HELLPP Act General Talking Points (v2)

I'm [Your Name], a constituent and a podiatrist, and am contacting you to urge your cosponsorship of the bipartisan HELLPP Act (HR 1221 / S 626), to remove patient access barriers to podiatric physicians and surgeons and reduce health care costs in both the Medicaid and Medicare programs.

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

  • This legislation is so important because under current law, even though foot and ankle care are covered benefits, Medicaid patient access to podiatrists’ cost-effective specialty care can be denied by states because doctors of podiatric medicine are considered optional providers. The HELLPP Act would recognize doctors of podiatric medicine as “physicians” under Medicaid (just as they have been under Medicare for more than 40 years) and thus ensure patient access.
  • Numerous studies conclude that when podiatrists are delivering foot and ankle care, patient outcomes are better, hospitalizations are fewer and shorter, and the health system saves billions of dollars annually. DPMs are on the front line everyday identifying patients at risk for a variety of conditions, including but not limited to diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, and arthritis, as well as treating and preventing complications from these conditions.
  • So long as current law’s focus is on the type of provider rendering foot and ankle care, instead of ensuring the coverage of medically necessary foot and ankle care, preventable chronic conditions will become an even greater cost burden for Medicaid.
  • The HELLPP Act would also clarify provider documentation requirements under Medicare’s diabetic shoe program. This is necessary because there is currently provider confusion and regulatory inconsistencies in the way diabetic shoes are prescribed, fitted and furnished to Medicare patients.
  • And the bill also has its own fiscally responsible budget-offset, which would strengthen Medicaid program integrity by offsetting government reimbursements for any unpaid federal taxes owed by health providers with prolonged federal tax delinquency issues.
  • The HELLPP Act is endorsed by a wide array of provider and patient advocacy groups, such as the American Public Health Association, the Association for the Advancement of Woundcare, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the California Medical Association, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, and the Society for Vascular Surgery.
  • I urge your office to cosponsor the HELLPP Act (HR 1221 / S 626) to enhance patient access to podiatric physicians and surgeons and reduce health care costs.
  • 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.