Walorski’s bipartisan bill increases pain management services in underserved areas

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) on Jan. 28 introduced a bipartisan bill that would expand access to pain management treatment for patients in medically underserved areas at America’s community health centers and federally qualified health centers.

Rep. Walorski is the lead original cosponsor of the Primary Health Services Enhancement Act, H.R. 5693, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) to specifically make physical therapy services accessible at community health centers, which provide primary health services to more than 28 million people in more than 11,000 rural and urban communities nationwide.

“Physical therapy has proven to be a critical tool for patients to manage chronic pain and recover from injury, and it plays a major role in non-opioid alternative treatment plans,” Rep. Walorski said. “But far too often patients in rural and underserved communities face unnecessary barriers that prevent them from getting the treatment they need from community health centers.”

If enacted, H.R. 5693 would “give Hoosiers an affordable and convenient option to improve their quality of life and find innovative ways to treat pain,” added Rep. Walorski, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rep. Kind pointed out that community health centers provide local communities with access to essential health services that are located nearby, such as care from physicians, nurses and dentists and emergency medical help.

“They should be able to receive physical therapy without having to jump through extra hoops,” he said, adding that H.R. 5693 would “eliminate barriers and restrictions for services provided by physical therapists and create greater access to pain management alternatives.”

The bill, which is supported by the National Association of Community Health Centers and the American Physical Therapy Association, has been referred to both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.