Yes, physical therapists (PTs) should be judged by the value of their work; and no, that value should not be solely tied to cold statistics having to do with how many billable hours and services they can deliver. But applying that seemingly simple idea to real-world PT practice is, well … complicated.
This month's issue of PT in Motion magazine takes on the issue of how PT performance is measured, with a particular emphasis on some employers' reliance on "productivity" metrics. APTA and other organizations believe this can ignore the importance of the PT's clinical judgment and challenge the PTs’ integrity in providing appropriate care.
The article presents the debate as complex and multifaceted, with perspectives from PTs who (sometimes anonymously) recount their own experiences and fears about how productivity pressures impact ethical practice, as well as from PTs who understand that business realities force health care employers to scrutinize every cent of cash flow and adopt policies that allow them to survive in a world of shrinking profit margins.
Further complicating the issue: health care's evolution away from fee-for-service models, a transformation that is already challenging the profession and its employers to rethink how to get at, document, and measure the "value equation" in care. The article looks at this issue in part through the eyes of Jim Dunleavy, PT, DPT, MS, who participates in an APTA work group focused on the topic and along with Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT, recorded a webinar on how PTs can help facilitate a transition from volume to value.
The need to counterbalance volume-based metrics with a value-based model is clear and immediate, according to Dunleavy.
"Because in an environment in which we're not generating dollars every time we touch someone, which is the way most of health care is headed, if we can't show why we're here and how we're helping, we're in trouble," Dunleavy says in the article.
"Measuring by Value, Not Volume," is featured in the
July issue of PT in Motion
and is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them one of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune not only makes the case for the physical therapist assistant (PTA) as a career that's growing fast, it describes those who pursue the profession as dedicated, knowledgeable, and tuned in to people.
The June 21 article highlights the work of Lee Hatfield, PTA, who works in Los Angeles, California, describing him as spending his days "traveling to patients' homes and working with them to perform various exercises and help them with gait and balance training, mobility, and more."
Overall, the article presents an accurate snapshot of the PTA's responsibilities, the education required to assume those responsibilities, and the relationship under the direction of a physical therapist. Despite a few minor oversights—for example, occasionally calling the PTA a "physical therapy assistant" (it's "physical therapist assistant"), and stating that licensure or certification is required in "most" states (it's required in all 50), the article captures the basics of the profession in a short amount of space.
The article also provides Hatfield with an opportunity to explain why he chose the profession.
"I enjoy working with people, helping them recover from injuries and illness," he says in the article. "I also enjoy exercise and educating patients on how to live a healthier and happier life."
Physical therapy leader Marilyn Moffat, PT, PhD, DPT, FAPTA, can now add another honor to her list: namesake of the first-ever endowed chair position in New York University's Department of Physical Therapy, a position created through $2 million in gifts.
"We have always been fortunate to have Marilyn as part of our faculty, given her dedication to the field of physical therapy and to improving the lives of her students and patients, so we are exceedingly pleased to establish this position in her name," said Mitchell Batavia, PT, chair of the physical therapy department, in an NYU press release.
The Marilyn Moffat Endowed Chair in Physical Therapy will be held by a new hire. The department aims to name a candidate to fill this position in the coming year.
Moffat is a past president of APTA and the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, as well as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of APTA. She delivered the 35th Mary McMillan Lecture and also was given APTA’s Lucy Blair Service Award. She directs both the professional doctoral program (DPT) and the postprofessional graduate master's degree program in pathokinesiology at NYU, and is a well-known author of several influential physical therapy texts.
From the Women's World Cup to the US Department of Defense (DOD) "Warrior Games" taking place this week, you don't have to look too hard to find a physical therapist (PT) or physical therapist assistant (PTA) involved—and sometimes in some high-profile ways.
Recently, Fox Sports tapped John Gallucci Jr, PT, DPT, to serve as its sports medicine analyst during the network's coverage of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament taking place in Canada. According to an article in the Staten Island Advance, Gallucci will be on call for phone or live interviews, offering his analysis should injuries need to be discussed during Fox coverage.
Besides bringing the expertise of a PT to the discussions, Gallucci will also bring insights gained through his role as the medical coordinator for Major League Soccer.
Gallucci told the Advance that as of Saturday, June 20, he had yet to receive a call from Fox Sports for an interview, saying that "so far, the Women's World Cup has been pretty healthy. And when you don't get a call as a medical professional, that's a good problem to have."
Meanwhile, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the US DOD has launched its Warrior Games, a week-long adaptive sports competition open to active-duty and veteran athletes who are wounded, ill, or injured—and at least in the case of the Army team, who are supported by an interdisciplinary health care team lead by a PT.
The Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) reports that this year, the returning champion team from the Army will be accompanied by a 6-person team "providing physical and occupational therapy support," led by Jennifer Hoghe, PT, from the Fort Stewart Warrior Transition Battalion.
According to the DVIDS report, "the inclusion of [PTs] to Team Army for the Warrior games represents an interdisciplinary approach to health" similar to the approach used by warrior transition units, the groups that oversee and coordinate care for military personnel who have been injured.
"The group of athletes that come to the games, come to the trials, they are just so motivated and positive," Hoghe said in the DVIDS report. "They don't focus on what they can't do anymore, they're focusing on just excelling at what they can do, and that's just a phenomenal thing to see."
