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Court Nixes Medicare Suit Over Physical Therapy

BOSTON (CN) - The 1st Circuit held that a group of medical doctors and patients must exhaust their administrative review options before suing the Secretary of Health and Human Services in federal court over a 2004 regulation restricting Medicare reimbursement for physical therapy services.

Under the challenged regulation, the government will only reimburse physical therapy providers who meet certain educational and training requirements. As a result, doctors can no longer bill Medicare for physical therapy services provided by, for example, athletic trainers who lack the proper training in physical therapy.

In dismissing the suit, the court agreed with the agency that "any challenge to the regulation must be channeled through a multi-step administrative review process before a federal court may pass on it."

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