When the American Physical Therapy Association adopted its vision statement for the profession, we hoped our members would embrace the concept of the physical therapy profession "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience." We hoped, yes, but we have been thrilled by our members' quick and passionate response to the call for transformation.
APTA also has answered the call. We're focusing our work around transforming the association, the profession, and, in turn, society. In 2014, we've seen movement in all 3 areas, and this progress will continue in 2015 and beyond.
We are transforming the association through revamped member offerings such as The Hub, the Career Center, and PT in Motion magazine, the last of which soon will be bolstered by topical e-newsletters to keep you informed about your particular areas of interest. We'll open 2015 at a record 90,000 members – but, as our Membership Matters campaign underlined, with representation of only approximately 30% of the potential physical therapist market there is room to grow. We're determined to increase the value of the association, because membership is the keystone holding up everything we do. And APTA does big things!
We are transforming the profession through ambitious and crucial projects such as the Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry, which will allow clinicians and practices to benchmark data to improve health care delivery and achieve better outcomes, and the Integrity in Practice initiative, which led to APTA being the first nonphysician group to participate in the nationally recognized Choosing Wisely campaign.
Patient care is always the priority, but we are tireless in our advocacy for payment systems that appropriately recognize and promote the clinical judgment and expertise of the physical therapist. Last year, we once again successfully advocated to extend exceptions to the therapy cap and prevent scheduled pay cuts under the flawed sustainable growth rate formula as we work toward overall reform of the payment system.
Through those efforts and many others, slowly but surely we are transforming society. In 2014, APTA continued to reduce barriers between consumers and physical therapist services: most notably, all 50 states, Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands will as of January 1, 2015, have a level of direct access to evaluate and treat patients—a priority of the association and its state chapters for more than 35 years. And while we herald direct access across the nation, we will keep pushing to loosen restrictions still tied to it in many states.
Other achievements in transforming society aren't to be diminished, including negotiating with CMS and local contractors for improved coverage, setting limits on patient copayments, finding remedies to problems with the functional limitations reporting process, and much more. We also reached more consumers than ever before with a redesigned MoveForwardPT.com website, a "7 Myths About Physical Therapy" campaign, and national media placements in publications ranging from Reader's Digest to Forbes.
Transformation takes time and determination. Along the way, the breakthroughs are inspiring. Only weeks ago, AARP joined APTA's call for tightening restrictions on physician self-referral by eliminating the in-office ancillary services exception for physical therapy. With better data, better access, better effectiveness, better choice, and better awareness, we believe consumers will receive better care. And with better care will come a healthier world.
Thank you for your support, your membership, and your vision.