Government Affairs Committee

June 2019
from the Oregon Patient Safety Commission

We Want Your Input

At the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, we are in the process of gathering input from key stakeholders related to Oregon’s Early Discussion and Resolution (EDR) process. EDR is a voluntary process for open conversation between care facilities, providers and their patients following serious injury or death. Physical therapists are among the providers covered by the EDR law. You can read more about EDR on our website.

How We Plan to Use the Input We Receive

Later this year, we will be sharing the input we receive with the Task Force on Resolution of Adverse Healthcare Incidents. The input will inform any recommendations that the Task Force chooses to make to the legislature about Oregon’s EDR process. All input will be anonymous and confidential.

Three Ways You Can Participate

Your perspective is important to us, and no experience with EDR is required.
  • Take our survey
  • Join a group interview: Learn more here
  • Suggest great candidates for key informant interviews by emailing Beth Kaye 

May 2019

The OPTA continues to work with our coalition partners to push SB 139 forward. We have had productive meetings with representatives from the public and private payer community, and are optimistic that the Governor will eventually sign the bill. Currently, SB 139 has been referred to the Ways and Means committee due to the fiscal impact claimed by OEBB and PEBB, but we hope that impact will be revised downward based on agreed upon amendments. The Ways and Means committee is expected to begin working through bills after receipt of the May revenue forecast for the next biennium. At that point, we hope to see progress on our efforts to improve the transparency, fairness and efficiency of the prior authorization process.

In the meantime, the Oregon Health Authority has noted the efforts and already taken steps to reduce the impact of prior authorization on access for patients enrolled in fee-for-service Oregon Health Plan options. Beginning June 1, OHA is eliminating prior authorization for therapy services. This pilot will be reviewed in November.

Changes to fee-for-service authorization of therapy services, effective June 1, 2019:

  • Providers will no longer have to request prior authorization of therapy services. Instead, they will submit documentation for the current plan of care with the initial claim. If any documentation is missing, OHA will ask providers to submit it to complete the review.
  • Based on this review, OHA will deny or approve payment of claims billed for the current plan of care.

February 2019

With the recent start of the 2019 full legislative session, the OPTA’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) is actively supporting and monitoring bills that affect (or may potentially affect) PT in Oregon. Approximately 700 bills were pre-session filed with an anticipated 1200 to 1500 to be introduced during the session. Needless to say, it is important that our lobbyist and GAC members monitor the content of these bills to ensure the protection of our practice (and our patients’ access to care) in Oregon.

Two bills in particular have garnered our active support: House Bill 2092 and Senate Bill 139. HB 2092 was pre-session filed at the request of Governor Kate Brown for the Physical Therapist Licensing Board and renames the Board the “Oregon Board of Physical Therapy.” The OPTA actively supports this bill. As of Jan 31, 2019, this bill has had three readings and received nearly unanimous support of the House. It is scheduled for a reading on the Senate floor on Feb 5, 2019.

The other bill being actively supported is SB 139. This bill, actively supported by the OPTA, was pre-session filed and aims to address some of the concerns expressed by physical therapists and other professions regarding utilization management. The OPTA is part of a coalition of healthcare professions being adversely impact by rules and regulations involved in utilization management and helped develop the bill language; the coalition bill is scheduled for a hearing on Feb 6, 2019. Read here for Utilization Management updates. There are also several other bills dealing with prior authorization that we are tracking.

Although campaign contributions cannot be made during the legislative session, your Oregon PT-PAC donation helps our voice be heard by our elected state officials. SB 139 is anticipated to be a hard-fought legislative battle and the OPT-PAC has contributed a large amount of funds to help educate legislators regarding our perspective. Please donate to the OPT-PAC today and help our efforts to minimize delays or interruptions to patient care!


Government Affairs Committee meets monthly to discuss federal and state policy initiatives which impact physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and our patients. Develops advocacy strategies to work with regulators, policy makers, and legislators on behalf of our members and their patients. Looking for committee members who are: Committed, interested in policy and payment issues, interested in learning about government processes
Contact: Chris Murphy, Chair  [email protected]