The APTA Integrity in Practice campaign has a quick true-or-false question for you.
"True or false: lack of awareness of government bulletins and transmittals regarding billing and coverage for physical therapist services would be a good defense by a provider if the government alleges violations of fraud and abuse laws, such as the False Claims Act."
Think you know the answer? Click here to find out.
APTA's Twitter handle has been chosen as one of the top 50 "association Twitter handles you should follow," according to Congressional Quarterly's Connectivity website.
Connectivity ranked @ATPAtweets at number 38 in its list of the top 100 associations. The association's 30,000+ followers put the APTA handle in the company of associations such as the American Nurses Association, the National Association of Homebuilders, and the American Dental Association.
The association's main Twitter account, established in 2009, is part of an extensive social media effort that includes Move Forward, APTA's branding program aimed at consumers. Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are encouraged to follow and share that branded information and resources with their patients, clients, and communities.
Move Forward's Twitter handle is @MoveForwardPT. Additionally, both APTA and Move Forward have Facebook pages (APTA, Move Forward) as well as YouTube channels (APTA, Move Forward). APTA also posts images to Instagram, and Move Forward has a Pinterest page.
Additional APTA-sponsored social media offerings include:
Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can help transform community knowledge about arthritis, bone health, and osteoporosis through free public education programs being offered by the US Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI).
Two new programs—"Experts in Arthritis" and "Fit to a T"—are designed to help health care professionals get the word out on how to manage arthritis, understand bone health, and prevent or make an early detection of osteoporosis.
The experts in arthritis program is an all-ages resource aimed at osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis. The service provides people with information on how to manage their arthritis presented by health care professionals, and allows participants an opportunity to interact directly with an expert.
Similar to the arthritis program, USBJI's Fit to a T program allows participants to learn from and talk with a health care professional on issues around bone health and osteoporosis. Topics in the program include advice to prevent or slow down bone disease, as well as prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis.
Both programs are free. USBJI works with local PTs and PTAs to promote the program and supplies materials needed for the sessions. Each session includes a PowerPoint presentation, question and answer period, and handout materials. Visit the USBJI website to learn how to schedule a session, or contact USBJI by email for more information.
APTA is founding member of USBJI.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) has announced that Donald A. Neumann, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is this year's recipient of a prestigious International Service Award. Neumann's award is in the area of education.
The awards honor individuals, selected by the WCPT Executive Committee, who have made a significant contribution to physical therapy internationally or within their region. International service recognitions are made in education and research.
Neumann is the recipient of 4 Fullbright scholarships, and has made lasting international contributions to physical therapy education through teaching and a kinesiology video on spinal cord injury. In addition, he is the author the landmark Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System, which has been translated into 6 languages.
Neumann's work has helped transform teaching and practice in Japan, Hungary, and Lithuania, where he received an honorary PhD. His international teaching and service has extended to El Salvador, Haiti, Korea, Nepal, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
The award will be announced at the WCPT General Meeting April 29 - May 1 in Singapore and will be presented at the awards gala dinner on April 30.
APTA is a member of WCPT.
The profitability and rate of sales growth for private physical therapy firms have slowed, but according to a recent Forbes article, at least 1 financial analytics company has declared rehabilitation services "a healthy industry."
The December 16 article reports on an analysis conducted by Sageworks, described by Forbes as "a financial information company." According to that company, 2014 sales among privately held physical, occupational, and speech therapy firms are still up by 6% over 2013, but the rise marks a slowdown from the previous 5 years "during which sales grew by double-digit percentages in all but 1 year, including a 13% gain in the 12 months ended Dec. 8, 2013."
The company speculates that the declining sales could be due to "declining reimbursement rates or perhaps uncertainty among patients about whether services are covered" under the Affordable Care Act.
The article offers the same explanation for a decrease in average profit margins in 2014, pegged at 10% rather than the 11%-12% rates experienced every year since 2008.
Quoted in the article, Sageworks analyst James Noe describes physical therapy and other rehabilitation services as "a healthy industry" that "has the potential to catch back up to its normal levels of growth based on the demand projections by multiple sources."
"Now, this is not the end, nor is it the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning." Go ahead, take a few seconds to work that one out in your head.
Ready to move on? So is Stanley Paris.
Paris recently used the famous Winston Churchill quote to describe his progress in his attempt to beat the speed and age records for circumnavigation of the globe in a cruise yacht. According to the 77-year-old adventurer, he has now passed the one-quarter mark in the journey in terms of days spent on the water—the end of the beginning.
And so far, things are looking pretty good.
As of December 17, Paris was off the coast of Brazil in his attempt to capture the age record currently held by Dodge Morgan, who completed a journey in 150 days at age 56. Paris is making his second attempt at the record as a way to bring attention to the need for physical therapy research in general and to the Foundation for Physical Therapy (Foundation) in particular. Paris serves on the Foundation's board of trustees.
