American Therapeutic Recreation Association

Policy & Legislation

Legislative Counsel


Peter W. Thomas, J.D., ATRA Counsel
(1994 –Present)

1501 M Street, NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC  20005
Telephone: 202.466.6550
Direct: 202.872.6730
Fax: 202.785.1756

Peter W. Thomas, J.D., serves as ATRA's Counsel in Washington, D.C. primarily focusing on legislative and regulatory matters at the Federal level. Mr. Thomas works in coordination with ATRA's leadership to protect and promote recreational therapy services. His substantive expertise pertinent to ATRA’s policy priorities includes: outpatient therapy, durable medical equipment, and post-acute care; habilitation services from a provider and consumer perspective; trauma services and recovery from a patient/family perspective; the Affordable Care Act implementation of private market reforms and Medicaid expansion; chronic illness and alternative payment models; and, disability and rehabilitation research policy and funding from a coalition perspective.

Mr. Thomas is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the New York State Bar. He is a Principal at Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that specializes in health care, disability, education, and the law of tax-exempt organizations (


  • Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor (J.D.) (1989)
  • Boston College, College of Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) cum laude, (1986)
    Major: Political Science; Minor: History            

Non-Profit Board Participation

  • American Trauma Society Board of Directors (2009 to present); Chair, Trauma Survivors Network (TSN) Committee (2012 to present)
  • Viscardi Center Board of Directors (2013 to present)
  • Center for International Rehabilitation ("CIR") / Physicians Against Land Mines Board of Directors (2003 to present)
  • Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Board of Directors (2002-2005)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities ("CARF") Board of Trustees (2002-2004)


Coalition Leadership

  • CCD Health Task Force, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (“CCD”) Co-Chair (1993 to present):  CCD is a national coalition comprised of over 120 national disability organizations interested in public policy from a disability perspective (
  • Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (“DRRC”), formerly the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) Coalition, Lead Coordinator of Coalition (2007 to present):  DRRC is a 30-member coalition of national organizations representing professionals, researchers, health care providers, and consumers that seeks to maximize disability and rehabilitation research across the federal agencies
  • Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (“ITEM”) Coalition, Lead Coordinator of Coalition and Coalition’s Steering Committee (2003 to present):  ITEM Coalition has nearly seventy national organizations as members.  ITEM seeks to enhance access to assistive devices and technologies for people with injuries, illnesses and disabilities of all ages (
  • Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation (“CPR”) Coalition, Lead Coordinator of Coalition (2007 to present):  Comprised of 30 national organizations, CPR seeks to preserve patient access to rehabilitation therapies and services in the inpatient rehabilitation hospital and outpatient settings, particularly under the Medicare and Medicaid programs (
  • Habilitation Benefits Coalition (“HAB Coalition”), Co-Lead Coordinator of the Coalition (2011 to present):  HAB Coalition has over 30 national organizations as members and has focused on advocacy for broad, appropriate coverage of habilitation services and devices in private insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (
  • Orthotic and Prosthetic (“O&P”) Alliance, Lead Coordinator (2006 to present):  O&P Alliance is a coalition of the five major O&P professional organizations representing the field in Washington, DC.  The Alliance seeks to improve public policies and promote access to quality orthotic and prosthetic care for the benefit of patients and the providers who serve them (

Grant Involvement

  • Investigator; “A Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Optimal Patient-Centered Care for U.S. Trauma Care Systems,” funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI);  (2013-2016); As part of the research team, my role is to provide counsel on methods to maximize patient and family engagement in the context of the research project.