HELLPP Act General Talking Points (v1)

Hello, my name is _________, a constituent and a podiatrist, and I am calling to request your office cosponsor HR 1221/S 626, The Helping Ensure Life- and Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians (HELLPP) Act.

I understand a representative of APMA recently visited you to discuss the legislation.

  • Introduced by US Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) / US Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), this common sense, bipartisan legislation would modernize and strengthen Medicaid and Medicare by:
    • Recognizing podiatrists as “physicians” under Medicaid (just as doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs) have been defined as "physicians" under Medicare for more than 40 years);
    • Clarifying and strengthening coordination of care among providers in the diagnosis, prescribing and furnishing of Therapeutic Shoes for diabetics under Medicare; and
    • Providing a pay-for mechanism by rooting out fraud and abuse by tax delinquent Medicaid providers.
  • This important legislation would put an end to longstanding discrimination and arbitrariness in the Medicaid program, and would ensure that beneficiaries have access to a full range of choices for their foot and ankle medical care needs.
  • Enacting HR 1221/S 626 will be a significant step toward providing access to quality care for beneficiaries, while lowering health-care costs. 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 recent Thomson Reuters study validates these positive contributions by podiatric physicians. A copy of this study can be accessed at www.tinyurl.com/trstudy.
  • The HELLPP Act has the support of 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.
  • The American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association do not oppose the HELLPP Act. They are neutral on this legislation.
  • 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 would reform current confusion and regulatory inconsistencies in the operation of Medicare's Therapeutic Shoe Program for persons with diabetes.
  • The legislation also contains a specific budget offset, one which would grand Medicaid the same authority as Medicare has to offset public program payments for unpaid federal taxes owed.
    • 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.
  • 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, Peter Stein, at pjstein@apma.org or (301) 581-9232.

 

I would greatly appreciate your boss signing on as a cosponsor to the bipartisan HELLPP Act (HR 1221/S 626).