Capitol Hill Day 2016
#OTHillDay was a success for occupational therapists and allied therapists alike. Organized by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Capitol Hill day brought together over 630 occupational therapy clinicians, educators, students, and certified hand therapists from 38 states across the U.S. They all came together with our government’s representatives and senators to discuss critical legislative issues that impact allied therapists and the patients they serve.
To ensure that Advanced Travel Therapy played its part in protecting accessibility to these essential services, we sent our very own Clinical Director, Melissa Jones, MS, CCC-SLP, to advocate for the state of healthcare in our country. If you were wondering whether you just read SLP correctly… Yes, yes you did. Melissa was the only SLP in attendance and we are very proud of her for it. She believes that repealing the therapy cap and advocating for accessibility is an important responsibility for everyone involved in the therapy world and stakeholders should take any and every opportunity to back the cause.
Q&A with the Caring Constituent, Melissa Jones
Why is Capitol Hill Day so important?
OT, PT, and SLP practitioners can truly improve the quality of lives of their patients. We help people live meaningful, safe lives while making them as independent as possible. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) said, “Unnecessary barriers to home therapy services increase cost and leave seniors at risk… We need to make care accessible for those who need it.” I completely agree with him.
Who did you get to meet?
I met with Health Legislative Aide to Senator Cory Gardner, Alison Toal. We discussed issues relevant to OT and all other therapy disciplines. We discussed enhancing the visibility of rehabilitation research, access to rehab services, Medicare home health, and repealing the therapy cap in general. I felt heard and it was a rewarding opportunity.
What was your favorite part of your experience?
I gained such a deep appreciation for the American process. It was so cool to meet with legislators and talk to them about the issues important to us as constituents. I was proud to be an SLP and an American surrounded by the building blocks and monuments of our country. It was amazing.
Did you get to have any fun?
We all celebrated the end of the amazing day of advocacy at Tortilla Coast!