To study the isolated effect of physical therapy on total joint arthroplasty hospital length of stay (LOS), researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted a prospective cohort study on 136 patients with primary total joint arthroplasties (58 hips, 78 knees). LOS was determined by the operative start time until the time of discharge. On postoperative day (POD) 0, 60 patients remained in bed, 51 moved to a chair, and 25 received physical therapy (22 ambulated, 3 moved to a chair). LOS differed for patients receiving physical therapy on POD 0 (2.8 ± 0.8 days) compared with POD 1 (3.7 ± 1.8 days). There was no difference in physical therapy treatment based on nausea/vomiting, pain levels, or discharge location. Isolated physical therapy intervention on POD 0 shortened hospital LOS, regardless of the intervention performed.
This article was published online March 2 in The Journal of Arthroplasty.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded UnitedHealth, the nation’s biggest health insurer by revenue, its western military health contract valued at as much as $20.5 billion, says an article by Bloomberg. TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp has held the contract since 2003.
UnitedHealth had $102 billion in revenue last year. In June 2011 it lost a separate challenge for a $23.5 billion contract for the south region, covered by Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana Inc.
"It's a huge strategic win for them because they're not in the military space," said Ana Gupte, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co in New York. "It just extends the reach of United into every part of health benefits in the United States."
TriWest, Humana, and HealthNet Inc currently are the main managed care providers for Tricare, the military's health care program. The DoD contract replacing TriWest with UnitedHealth is effective April 1, 2013. The loss of the new contract essentially would erase much of TriWest's revenue stream, says Bloomberg.
The award comes after TriWest agreed to pay a $10 million fine in September to settle a federal whistleblower lawsuit. The suit, filed in US District Court in San Francisco by 4 former employees, accused the company of submitting claims to the government without including discounts negotiated with service providers.
Registration is open for the 2012 Transforming Fall Management Practices Conference, to be held May 23‐24 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:
Poster presentations for the meeting will be accepted until April 2. Abstracts should be 250 words or less and provide a brief, clear summary of the research/project/program. Content should include timely and relevant topics related to all aspects of patient safety (falls, wandering, and bed safety). Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by April 15. Submission information can be found on the Department of Veterans Affairs Web page.
APTA is a cosponsor of the conference.
The Foundation for Physical Therapy is seeking individuals to serve on its Scientific Review Committee (SRC). Qualified physical therapist researchers will review doctoral, fellowship, and research grant applications received by the Foundation. To be considered, individuals must meet the criteria for SRC membership, posted on the Foundation's Web site. Self-nominations are welcome. E-mail your recommendations to email@example.com.
APTA's Section on Research hosted a fly-in March 19-20 in Washington, DC, to advocate on behalf of rehabilitation research and for increased funding for programs within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Eleven researchers from 9 states met with staff of the Senate and House appropriations committees and their individual members of Congress. The researchers asked for funding increases for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which is the housing institute for the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). In addition, they requested report language on the benefits of prioritizing rehabilitation research in the translational science research agenda. The researchers received positive feedback from committee members and individual members of Congress on the benefits of funding NIH programs.
In order to enhance the development of physical therapy-specific content for APTAs official consumer Web site, MoveForwardPT.com, APTA is seeking volunteers to participate in its new editorial board.
Members of the MoveForwardPT.com editorial board will help write, edit, and review content, such as the detailed symptoms and conditions guides, according to their area of expertise, and/or will help to facilitate content development and review with other physical therapist experts in the field.
APTA is seeking applications for initial 2-year terms. Applicants must be APTA members with a PhD, DPT, or equivalent, a strong clinical background, proven writing skills, and a keen interest in developing evidence-based, consumer-friendly content.
If interested, review the full position descriptions for editorial board members and/or the editorial board chair (position also available), and send a curriculum vitae, letter of intent, and appropriate writing samples to Katie Kissal, consumer portal specialist.
The application deadline is April 20.
The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) will hold its World Congress of Manual/Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy September 30-October 5 in Quebec City, Canada. Although the conference is geared toward the needs of manual physical therapists, the material that will be covered will be of interest to all physical therapists who have a special interest in orthopedics. The meeting will use the focus symposia formula. Some conference sessions will be longer and paired with workshop sessions to offer unique opportunities for the participants to share their knowledge with colleagues from other countries. Preconference and postconference courses also are available. The deadline for early bird registration is May 15.
Intervention by peer mentors has a statistically significant effect on improving glucose control in African American veterans with diabetes, says a Medical News Today article based on study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion.
In the study, 118 African American veterans aged 50 to 70 years old with persistently poor diabetes control were randomly assigned to 3 groups—usual care, peer mentoring, and financial incentives. Patients receiving usual care were notified of their starting levels and recommended goals for HbA1c. Those in the mentor group were assigned mentors, matched by age and sex, who previously had poor glycemic control but now had good control. Mentors participated in hour-long 1-on-1 training, including motivational interviewing techniques, and were informed that they would receive $20 per month if the patient confirmed that they had spoken at least once a week. Patients in the financial incentive group were told they would earn $100 if their HbA1c dropped by 1 point and $200 if it dropped by 2 points or to a level of 6.5%.
In the 6-month study, intervention by the peer mentors had a statistically significant effect in improving glucose control. On average, patients in the mentor group saw their HbA1c drop by approximately 1% (from 9.8 to 8.7). HbA1c levels in the financial incentive group dropped from 9.5 to 9.1, while the usual care group saw the smallest change (from 9.9 to 9.8), the article says.
Free full text of the study is available in the March 20 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.