On September 18, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear appointed Connie Hauser, PT, DPT, ATC, to the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Advisory Board. The 19-member Health Exchange Board will review program and policy issues and make recommendations for Kentucky’s new marketplace for health insurance mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act.
"We need the insight and experience of a variety of Kentuckians to ensure that the Exchange not only meets the requirements of the law, but also meets the needs of Kentuckians who will be looking for affordable health insurance," said Beshear.
The Kentucky Chapter nominated Hauser to Governor Beshear because of her knowledge and understanding of health care and payment policy, and her experience as a clinician. Hauser, a private practice practitioner, previously served as Kentucky Chapter president, 2 terms on the APTA Board of Directors, and 1 term as APTA treasurer. Hauser also served as chair of APTA's Public Policy Committee (previously known as the Government Affairs Committee).
The primary purpose of the state-based health exchanges is to enhance competition in the health insurance market, improve consumers’ choice of affordable health insurance, and give small businesses the same purchasing clout as large businesses. The Kentucky Health Exchange will facilitate the purchase and sale of health plans in the individual market, assist small employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in health plans, and provide 1-stop shopping by helping individuals enroll in health plans. The exchange also will enable individuals to receive premium tax credits and premium subsidies, and qualify small businesses for tax credits. For additional information on state health insurance exchanges, visit APTA's website.
APTA has created 2 new resources to help members prepare for the October 1 implementation of the therapy cap to hospital outpatient settings and the start of the manual medical review process.
These new resources and more can be found on APTA's Medicare therapy cap webpage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded $800,000 to Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and the University of North Carolina for a 2-year Policies, Programs, and Partners for Fall Prevention (PPPFP) project. APTA member Tiffany E. Shubert, PT, PhD, is a principal investigator for the initiative.
The project addresses the urgent need to identify more effective public health strategies for reducing falls, fall-related injuries, and fall-related rates of emergency room visits among the growing population of seniors. It also will develop strategies and train community health workers in Texas and North Carolina to help raise awareness about falls prevention and refer older adults to evidence-based programs. This includes the evaluation of a training program for physical therapists to understand and implement evidence-based fall prevention and to integrate these efforts with state and national fall prevention policies
An important partner in this effort is the National Council on Aging's Falls Free© Initiative, led by APTA member (Bonita) Lynn Beattie, PT, MPT. The national initiative—composed of 42 state coalitions—works collaboratively to increase awareness, bring education and training to providers, and increase investment in effective community interventions.
The timing of the award is noteworthy; September 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. (See related News Now article posted Monday.)
Shubert is a member of APTA's clinical practice guidelines (CPG) group that is developing CPGs for falls.
Marilyn Moffat, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, CSCS, and New York University physical therapy students appeared in the crowd on the "Today" show and "Good Morning America" yesterday to raise awareness about the Foundation for Physical Therapy. They were easily recognizable by banners promoting the Foundation and their bright green shirts that flanked the outdoor areas of NBC and ABC studios in midtown Manhattan. Moffat organizes the annual "media blitz" of morning shows to promote the Foundation.
Moffat and students outside the "Good Morning America" studio.
Yesterday, Rep Mike Michaud (D-ME), ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health, hosted an APTA-cosponsored briefing on traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Capitol Hill event, held for legislators and their staff, addressed how physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology are helping wounded warriors and veterans recover and rehabilitate from TBI and reintegrate into society.
Aaron Eaton, PT, DPT, and Heather Malecki, PT, DPT, served as panelists with Paul R. Rao, PhD, CCC-SLP, chief operating officer for inpatient services at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC, and Tracey Ellis OTR/L, MPH, CEO of International Diagnostic Solutions and Ellis Therapeutic Consultants.
Eaton shared his experiences as a former employee of the National Naval Medical Center (now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) and member of the team that was responsible for physical therapy services for soldiers with war-related injuries, namely those with polytrauma, who had arrived from Landstuhl, Germany. Many of these patients also had TBIs.
Malecki, rehabilitation and polytrauma coordinator at the Washington, DC, VA Medical Center, also provided insight on the needs of soldiers with TBI. She highlighted the benefits of coordination and cooperation among physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.
The American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association cosponsored the briefing.
Find out more about APTA's efforts with wounded warriors at www.apta.org/TBI/WoundedWarriors/.
The Concord Monitor published an APTA letter to the editor in response to an article about the author's experiences with charges for Medicare services, including physical therapist services. The letter also acknowledged New England region chapter presidents who were cosigners.
Caregivers, National Guard, reserve support, and sports are top Defense Department priorities for wounded warriors and their families, said top officials last week at the 2012 Warrior-Family Symposium. APTA has participated in each of the 6 annual Warrior-Family Symposiums. This year the association sponsored the event's breakfast.
The September 12 symposium, titled Saluting Their Sacrifice: A Decade of Challenges and Triumphs for Our Wounded Heroes and Their Families, expanded on previous forums and efforts over the last 5 years to improve the physical, psychological, and well being of service members and their families. Programming focused on addressing the concerns and challenges facing wounded warriors and families/caregivers and helping those in attendance prepare to retire or transition to their new life, as veterans and citizens outside the military.
Lunch keynote speaker VA Secretary Eric Shinseki spoke about issues facing returning service members, such as substance abuse, homelessness, and posttraumatic stress disorder, and explained what the VA is doing about these issues.
Reception keynote speaker Lt Gen Patricia D. Horoho, USA, surgeon general and commanding general, US Army Medical Command, spoke about role of the command in meeting wounded warriors' needs.
The day culminated in a Recognition-Transition Ceremony, honoring and celebrating the service and sacrifice of all service members wounded and disabled over the last decade.