skip-navigation

U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

Press Releases

Reps. Johnson, DeGette Reintroduce Bipartisan HELLPP Act

f t # e
Washington, March 16, 2017 | Ben Keeler (330.337.6951) | comments
Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, yesterday introduced the Helping Ensure Life-Saving and Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians (HELLPP) Act, in a bipartisan effort to remove patient access barriers to timely, specialty medical and surgical foot and ankle care.
share: f t

Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, yesterday introduced the Helping Ensure Life-Saving and Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians (HELLPP) Act, in a bipartisan effort to remove patient access barriers to timely, specialty medical and surgical foot and ankle care.

Podiatrists (also known as DPMs) have been defined as “physicians” under Medicare for more than 40 years. However, this is not the case in Medicaid – the definition of physicians only references part of the Medicare definition - and therefore the program only ensures coverage of necessary foot and ankle care if provided by a medical doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy. Because of this difference, coverage for foot and ankle care provided by DPMs is optional in Medicaid, and this discrepancy is having real-world consequences for health outcomes and Medicaid program finances.

“The bipartisan HELLPP Act would not only enhance patient access by recognizing DPMs as physicians under Medicaid, but it would also strengthen the program to save the federal government money. It meets the needs of patients and taxpayers,” said Rep. Bill Johnson.  “During the last session of Congress, similar legislation garnered the support of over 140 members. I am hopeful that by working with Congresswoman DeGette, we can advance this legislation across the finish line and see it signed into law.”

“This bill will help right a wrong in current law,” Rep. Diana DeGette said. “Financially strapped people on Medicaid, which includes children and the disabled, should be able to see the same specialists currently available to patients under Medicare. I am proud once again to partner with Congressman Johnson to put forth this legislation, and hope that this time the leadership of our committee can move it swiftly toward the House floor for a vote.”

The bill also strengthens coordination of care and communication among providers under the Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Program for patients with diabetes, removing the need for additional office visits, and closes a “loophole” that allows Medicaid providers who are tax-delinquent to still receive full Medicaid reimbursements.

f t # e