• Friday, September 19, 2014RSS Feed

    'Choosing Wisely' List Subject of Move Forward Radio Episode

    APTA's contribution to the national Choosing Wisely campaign,released earlier this week, is designed to encourage conversations between physical therapists (PTs) and patients to avoid waste and improve care. Move Forward radio is helping to get that conversation started.

    To help consumers understand the list and be better informed, Move Forward Radio dedicated an episode to the list of "5 Things That Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question." 'It's really important that patients be involved in decision making about their care, and that they're really comfortable asking questions about the care that's recommended for them,' APTA's senior director of clinical practice and research, Nancy White, PT, DPT, OCS, told Move Forward Radio.

    In the episode, Tara Jo Manal, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, discusses each of the "5 Things" and explains terminology and concepts found in the list such as "passive physical agents," "under-dosed strength-training programs," and "continuous passive motion machines."

    Manal emphasizes that it isn't a list of 5 things that should always be forbidden.

    Manal says that other than the recommendation related to whirlpools for wound management, "which we have really moved past in current practice," the list is about setting the stage for informed conversations. "It's important that patients realize that this list … is not a list of things that are inherently dangerous," she says. "They really are things that should be discussed."

    "If a therapist is doing interventions that are on this list, I think it's a very reasonable conversation to say, 'Is this really adding to my rehabilitation?' Or, 'Might we be able to spend our time [together] in a more productive way?'"

    PTs are encouraged to use the resources at MoveForwardPT.com to share the Choosing Wisely information with their patients and clients.

    Move Forward Radio airs approximately twice a month. Episodes are featured and archived at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA's official consumer information website, and can be streamed online via Blog Talk Radio or downloaded as podcasts via iTunes.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients and clients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be e-mailed to consumer@apta.org.

    Friday, September 19, 2014RSS Feed

    Postacute Care Data Reform Legislation Passes Both Houses

    Legislation that would standardize data used across postacute care (PAC) settings has now passed in both houses of Congress and could soon become part of larger reforms. APTA has been working to influence this legislation.

    The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act now approved by both the House and Senate would instruct the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to standardize patient assessment data, quality, and resource use measures for PAC providers including home health agencies (HHAs), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs).

    The House passed the legislation last week by voice vote. Late on September 18, the Senate did the same.

    APTA and other supporters of the legislation believe standardization would allow HHS to compare quality across PAC settings, improve hospital and PAC discharge planning, and use this standardized data to reform PAC payments in the future.

    The legislation will:

    • Require PAC providers to begin reporting standardized patient assessment data at times of admission and discharge by October 1, 2018, for SNFs, IRFs, and LTCHs and by January 1, 2019, for HHAs.
    • Require new quality measures on domains beginning October 1, 2016, through January 1, 2019, including functional status, skin integrity, medication reconciliation, incidence of major falls, and patient preference regarding treatment and discharge.
    • Require resource use measures by October 1, 2016, including Medicare spending per beneficiary, discharge to community, and hospitalization rates of potentially preventable readmissions.
    • Require the Secretary of HHS to provide confidential feedback reports to providers. The Secretary will make PAC performance available to the public in future years.
    • Require MedPAC and HHS to study alternative PAC payment models due to Congress in 2016 and 2021-2022, respectively.
    • Require the Secretary to develop processes using data to assist providers and beneficiaries with discharge planning from inpatient or PAC settings.

    The congressional committees have provided a summary (.pdf), including timelines.

    Thursday, September 18, 2014RSS Feed

    TBI Reauthorization Now Approved by Both Houses of Congress

    Government-sponsored research and data collection on traumatic brain injury (TBI) has support from both houses of Congress, now that the US Senate has approved the TBI Reauthorization Act (S. 2539). The House passed its version of the legislation earlier this summer. APTA was among the organizations advocating for the bills.

