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  • APTA Staff Structure Realignment: Impact on Members and the Profession

    On October 7 APTA announced a new staff structure that will take effect on January 1, 2012.  The new structure is designed to ensure APTA is properly aligned to achieve its goals by providing for more efficiency, enhancing role clarity, building more trust across the association, and making the association more effective.

    So what will the impact of these changes be on APTA members? APTA needs to improve every day so that we continue to be a great organization. So the goals of the staff structure reforms are to:

    • Provide better support for best practice so that best practice is driving advocacy and policy. This will increase our effectiveness as we represent the interests of APTA members and the physical therapy profession in Washington, in state capitols and with other health care policy makers in the United States.
    • Provide better products for APTA members, including member education, insurance programs and job bank information.  We want to provide the best member services possible.
    • Provide better service to APTA components by providing the best professional services possible for our component management clients.  This will help components as they advocate for their members and provide the best services for their members.

    During the deliberations on the staff structure reforms the following criteria were used to guide decisions:

    • Would a change provide for more efficiency (reduce duplication/redundancies)?
    • Would a change provide role clarity for APTA’s units, departments and individual staff?
    • Would a change help to better address staff performance?
    • Would a change enhance trust across the association?
    • Would a change provide for more effectiveness?

    How will the new staff structure meet these goals? Examples include:

    • The newly titled Governance and Administration Unit (previously the Executive Unit) now will include the Component Services Department. This will bring together two areas that deal with governance, one at the national level and the other at the component level. Synergies and efficiencies should be realized by bringing together the programs on leadership, Board-staff development and better governance, which will lead to more effectiveness in these programs for these governance areas.
    • The newly titled Finance and Business Unit now will include the Association Management Services (AMS) Department, previously the Component Management Services Department. Conducting this work in this unit recognizes the role we play in serving our clients in AMS. The components are 501(c)(6) organizations with a unique connection to APTA, both through their bylaws and through the relationships we have between APTA national and the components.  Through AMS, APTA needs to provide the best services possible to our component clients at the best price possible.
    • Also under the Finance and Business Unit is a new department called the Business Development Department. This department will include the insurance programs, Strategic Business Partners Program, ad sales, job bank coordination, outsourced products, and other potential business development opportunities for APTA.  Bringing these areas together in the Finance and Business Unit will help to bring better focus to these non-dues revenue generating areas.
    • The Member Relations Unit now will include the Professional Development Department.  The provision of education for our members is member-focused, thus the move to the Member Relations Unit. The goals of this area are: (1) to fully implement the Board decisions on the recommendations from the Task Force on Member Education and Meetings, including the closer relationship with our components in the provision of education; (2) to ensure that all education being provided by the association is coordinated through this department; and (3) to provide the highest quality education to as many member and non-members as possible.
    • We will be creating a new Public Policy and Professional Affairs Unit that will include advocacy, payment, practice, and research. The goal of bringing these critical areas together into one unit is to allow staff to collaborate more efficiently in these areas and provide better role clarity for the departments and staff in these areas. This will lead to a more effective ability to meet the challenging goals we have established for the policy, payment, practice, and research issues facing the physical therapy profession. This also will help to ensure that best practice is the driving force behind our policy development and advocacy.
    • In the Communications Unit, the Information Resources Department will move to this unit. Information resources works closely with the communications area and this move will help to further focus the work of this area toward serving member and staff needs.

    An association should comprehensively review its staff structure on a regular basis to ensure that the association is properly aligned to achieve its goals.  It has been four years since APTA’s staff structure was comprehensively reviewed.  While a staff structure review may not always lead to realignment, in this case we believed it is necessary due to significant changes in our association, the profession and in the external world. 

    These staff structure changes are not due to cost-cutting pressures that other health care businesses and associations are experiencing.  APTA continues to thrive, with continued growth in revenues, increasing membership numbers and increased attendance at our meetings.  We are actively addressing the issues of importance to the profession.  The staff structure changes are intended to make APTA a more efficient and effective organization so that we can continue to prosper well into the future.

    If you have any questions about the new staff structure reforms at APTA, please contact John Barnes, Chief Executive Officer at APTA, at johnbarnes@apta.org.


    • PTs are problem-solvers. We always want to know "what's the problem that needs attention?". On Oct 7 we were told of a solution, i.e., staff restructuring at our national association, but we were unaware of the problem being fixed. This explanation helps our understanding of why there was a need to change. Thank you. Jeannie Cushman, PT, Chief Delegate, Vermont

      Posted by Jeannie Cushman, PT, MS on 10/29/2011 4:56 PM

    • Just wondering what unit will now be in charge of the branding of PT and promotion of physical therapy to the broader community? Thanks Amy Hammerich, PT, DPT President, Colorado Chapter APTA

      Posted by Amy Hammerich on 10/29/2011 5:31 PM

    • I still have many questions about this change. Why now? What involvement did the board have in this change? What financial implications will it have? Why did it take 3 weeks for an explanation when it should have been immediate? Why move people who have expertise to other areas? Are you setting them up for failure? How will this improve the efficiency you mentioned? Was the governance review delay because of this move? With respect, this smells of a power move and resembles little more that rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

      Posted by Sam Brown, Pt, DPT, CSCS on 10/30/2011 1:37 PM

    • Please provide information on whether the total number of jobs at APTA are being reduced because of this. If jobs are lost, please provide a breakdown of how many are lost in each division affecting us as members.

      Posted by Paul Brager on 10/31/2011 6:07 PM

    • Questions about the staff structure can be e-mailed to CEO John Barnes at the address provided in the article.

      Posted by News Now Staff on 11/2/2011 12:03 PM

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