TRICARE Update for 2019

November 19, 2018
Rick Gawenda

On December 12, 2017, President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. One important piece of legislation included in the NDAA directs the Department of Defense (DOD) to add physical therapist assistants (PTAs) and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) to the TRICARE program as an eligible provider of therapy services. So, does this mean in 2019 that PTAs and OTAs can now treat TRICARE beneficiaries and have their services billed to and paid by the TRICARE program?

Even though the NDAA is now law, the DOD must now make the change to add PTAs and OTAs as eligible providers of therapy services. The DOD must also establish, in regulations, requirements for the supervision of PTAs and OTAs. So, when do we expect this change to occur

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  1. Really?! It takes 2 1/2 years from the time the legislation is signed into law until the final rule comes out? How long after the final rule comes out until PTAs/OTAs can actually treat Tricare patients??

  2. Has anyone had success with requesting additional services by an assistant? I’ve seen the form or ‘waiver’ that can be submitted but wanted to know if there has been any success getting paid?