Governor Cuomo’s Veto of S.2718-A Statement of Michael Mattia, President
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Posted by: Carla Rosenbaum
NYPTA's Press Release Response to WC PTA Bill
Governor Cuomo’s Veto of S.2718-A
Statement of Michael Mattia, President of the New York Physical Therapy Association
We are deeply disappointed with the Governor’s veto of legislation which would permit physical therapists assistants to participate in the workers’ compensation system consistent with the physical therapist assistants’ participation in virtually all other health care settings.
Ironically, the 2016-2017 Governor’s Executive Budget effectively contained the exact same proposal as that set forth in S.2718-A. See S.6405-A/A.9505-A, Part G, Section 1.
More so than the result, we are troubled by the fundamental misunderstanding of physical therapy care and the factually inaccurate statements contained in the veto message. Namely, the veto message maintains that “[s]ince physical therapy (sic) assistants are not licensed or regulated by any State agency, this bill would authorize treatment by a provider not subject to any State oversight.” Physical therapist assistants are certified professionals, regulated by the State Education Department, must fulfill educational and experience requirements, pass a certification examination and are subject to character review and discipline by the State Education Department. See, Education Law §§6738, 6739 and 6740. New York has 13 physical therapist assistant educational programs, the majority of which are at SUNY or CUNY colleges.
The veto message also maintains (without support) that the legislation “would drive additional costs to insurers and employers by requiring additional care providers to directly supervise physical therapy (sic) assistants.” No system compensates providers for the supervision of physical therapist assistants nor would the workers’ compensation system. In fact, the legislation represents a lost opportunity to achieve systematic savings. S.2718-A provided an opportunity to eliminate the wasteful payment practice of paying different rates to providers for the same physical therapy service consistent with a proposal set forth in a Discussion Document issued by the Workers’ Compensation Board. Differentiating payment for the same service by provider type is a long outdated payment practice and largely unique to New York’s workers’ compensation system.
The legislation offered a modest proposal to slightly modernize the delivery of health care services within the workers’ compensation system and to achieve systematic savings. It is truly troubling that the decision to veto the bill is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of physical therapy care and New York law.