APTA Honors PT Statehouse Leaders at State Policy & Payment Forum

PHILADELPHIA, PA, September 23, 2008 — Physical therapists Pauline Flesch, PT, MPS of Indianapolis, IN, Joseph Donnelly, PT, DHS, OCS of Atlanta, GA, and Glenn Brown, PT, MMSc, SCS of Dover, DE, were recognized for their work in advancing the physical therapy profession at the state level at a reception in their honor held during the 2008 American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) State Policy & Payment Forum in Philadelphia, PA, Sunday, September 21.

Flesch and Donnelly received the 2008 APTA Recognition of Legislative Commitment Award in acknowledgement of their long-term dedication to advocating physical therapy legislation at the state level and their years of work on behalf of their chapter state legislative efforts.

Physical therapist Glenn Brown, PT, MMSc, SCS of Dover, DE, received the 2008 APTA State Legislative Leadership Award for his individual leadership and advocacy efforts on behalf of physical therapy issues in Delaware.

"The relentless effort these proud physical therapists have put into advancing the profession of physical therapy in their legislatures is truly remarkable," said APTA President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "We could never ask of these individuals the dedication they have shown in providing leadership to fellow APTA members, and these awards are but a token of our appreciation. APTA thanks them deeply for all they have done on behalf of our beloved profession."

Flesch has served in many leadership roles within the Indiana Chapter, including her current position which she has held for 7 years, that of Chair of the State Legislative Affairs Committee. During her tenure she tirelessly advocated for direct access in one of only two remaining states where physical therapists are not authorized to evaluate a patient without a referral. Flesch has worked to increase awareness among state legislators about issues affecting physical therapists by building strong relationships with key legislators in both the House and Senate, and by educating chapter members through its Legislative Advocacy Day as well as by training them to be more effective advocates for the profession.

As the Legislative Committee chair for the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia (PTAG), Donnelly demonstrated a commitment to advancing the physical therapy profession in the state legislature. A long-time chapter member, Donnelly's presence at the statehouse during the legislative session, and the personal relationships he has developed with key legislators - including the Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader - were instrumental in securing passage of direct access legislation in 2006. As a physical therapist educator he is also committed to demonstrating to his students the importance of state advocacy.

Brown was instrumental in protecting and advancing the physical therapy profession during a major overhaul of Delaware's worker's compensation laws. Part of this reform included the creation of the Delaware Health Care Advisory Panel, which is charged with developing health care cost containment and efficiency measures for the Workers Compensation program. Because of Glenn's persistence and the relationships he developed with key legislators, stakeholder organizations, and other policymakers - including the Delaware Chamber of Commerce, the Medical Society of Delaware, and Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner - the statute establishing this panel mandates that it shall include as one of its members a representative nominated by the Delaware Physical Therapy Association (DPTA). DPTA nominated Glenn to serve as its first representative on the panel, and he has worked to secure fair payment policies and a reasonable and sustainable fee schedule for physical therapists in the state.

The 2008 APTA State Policy & Payment Forum is an educational program for physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students who have an interest in state legislation, politics, and advocacy. Attendees have the opportunity to hear influential public leaders, attend seminars, and participate in workshops that focus on physical therapy issues. The health policy event is designed to increase involvement and improve knowledge on issues that have an impact on the practice of physical therapy at the state level.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and manage individuals of all ages, from newborns to elders, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

APTA (www.apta.org) is a national organization representing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and research. Consumers can visit www.findapt.us to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as www.apta.org/consumer for physical therapy news and information.