FOTA Hill Day: January 22, 2019

FOTA Hill Day in Tallahassee, FL,  January 22 at the Capitol Building, 2nd Floor Rotunda at 8am. We were joined by our lobbying firm, Corcoran & Johnston (C&J), to establish a presence with legislators in the rotunda, promote an awareness OT on the hill, as well as engage in sit-down meetings individually with specifically selected legislators at their offices as arranged C&J. Our objective was to raise awareness of the distinct value of OT in serving Floridians, and addressing specific issues of access to care, protection and promotion of OT practice across our state. We hope many OTs join us for Hill Day in the years to come. Part of your membership dues go to ensure that FOTA as skilled advisement from our lobbying firm on strategies to promote and protect OT in Florida.  FOTA relies on membership support to advocate successfully. More members are needed to increase our ability to influence change.
Thanks to OT Students from FAMU and OTA Students from Keiser U provided a positive presence and enthusiastic representation for the future of Occupational Therapy in Florida. Students and faculty attended some meeting with legislators, toured the House and Senate Chambers, and mingled with the leaders coming and going in the Rotunda. A student poster presenting research on the important issue pain management through OT was presented near our FOTA tables. Informational Brochures were available for all passers by.
 

The FOTA Governmental Affairs Co-Chairs, President, our Lobby Firm--Corcoran & Johnston, and Members had 16 different legislators and their staff over the course of a full-day schedule. We discussed issues important to the practice of OT and the service to our clients over several talking points including the Opioid Crisis, Pain Management, Mental Health in Schools, Medicaid, and Telehealth Practice. Our meeting included leaders on important health policy, and human services committees. We thank them for a receptive discussion about OT in FL. I have included some pics of my hand-held schedule and talking points from the day of meetings.

Hill Day Schedule  of Legislator Office Visits PDF

Hill Day Talking Points PDF

 A huge thanks to Anita Berry, our Lobbyist for Corcoran and Johnston, for providing great guidance and insight on legislation being filed for this coming session, and to our fearless FOTA Governmental Affairs Co-Chairs, Sharon Rosenberg and Kelly Uanino for leading the charge in framing the relevance and awareness of OT issues in FL. As President of FOTA, I was impressed with the number of connections and discussions we were able to have on Hill Day 2019. It was an effective and productive day of advocacy during our day-long schedule of office meetings with over 16 legislators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to our OT Clinicians and Faculty who attend office meetings with legislators, and for our discussions on building a better organization through increased membership, communication, messaging, and developing more value for members in OT. Of course, the number one value of OT membership is our advocacy efforts through the Governmental Affairs Committee and investment in lobbying consultation through event such as Hill Day. Keep in mind our Advocacy efforts are a year-round process and we would love more help and individuals with knowledge on the issues to help us out. 

Part of your membership dues go to ensure that FOTA as skilled advisement from our lobbying firm on strategies to promote and protect OT in Florida.  FOTA relies on membership support to advocate successfully. More members are needed to increase our ability to influence change.

 

Hilldaylogo2019

The 60-day Legislative Session will convene on March 5, 2019, with interim committee weeks being held in December, January and February. 

 

The following is a brief overview of work done since the last legislative session and legislative priorities we expect to work on throughout the upcoming session.

State Health Plan Coverage

Following the 2017 addition of occupational therapy as a covered benefit under the state employee health plan we will work again to protect the language within the budget so the benefit remains.

 

Opioid Abuse Epidemic

We have begun discussions with a coalition of other health care providers, including massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and physical therapists, on legislation to promote alternative treatment options for pain management.

 

Medicaid Reimbursement

In March 2018, we arranged a meeting with Medicaid leadership at the Agency for Health Care 

Administration (AHCA) to discuss reimbursement challenges for occupational therapists. Since then, we have had ongoing conversations around CPT codes and access to occupational therapy. We will be continuing this work to better ensure adequate reimbursement levels. We also arranged a meeting directly with leadership of the Florida Association of Health Plans to help improve communication between providers and health plans.

 

In addition, we have been in communication with the Department of Health regarding the CMS transition to managed care. In September 2018, DOH awarded the CMS contract to Wellcare Staywell. The contract award has been contested by South Florida Community Care Network. Patients were intended to transition on January 1, 2018, but that process has been delayed until the contract contest is resolved. We have relayed the concerns of occupational therapy providers regarding the lack of communication throughout the transition and have been informed that additional information will be provided to patients and providers once the contest is resolved. We will be following up with DOH to arrange a direct conversation between FOTA and CMS regarding access to occupational therapy services.

 

Mental Health in Schools

Last Session, significant legislation addressing mental health access in schools was passed in response to the Parkland shooting. We have had ongoing conversations in regards to how occupational therapists can assist in providing mental health services in schools. Legislative leadership has not yet determined if they will re-visit the issue in the 2019 session, however we seek to be prepared to weigh-in on the issue if legislation is filed.

 

Telemedicine

We anticipate the legislature will again attempt legislation addressing the practice of telemedicine in Florida. We will work to ensure whatever legislation is introduced and potentially passed, includes occupational therapy as a health care practice that can be delivered through telemedicine.

 

If you are planning on attending, please register: register for Hill Day   - Click image to download Flyer
There is no fee to registration.

Purchase I'm for OT Shirt


Where: Capital Building -  meet on the 2rd Floor Rotunda

Time:   8am-5pm

 Parking:   http://www.dms.myflorida.com/content/download/79078/458713/DMS_DOWNTOWN_MAP_113015.pdf

 Information:          
 http://visitfloridacapitol.com/docs/guides/Visitors_Guide.pdf

Additional Information

  • Plan to wear Red shirt with Black pants, preferably
    Im for OT” t-shirt.
  • Wear comfortable shoes there will be A LOT of walking and standing
  • “Talking Points” handout to be provided by our Lobbying team with key points EVERYONE needs to able to speak to
  • STUDY UP: Go to AOTA’s website and learn about the role of OT in Telehealth and the Opioid Crisis
  • Bring money for parking including change for on street parking
  • Lunch will be on your own and provide a break for everyone (see map below for list of places to eat close to Capital)

https://www.tripadvisor.com/RestaurantsNear-g34675-d531881-New_Capitol_Building-Tallahassee_Florida.html#MAPVIEW

Contact the FOTA Gov Affairs team at [email protected]

Sharon Rosenberg, OTRL
Kelly Uanino, OTRL, CLT


 

 


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