Holly Clynch PT, DPT, GCS (Eden Prairie, MN)
I'm an APTA member because if I don't support my profession, who will?
In this era of health care reform, there are so many providers fighting to be included as recipients of the same pool of money. APTA represents me and my interests in the places where all those arguments and decisions are being made: in Congress, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), or with other third-party payers. From issues ranging from inclusion of student services, to the Medicare cap, or to the physician fee schedule, APTA is there, representing physical therapists and physical therapist assistants from all settings.
What other organization is going to do that for us?
It is also important for us to remember that many other health care providers claim to do what we do in physical therapy, and the general public often doesn't understand the difference.
We need to continue our efforts to educate the public, other providers, and regulatory agencies as to exactly what we do and why it's important for those services to be delivered by or under the supervision of a physical therapist.
APTA is there to help us deliver that message. Without a strong voice and consistent message from our profession, other providers are going to use their power to get patients to come to them instead. APTA gives us the tools to empower patients to demand that their providers and payers use our skills!
All PTs and PTAs benefit from APTA, whether they recognize it or not.
In fact, not being able to recognize it might just be the biggest sign that APTA is doing its work very well. Without APTA, we'd be facing even bigger challenges related to payment and scope of practice. Without APTA, we wouldn't have access to the same level of new evidence and continuing education that we currently have. In short, we would be disadvantaged, and we wouldn't be as capable of delivering the quality services that we do today.
The APTA's new vision statement states that we will be known for "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience." Right now, APTA is doing all of its amazing work without even having a majority of PTs and PTAs participating in membership.
If more PTs and PTAs become members, who knows how much more powerful we could become, and how much more we could do to transform society? Just think of what APTA could accomplish if more PTs and PTAs became members!
It's not just the responsibility of a few. Each of us owes it to our patients, our colleagues, and ourselves to make APTA as strong as it can be!
Holly Clynch PT, DPT, GCS, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is associate professor and director of clinical education at St Catherine University's PTA program.
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