Oh, and while he's at it, Paris also hopes to beat the fastest overall record of 137 days, held by a Chinese sailor.
Though differing routes make direct comparisons tricky at this point, Paris believes he is keeping pace or maybe even bettering the progress of Morgan.
"Dodge did well and in a virtually straight line, whereas I have covered more miles and with a frontal passage expected tomorrow maybe have to head further south and even a little west for a period," Paris wrote in his December 17 blog post. "But by about day 40 (it’s now day 31 since Bermuda) our paths will meet on the 40th parallel south and then we shall see exactly where we are. Stay tuned."
Paris documents his journey, posts videos, and provides other information on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/uofstaugsolo and via a blog on his website, which also allows visitors to track his progress in real time. Visit the Foundation's website to find out how to contribute to physical therapy research.
Attendees to the 2015 World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) Congress this spring may want to build in a little extra time before and afterwards, and not just for sightseeing in Singapore: on either side of the actual congress, WCPT is offering an extensive menu of presentations and educational opportunities. The congress itself is set for May 1-4.
WCPT recently announced its lineup of 21 courses—10 to be held on Friday, May 1, and an additional 9 on Tuesday, May 5. Topics include airway clearance, women's health, work injury, sports and therapeutic taping, chronic pain, postural stability, research methods, and more. The preconference offerings also include half-day workshops on balance training and creating online courses.
Full course descriptions, schedules, presenter biographies, and registration information can be found at the WCPT website. APTA is a member of WCPT.
Nancy White, PT, DPT, OCS, has been named chief professional affairs officer for APTA. White's promotion from her previous role as senior director of clinical practice and research is part of a staff reorganization to create an operating structure designed to serve the association's vision for transforming society.
Before joining APTA in 2009, White spent 30 years in direct clinical practice and management. She served in volunteer leadership positions in the Virginia Chapter, the Orthopaedic Section, and the Foundation for Physical Therapy. White earned an MPT from the University of Alabama Birmingham and a DPT from Marymount University in Virginia.
As chief professional affairs officer, White will oversee APTA's work in the areas of practice, research, and education as well as provide information, knowledge, and resources that will strengthen the profession and empower physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.
The Professional Affairs Unit is one of 4 major operational units at APTA headquarters that includes the Member Affairs Unit, Public Affairs Unit, and Business Affairs Unit.
APTA, the Private Practice Section (PPS), and a coalition of other professional groups focused on transforming health care by putting an end to self-referral loopholes under Medicare are applauding a recent show of support from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Last week, AARP Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Joyce Rogers voiced the organization's agreement with efforts to eliminate 4 services from the in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception in the Stark law originally passed to tighten up restrictions on self-referrals. The support came in a letter to Rep Jackie Speier (.pdf), who is sponsoring the Protecting Integrity in Medicare Act (PIMA) (H.R. 2914). The legislation seeks to close up loopholes that allow physicians to refer patients for certain services—including physical therapy—to a business that has a financial relationship with the referring provider.
"AARP agrees that restrictions on physician self-referral and provider-kickback schemes must be strengthened," Rogers wrote. "Closing the [IOAS] exception for certain services will save taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries money and reduce unnecessary care."
In separate news releases, both APTA and the Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM) congratulated AARP on its decision to speak out on the IOAS exception.
"AIM applauds AARP for defending patients who are at risk of receiving unnecessary care caused by the abusive, profit-motivated practices exploiting the [IOAS] exception," AIM stated in its release. "Patients should not have to question whether financial incentives are driving their physician's treatment recommendations."
APTA is a founding member of AIM, which also includes medical specialty, laboratory, radiation oncology, and medical imaging groups.
In a joint statement APTA and PPS characterized the AARP letter as a "bold move" that supports an effort to "save the country billions in unnecessary treatments and protect patients from being used as pawns for profit."
"APTA continues to urge Congress to take action to close this loophole, which threatens the integrity of the Medicare program," said APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, in the release. "It is time for Congress to pass [PIMA]."
PPS, which has been partnering with APTA in its advocacy efforts, sees the AARP announcement as a "huge win for health care," according to PPS President Terry Brown, PT, DPT. With support such as AARP's, changes could be made to the IOAS exception that "would shift the focus in health care from profit and put it back on the patient," he said.
Find out more about this issue on APTA's self-referral webpage, and take action now by asking your legislators to close the self-referral loophole. Contact the APTA advocacy staff for more information.
Want to get in on the best possible rates for the 2015 Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in Indianapolis, February 4-7? Better shift into high gear.
The deadline for advance registration discounts is Wednesday, December 17, at 11:59 pm, ET. It's your last chance to save before full registration fees take effect.
In the unlikely event that you're on the fence about whether to attend, check out the educational sessions, preconference courses, and sponsored events on tap.
Need more convincing? CSM attendee special rates are available for travel, housing, and rental cars.
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