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  • APTA Board: Reports on New Care Models Will Undergo Further Analysis

    Two APTA task force reports on potential physical therapy models of care will be getting a closer look before being reconsidered by the APTA Board of Directors for presentation to the House of Delegates. The Board asked for the additional analysis, including review by an external policy analyst, at its December meeting to get a better understanding of the benefits and risks of pursuing models of care that might widen the range of who could provide services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

    The reports were in response to resolutions passed by the House that began with a charge to study whether physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and physical therapy aides should be the only participants involved in the delivery of physical therapist services. The then-named Health Care Professionals and Personnel Involved in the Delivery of Physical Therapy Task Force began looking at this issue in 2011; the following year, the House expanded on the range of issues to be studied by adding a separate charge that APTA "explore practice models that are responsive to the needs of society and adaptable to our changing health care environment."

    The APTA Board of Directors responded by folding the new work into the research already started by the 2011 task force, and renaming the group the Models of Physical Therapy Services Delivery Task Force. The 2013 progress reports created by this task force generated lengthy discussion over 2 days at the December Board meeting held at APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

    The task force's reports addressed all elements in the resolution and the charge from the House, which included analysis of impact on patient/client access, quality, and cost of physical therapist services in the context of new models of health care delivery; impact of new models of service delivery on personnel standards under Medicare, referral for profit, term and title protection, direct access, and other policies; and the ramifications of potential use of the new model(s) by other qualified providers of rehabilitation or therapy services, such as physicians.

    The Board voted to hold off on adoption of the reports until further review. The analysis would cover the entire reports with particular attention paid to how more expansive care models would be implemented in light of scope of practice issues, supervision requirements, and professional licensure requirements for a range of health care professionals.

    The Board will revisit the reports—and the additional analysis—at its January 2014 meeting, and it will forward its adopted reports to the 2014 House of Delegates prior to APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting.

    To see the full open discussion on this and other topics from the December Board of Directors meeting, watch the archived livestream of all open sessions.

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