The 2015 Warrior Games are being livestreamed through the DVIDs website, June 19-28.
Get a new lease on your artistic life by taking ownership of the August PT in Motion magazine cover.
It's time once again for members to help PT in Motion magazine decide the design to be used on the cover of an upcoming issue. For August, editorial staff is proposing 3 designs and asking members to vote on their favorite cover to illustrate the pros and cons of leasing versus buying physical therapy equipment.
Vote by June 25. Just pick the design you think is likely to get you to open up the magazine, and then check out the August issue to see which cover was most popular.
APTA honored recipients of its 2015 awards program on June 4, and set the stage for next year by announcing the 2016 McMillan and Maley lecturers.
Carole B. Lewis, PT, DPT, PhD, GCS, GTC, MSG, FAPTA, has been named the 47th McMillan lecturer, and Steven Z. George, PT, PhD, was announced as the 21st John H. P. Maley lecturer. These popular, high-profile lectures will be delivered as part of the 2016 NEXT Conference and Exposition.
In addition to the lecturer announcements, APTA officially honored members who have made outstanding contributions to the physical therapy profession. The honorees include newly named Catherine Worthingham Fellows as well as recipients of the Lucy Blair Service Award. APTA also announced award recipients for excellence in education, practice, service, publications, research, and academic achievement. A full list of recipients and accompanying biographies (.pdf) is available through the APTA honors and awards webpage.
Nominations for the 2016 Honors and Awards Program will open Septeber 2015.
Check out the history of APTA's honors and awards.
APTA’s PT in Motion magazine has earned an APEX Award of Excellence in the printed magazine, journals, and tabloids category for publications of more than 32 pages. PT in Motion was among close to 1,900 entries in this year’s competition.
APTA isn’t new to awards from the APEX competition. Individual articles from PT in Motion (and its predecessor, PT—Magazine of Physical Therapy) have garnered recognition, as has at least 1 book. This is PT in Motion’s first award for overall magazine excellence. A year ago, the magazine took on a redesign and refocus of its content, based on feedback from readers and an internal audit of APTA’s publications.
APEX 2015, the 27th Annual Awards for Publication Excellence, is an international competition that recognizes outstanding publications for their excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. The competition is sponsored by Communication Concepts Inc, a consulting service that publishes newsletters and reports on business writing and communication.
Sure, it was a little rainy. Sure, it was a bit cool for June in Washington, DC. But that didn't stop more than 1,100 physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students of physical therapy from across the United States from converging on Capitol Hill to remind lawmakers of the importance of the profession.
Galvanized by Congress's recent decision not to include a permanent repeal of the Medicare therapy cap with legislation that eliminated the flawed sustainable growth rate formula, supporters of physical therapy showed up in record numbers on June 4 for PT Day on Capitol Hill (Hill Day), an event that began with an 8:00 am rally before participants fanned out across the halls of Congress for scheduled 440 visits to house and senate offices to discuss issues affecting the physical therapy profession and the patients and clients it serves.
In a video dispatch from the event (below), Monica Massaro, APTA congressional affairs manager, described the event as the second-largest PT advocacy event in APTA history.
While a permanent repeal of the therapy cap remains a priority for the association, Hill Day participants also discussed several other key APTA legislative priorities, including legislation that would allow PTs to participate in the National Health Services Corps, and another bill that would permit PTs to bring in another qualified PT to cover for them during temporary absences such as illness, pregnancy, and vacation. Also discussed: legislation that would recognize PTs as health care professionals qualified to make return-to-participation decisions for youth sports participants who have experienced a concussion.
PTs also participated in a health and fitness clinic for legislators and their staffs. Assessments included grip strength, balance, blood pressure, and a golf swing analysis.
Every year, APTA hosts an advocacy event to educate policymakers about a physical therapist's role in improving and restoring mobility in individuals’ lives. This year's event coincided with the association's NEXT Conference & Exposition in National Harbor, Maryland, June 3-6.
Want to make your voice heard even though you couldn't attend PT Day? Check out APTA's legislative action center and download templates that make it easy to write your legislators.
The Foundation for Physical Therapy (Foundation) is accepting nominations and CVs from physical therapists (PTs) interested in serving on the Foundation's Scientific Review Committee (SRC). This elite group of professionals is the peer review arm of the Foundation’s scholarship, fellowship, and grants programs.
Members selected to serve on the SRC have significant practice in training pre- and postdoctoral students and mentoring emerging investigators, as well as a strong track record of extramural funding and peer review experience at the federal level. Terms are for 3 years beginning January, 2016.
For more information, including a full list of qualifications to serve on the SRC and instructions on submitting a CV, please visit the SRC webpage or email email@example.com.
CVs must be received by August 1, 2015.
Editorial staff members at PT in Motion planted the seeds. Now it's picking season.
It's time once again for members to help PT in Motion magazine decide the design to be used on the cover of the upcoming issue. For July, editorial staff is proposing 3 designs and asking members to vote on their favorite cover to illustrate how physical therapy transforms the lives of farmers and ranchers.
Vote by May 21. Just pick the design you think is likely to get you to open up the magazine, and then check out the July issue to see which cover was most popular.
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