The New York Physical Therapy Association held their annual lobby day in Albany. Advocates called on state legislators to end high co-pays.
Rochester physical therapists, students and patients took part in the state-wide event.
On Tuesday, more than 100 people from the Rochester area joined other New Yorkers to rally support for the Fair Co-pay Bill. The group left from Victor in the morning.
"We are hoping to bring awareness to the folks in Albany who perhaps are not aware of the impact that this kind of payment burden is having on their constituents," said Jennifer Collins, Vice President of NYPTA.
In recent years, a majority of health insurance companies have put physical therapists in the "specialist" category. Professions such as cardiologists and neurologists also fall under the same umbrella, but advocates for the Fair Co-pay Bill say physical therapy does not belong there.
"If you have an active problem and you have to see one of those people, you might see them a couple times a year, maybe once a month, and the bill might be 300 to 500 dollars, so to make a 40 dollar co-pay on a 500 dollar service, it may still be a lot of money, but it's not unfair. For us, you may be seeing us two or three times a week depending on the condition," said Patrick Privatera, President of Physical Therapy Alliance of Upstate New York.
Advocates want the lower primary care visit co-pay that they once had. Jennifer Collins says Tuesday's goal is to bring the co-pay in line with what patients can afford.
"To help a patient learn and care for themselves and be healthy in the future, that takes more than one or two visits," said Collins.
Patrick Privatera says Rochester is at the center of this debate. Right now, The Fair Co-pay bill is in the Assembly Insurance Committee.
"Assemblyman Joe Morelle from Irondequoit is actually the chair of that committee so we are hoping, in particular, to gain Mr. Morelle's support for this and ask him to move this bill out of his committee where it can be considered and voted on by the rest of the assembly," said Privatera.
Nazareth College required their entire physical therapy senior class to go on Tuesday's trip to Albany.