    The measure passed in the Senate is substantially similar to the House version, with some differences in funding amounts and a Senate request that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) review evidence on management of TBI in children. If the bills are reconciled and signed into law, the act will provide funding to the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the Health Resources and Services Administration for programs supporting TBI research and individuals with brain injury.

    Advocacy for the reauthorization is part of a broad APTA push to bring attention to TBI and rehabilitation in general. APTA's efforts include involvement in the Joining Forces initiative, promotion of the Protecting Student Athletes From Concussions Act (H.R. 3532) (.pdf), participation in a congressional Brain Injury Awareness Day in March, and a fly-in that allowed APTA members to speak with members of Congress and their staff on the importance of rehabilitation research (see related News story). Concussion management awareness was also the focus of this year's student-led Flash Action Strategy, which resulted in the largest concussion-related grassroots effort in APTA history.

    APTA provides extensive resources to its members on the role of physical therapy in brain injury treatment and recovery, and offers a TBI webpage that includes continuing education courses and links to other interest groups.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014RSS Feed

    NPR Features APTA's List of '5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question'

    APTA's list of "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question" is reaching a wider audience by way of a recent National Public Radio (NPR) story in "Shots," its medical news blog.

    In her story "Farewell Heating Pad: Physical Therapists Say It Doesn't Help," reporter Nancy Shute summarizes APTA's recommendations by noting a "pattern" in the list. "The emphasis is on physical activity, and on doing it yourself with the guidance of a physical therapist so you work hard enough to get stronger and don't get hurt."

    The recommendations covered in the NPR story are now part of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation's Choosing Wisely® campaign. APTA member Anthony Delitto PT, PhD, FAPTA, who chaired the workgroup that reviewed member-submitted suggestions for the list, is quoted in the story.

    A downloadable copy of the list with accompanying citations (.pdf) is available at APTA's Center for Integrity in Practice website, and a detailed consumer-friendly explanation of the list is available through APTA and Consumer Reports, which partnered with the association in the creation of the brochure.

    APTA's list for Choosing Wisely is one part of the association's broad Integrity in Practice campaign. Check out the Center for Integrity in Practice for additional resources, including a primer on preventing fraud, abuse, and waste, and an online course on compliance and professional integrity.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014RSS Feed

    Help Bring Attention to Falls Prevention Awareness Day

    Thinking about fall? Think about falls—or more precisely, how to prevent them.

    September 23 is the first day of autumn, which also happens to be national Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD), and APTA is encouraging its members to spread the word on the importance of reducing fall risk and the important role that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play in the effort.

    The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is once again providing extensive online resources to promote the day, which was recognized through events held in 47 states last year. The site includes links to a FPAD toolkit, a webinar, media resources, and a list of suggested activities.

    APTA also offers a wealth of resources on balance and falls, most of them accessible via the association's Balance and Falls webpage. Offerings range from consumer-focused information including a video, a PT's guide to falls, handouts on falls prevention and physical therapy and the balance system (members-only .pdfs), to PT- and PTA-focused information on how to develop community events on balance, falls, and exercise.

    In addition to planning and consumer-related resources, members can also access several continuing education courses related to falls at the Balance and Falls page, and the PTNow evidence-based practice resource includes a clinical practice guideline on falls and fall injuries in the older adult and a clinical summary on falls risk in community-dwelling elderly people.

    Doing something special in recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Day? E-mail Anita Bemis-Dougherty to share what you’re doing, or take photos of your falls awareness events and share them on Twitter by including the @APTAtweets handle.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014RSS Feed

    Postacute Care Data Bill Passes House

    Legislation that would standardize data used across postacute care settings has been approved by the US House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

    The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014 (H.R. 4994/S. 2553) passed by voice vote in the House. It is unlikely the Senate will take up the bill before leaving for the elections.

    If it becomes law, IMPACT would instruct the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to standardize patient assessment data, quality, and resource use measures for postacute care providers including home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals. A June PT in Motion News story outlined the major provisions of the legislation.

