Earlier this month, there was big news for stroke patients on Medicare. On April 1st, President Obama signed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act. Included in the law is a provision that extends the Medicare therapy caps exceptions process for the next 12 months. This means for the next year, stroke survivors on Medicare can rest assured that they will have access to the crucial rehabilitation needed to help in their recovery. Now decisions around therapy won’t be hampered by an arbitrary cap or coverage limits.
Even though this was a victory for stroke patients on Medicare, it is disappointing that these therapy caps were not permanently repealed and that stroke survivors might find their crucial therapy in jeopardy again a year from now.
Congress' failure to repeal the therapy caps shows how important it is that the voices of stroke survivors be heard on Capitol Hill. Luckily, with May being American Stroke Month, this is the perfect time to speak up in support of stroke patients. During those 31 days, we will be promoting awareness about stroke among lawmakers and how together we can make it preventable, treatable, and beatable.
However, you do not have to wait until then to get your legislators involved!
Your representative in Congress can participate in three simple ways to highlight the importance of American Stroke Month. They include:
Attend the American Stroke Association / National Stroke Association Congressional briefing on May 14th, which will highlight the issues and challenges facing stroke caregivers.
Speak on the floor of the House or Senate about the importance of American Stroke Month or highlight the month in a newsletter.
- Join the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition. The Coalition, which is made up of more than 125 Members of the House and Senate, works to raise awareness of the seriousness of cardiovascular diseases and acts as a resource center on heart and stroke issues.
May is the month to focus our legislators on stroke awareness. Urge your legislator to participate in American Stroke Month today!