Sometimes, you have to look inside to make change happen outside. Sometimes, you need to focus on what's outside to strengthen what's within. And sometimes, you hit that sweet spot and get to do all of the above. Just ask members of the 2014 APTA House of Delegates.
This year's APTA House of Delegates (House) marked the association's first year of operating under a new vision by looking both inward and outward, clearing a path for greater inclusiveness inside the organization while it worked to grow the reach of the profession in society. In almost every case, the House steered the profession toward its vision of "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience."
Although the House addressed a diverse range of issues in its deliberations on more than 20 motions, some common themes emerged over the 3-day event held June 9–11, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The session preceded the NEXT Conference and Exposition held in the same venue.
The House approved a broad range of outward-facing positions and initiatives that included advocating for physical therapists (PTs) as an "entry point" to health care, asserting the viability of telehealth in physical therapy, creating a set of tools to help PTs negotiate productivity standards, and supporting efforts to include PTs in the list of health care providers qualified to make determinations on qualifying for disability signs, license plates, and paratransit services. Overall, the message delivered was that PTs deserve a place at the table among the health care professionals who have the most direct impact on the public.
That general approach was reinforced by the House’s support of positions related to PT and physical therapist assistant (PTA) education, and the professional and regulatory status of PTs. Directives in these areas included motions that focused on "promoting excellence in physical therapist education," working to identify best practices in clinical education, and facilitating the transition toward a single common regulatory designation for PTs, the DPT.
The House also looked at ways the association's own governance could enrich the profession by strengthening the role of stakeholders. In separate motions, the House directed the association to increase the value of membership for PTAs, to foster greater association participation among PTs and PTAs in the first 5 years of their careers, and to allow recent graduates to continue to participate in HOD activities through the Student Assembly. In each approved motion, the intent was clear: to move the APTA vision forward, the association will need to gather strength from all corners of the profession.
More detailed reports on the activities of the APTA House of Delegates will be shared in PT in Motion News stories in the coming weeks.