Statement by APTA President on Comparative Effectiveness Research Recommendations

July 2, 2009

On Tuesday, June 30, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research released their recommendations on comparative effectiveness research priorities that should be funded by the $1.1 billion made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). I am pleased to report that many of the priorities outlined by IOM and the council include research that will draw conclusions about physical therapy intervention as compared with pharmaceutical and medical management.

The IOM has recommended that comparative effectiveness research evaluate the effectiveness of prevention methods (exercise and balance) vs clinical treatments for falls risk; treatment strategies for low back pain; school based interventions, including physical education, on childhood obesity; long term effectiveness of weight bearing exercise and bisphosphonates on osteoporosis; treatment strategies, including physical therapy, on cervical disc and neck pain; and various quality improvement strategies on rehabilitation services for diverse populations. The council's report cites the need for studies to "investigate the comparative effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions to restore or maintain functioning or minimize its loss," including physical therapy interventions.

APTA is carefully reviewing the reports and will provide members in the coming days with a detailed summary of the recommendations. We expect to find that APTA's priorities, which were outlined to the council in April, have been considered in the council's report to Congress.

As we stated to the council earlier this year, "Comparative effectiveness research will contribute to a high quality health care delivery system and improve the health of the nation." It is our hope that the funds provided in ARRA will go toward research that results in optimal care to those patients we serve.

APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD 

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