify your US representative/senators. On APMA's eAdvocacy website, your elected officials are identified on the right side of the page.

Step 2. Determine if your elected officials are already cosponsors of our legislation. 

If your representative is already a cosponsor, then no further action is required at this time. If your representative is not a cosponsor, then we need your collective phone calls to urge that he or she sign on. It is important to keep it simple, so when speaking with congressional staff members, refer to bill number HR 1542 if you are speaking to a House office, or S 1533 if you are speaking to a Senate office.

Step 3. Call the Capitol switchboard (202-225-3121) to get your phone call connected to the appropriate Senate or House office. Alternatively, from eAdvocacy, you can find direct-dial information by clicking the "View Profile" link under the photos on the right side of the screen.

Step 4. Greet the staff member answering the phone by providing your name and stating that you are a constituent and a podiatric physician from (city/county, state), and ask to be connected to the senior staff member responsible for health policy issues. If you are asked what your call is regarding, say "bipartisan legislation to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, and enhance patient access to specialty foot and ankle care" and that you would like to discuss the representative's support.

Step 5. If you get connected to voicemail, leave your name and where you live and ask that the person please call you back at a time and phone number convenient to you "to discuss support for HR 1542/S 1533, The Helping Ensure Life- and Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians (HELLPP) Act."

Step 6. If you get connected live to health-care staff, here are some helpful talking points for your discussion. Be sure to review these points prior to making your call(s).

Hello, my name is _________. As a constituent and a podiatric physician, I am calling to request that the congressman/woman cosponsor the Helping Ensure Life- and Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians (HELLPP) Act (HR 1542/S 1533).

Who introduced the bill?

House

  • Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) on behalf of themselves and 16 other House members
    • Seven of these original sponsors are members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and another five are on Ways and Means. This legislation is a priority.

Senate

  • Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) on behalf of themselves and five other Senators, all from Finance Committee

What does the bill do?

There are three legs to this bill. This common-sense, bipartisan legislation will modernize and strengthen Medicaid and Medicare by:

  • including podiatric physicians in the Medicaid program as physician providers, just as we have been under Medicare for more than 40 years;
  • clarifying and strengthening the ability of all licensed physicians to prescribe and furnish therapeutic shoes for diabetics under Medicare; and by
  • providing a pay-for mechanism which roots out fraud and abuse caused by tax-delinquent Medicaid providers. 

This important legislation puts an end to arbitrary treatment under the Medicaid program, and ensures a full range of choices for foot and ankle medical care needs.

LOWERING COSTS FOR MEDICAID

Podiatric physicians have a proven track record for preserving the mobility of patients, for reducing costly emergency room and hospital visits, and for preventing even more costly amputations.

  • A Thomson Reuters study validates these positive contributions by podiatric physicians. A copy of this study can be accessed at www.tinyurl.com/trstudy.

Who else supports the bill?

The HELLPP Act has garnered support from a number of health professional and patient advocacy organizations such as

  • the American Public Health Association;
  • the California Medical Association;
  • the Florida AFL-CIO;
  • the National Hispanic Medical Association; and
  • the Society for Vascular Surgery.

Does anyone oppose the bill?

The American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association are neutral on this legislation.

Key Points

  • It's important to keep in mind that this legislation neither mandates new Medicaid services or benefits, nor requires any Medicaid beneficiary to seek care from a podiatric physician.
  • The legislation does not expand the scope of practice for podiatric physicians, nor would it expand utilization. The legislation simply says that where foot and ankle medical care is covered under Medicaid, beneficiaries will have an equal range of choices for their medical care.
  • The Medicare section of the HELLPP Act resolves regulatory inconsistencies in the operation of Medicare's Therapeutic Shoe Program for persons with diabetes. It doesn’t make sense that I can operate on my Medicare patients, but when I prescribe therapeutic shoes for those same patients, they have to go back to their primary care doctor for authorization for the shoes. And it’s not just podiatric physicians—Medicare patients of foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons also have to do the same thing. Our bill fixes this problem for all of us!
  • The legislation contains a specific budget offset, a “pay-for,” which grants Medicaid the same authority as Medicare to offset public program payments for unpaid federal taxes owed. You see, under a current loophole in the tax laws, hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars due each year go uncollected from Medicaid providers (hospital chains, device manufacturers, etc.) with significant tax-delinquency issues, and these providers continue to receive full Medicaid reimbursements. Enacting HR 1542/S 1533 is paid for by ensuring that no one gets to cheat and benefit from it.

More background and information can be accessed at www.apma.org/saving.

Also, please do not hesitate to contact APMA’s Director of Legislative Advocacy, Benjamin J. Wallner, at bjwallner@apma.org or 301-581-9231.

I would greatly appreciate your boss signing on as a cosponsor to the bipartisan HELLPP Act (HR 1542/S 1533).

Step 7. Reaction 

  • If the staff agrees to look at the bill and any accompanying info and then talk to the representative/senator, ask, "Okay, when would be a good time to call back and follow-up? Two weeks from today?" Get a definite date and follow up with another phone call on the agreed date. 
  • If they agree to cosponsor, thank them and ask if you can give them the contact information for the office to call to add their name:
    • For Republican offices: David Rardin in Rep. Bill Johnson's (5-5705)/Karen Sumer in Sen. Chuck Grassley's office (4-3744)
    • For Democratic offices: Polly Webster in Rep. Diana Degette's office (5-4311)/Alex Graf in Sen. Debbie Stabenow's office (4-4822)
  • If they say they will not cosponsor at this time, ask if there are any outstanding issues or information you can provide for them. For some offices, we may agree to disagree on this one issue, but there will be plenty of other areas where we can work together.

Step 8. This is the most important step. Please contact APMA's legislative advocacy staff to close the loop and let us know that you made this contact with your elected officials, and the outcome of your calls.

And it's always a good plan to visit APMA's eAdvocacy website to take action on this important legislation today!

Additional Information

New Tools to Demonstrate that Podiatrists are Cost Effective

APMA's Thomson Reuters study and an independent study by Duke University are being used with members of Congress to shore up APMA's position that there is a cost savings—not a cost—when patients use the services of podiatric physicians. APMA's newest tool provides state-by-state information about the number of individuals with diabetes and costs associated with their care. You can also access an Issue Brief for Podiatric Physician Recognition Under Medicaid.

What did APMA do to include the Title XIX provision in the health reform bill? 

Get a brief overview of APMA's attempts to include an amendment to resolve this Medicaid problem through the health-care reform act enacted in 2010.

How long has APMA worked to gain Title XIX parity?

View the history of APMA's pursuit of this legislation.

Take Action Today

Visit APMA's eAdvocacy website to take action on this important legislation today!


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