ALEXANDRIA, VA — Health care rules, regulations, practices, and traditions vary widely across the globe, which presents a significant challenge to health care professionals entering the United States for the first time. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT), and APTA's Section on Health Policy and Administration (HPA: The Catalyst) are pleased to announce the selection of the physical therapy program at Duke University to develop, run, and administer a 10 module online course on the health care delivery system in the United States for internationally educated physical therapists. The goal is to improve patient care and ensure public protection by helping foreign-educated physical therapists learn the ins and outs of the United States health care system, and to overcome hurdles resulting from cultural differences and achieve a smoother and quicker transition.
This effort is the result of a joint venture between FSBPT, APTA, FCCPT, and HPA: The Catalyst. The group joined forces just over a year ago to research the feasibility of such a program for the United States, and to develop a sample course outline aimed at educating the internationally educated physical therapist, who plans to obtain a license to practice in the United States, about the culture, context, organization, and operation of health care in America. The endeavor was led by a multi-organizational project development team comprised of representatives from each of the participating entities. A request for proposal was issued in December 2014.
"We are pleased the project has been awarded and look forward to the course being available to graduates of non-United States physical therapy programs," said Maggie Donohue, PT, president, FSBPT. "It will not only assist in their assimilation into the workforce, but will also help assure their competence in areas that aren't covered in their home education programs."
The educational module will be designed to provide guidance to foreign-educated physical therapists on various aspects of the American health care system, including the role of the federal and states' governments in the health care system, a basic understanding of Medicare and Medicaid, the role of private insurance, proper use and supervision of support personnel, ethics and integrity in practice, direct access, cultural competence, billing, and more. The module will be available to take online through Duke University, and participants will receive college credits for completing it.
"I congratulate Duke University and am looking forward to seeing the end product. And I offer many thanks to the 10 other candidates who submitted proposals," said APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS. "This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when leading groups in health care collaborate to achieve a common goal, and we are excited to get the ball rolling." Dunn went on to thank each of APTA's partnering organizations for the roles they played.
The selection committee was made up of representatives from each organization participating in the development of this project; however, none of the project development team members sat on the selection committee. Each submission was de-identified to assure freedom from bias prior to the selection committee receiving the proposals. The selection committee developed a rating scale based on the criteria listed in the original request for proposal. While there is no financial assistance or grant monies awarded to Duke, FSBPT, APTA, FCCPT, and HPA: The Catalyst will serve as consultants in the content development of the course.