    APTA has been working to influence this legislation and will continue to monitor its progress.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014RSS Feed

    Bill Introduced in Senate Would Allow PTs to Bring in Another PT During Absences

    A version of a bill that would allow physical therapists (PTs) in private practice to provide Medicare patients continuity of care in the PT's absence has been introduced in the US Senate. Like its companion bill introduced in the US House of Representatives last year, the Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act (H.R. 3426/S. 2818) would expand so-called "locum tenens" arrangements to include PTs.

    Locum tenens provisions allow health care providers to bring in another licensed provider to treat Medicare patients and bill Medicare through the practice provider number during temporary absences for illness, pregnancy, vacation, or continuing medical education. Current law only extends locum tenens to doctors of medicine, osteopathy, dental surgery, podiatric medicine, optometry, and chiropractic, forcing PTs in private practice to avoid absences or risk gaps in patient and client care.

    APTA and its Private Practice Section (PPS) collaborated on pressing for the legislation which was introduced by Sens Chuck Grassley (IA) and Bob Casey (PA). "This legislation seeks to eliminate an unnecessary limitation on our ability to practice and provide excellent continuous care," said PPS President Tom DiAngelis, PT, DPT. "We commend Senators Grassley and Casey for taking an important step to ensure a patient’s access to uninterrupted physical therapy."

    APTA has advocated for this issue as an easy technical fix bill that should be linked to larger Medicare reforms that are moving through congress. The locum tenens legislation has continued to gain awareness and cosponsorship in the House, and APTA will now advocate for Senate support.

    APTA will monitor the progress of the bill and will post updates to its locum tenens webpage. Resources on the website include a podcast on the importance of this legislation and information on how PTs can get involved in advocating for its passage.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014RSS Feed

    Corrected Link to Task Force Opportunity

    A story in the Friday, September 5 issue of PT in Motion News contained an incorrect link to more information on the APTA Scope of Practice task force, which is seeking volunteers. That link has been corrected in the original story, and is provided here: http://www.apta.org/VolunteerGroups/TaskForce/ScopeofPractice/ . PT in Motion News regrets the error.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014RSS Feed

    Therapy Cap Repeal Gets Majority House Support

    It's official: a majority of members of the US House of Representatives are now cosponsors of a bill that would repeal the Medicare therapy cap, a strong sign that the legislation has solid bipartisan support as both a long term therapy cap solution and a component in larger sustainable growth rate (SGR) reform legislation.

    On Tuesday, the cosponsor number for H.R. 713 reached 220—just over the 218-member majority mark, and a level of support not achieved by most legislation. The House has no plans to vote on the legislation before it recesses in advance of the fall elections, but may take up SGR reform after the elections or in 2015.

    APTA advocacy staff see the upcoming 6-week recess as a perfect opportunity for members to personally thank their legislators for supporting therapy cap repeal, and are urging physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, patients, clients, and others to consider attending local town hall meetings hosting practice visits, or setting up office meetings with their representatives while representatives are in their home districts.

    A complete list of therapy cap repeal cosponsors can be found on the Congress.gov website.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014RSS Feed

    New Website Highlights Integrity in Physical Therapy Practice

    A new website launched by APTA will support the profession’s effort to eliminate fraud, abuse, and waste in the health care system.

    The APTA Center for Integrity in Practice website houses information on how physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students can continue to uphold the profession's high standards.

    Resources include information on the recently-released Choosing Wisely® list of "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question;” a primer on preventing fraud, abuse, and waste; a free course on compliance; and other information on regulation and payment systems, evidence-based practice, ethics, professionalism, and fraud prevention.

    The site is part of the association's Integrity in Practice Campaign, a broad initiative that seeks to position physical therapy as a leader in responsible patient-centered care.

    Plans are for the website to continue expanding its offerings, and APTA is seeking partners to share resources, work together on advocacy, and possibly develop joint educational offerings to bring the message of practice integrity to the widest possible audience.