• 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.


    Monday, September 15, 2014RSS Feed

    Choosing Wisely: APTA Releases List of Procedures That PTs and Patients Should Question

    Passive physical agents that aren’t part of an active treatment plan, under-dosed strength training for older adults, and the use of whirlpools for wound management are among the "5 Things That Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question," according to a list recently announced by APTA. The list, developed through member suggestions and refined by an expert panel, is now part of a national campaign that encourages patients and health care providers to talk about whether a given procedure is really necessary based on the patient's individual circumstances.

    The list announced today is part of APTA's partnership with the Choosing Wisely® campaign from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation. The initiative aims to help consumers make informed health care choices by providing lists of procedures that tend to be done frequently, yet whose usefulness is called into question by evidence. APTA is the first nonphysician group to release a list, joining more than 50 medical specialty societies.

    "A well-informed patient is a well-treated patient," said APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, in a news release. "The Choosing Wisely campaign addresses the patient's role in good health care, and we are happy to join this effort."

    The 5 recommendations, which are expanded upon with citations at the Choosing Wisely website and in the downloadable list of "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question," are:

    • Don’t employ passive physical agents except when necessary to facilitate participation in an active treatment program.
    • Don’t prescribe under-dosed strength training programs for older adults. Instead, match the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise to the individual’s abilities and goals.
    • Don’t recommend bed rest following diagnosis of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after the initiation of anti-coagulation therapy unless significant medical concerns are present.
    • Don’t use continuous passive motion machines for the postoperative management of patients following uncomplicated total knee replacement.
    • Don’t use whirlpool for wound management.

    The process for developing the list began with an open call for APTA members to submit their lists of questionable procedures. After receiving more than 170 submissions, APTA convened an expert group of physical therapists from a wide range of practice settings and areas of clinical expertise. The group reviewed all nominations and conducted extensive literature reviews to narrow down the list to 9 procedures. The list of 9 was presented to the 88,000 members of APTA, who voted on the final 5.

    To help patients and clients understand what APTA’s Choosing Wisely recommendations mean for them, APTA has partnered with Consumer Reports to create a free consumer-friendly summary, which will also be made available in Spanish. Consumer Reports already has reached more than 100 million consumers with Choosing Wisely information through its network of consumer communications partners.

    APTA's Choosing Wisely list is also the subject of a ProfessionWatch paper e-published ahead of print in Physical Therapy. The paper details the process of the list's development and provides professional context for APTA's decision to partner with the ABIM Foundation in Choosing Wisely.

    The partnership is a component of the larger APTA Integrity in Practice campaign, an effort to support the profession of physical therapy as a leader in the elimination of fraud, abuse, and waste in health care. An APTA Center for Integrity in Practice has been created and will be developing resources throughout the course of the campaign, but already offers a primer on preventing fraud, abuse, and waste, and an online course on compliance and professional integrity.

    "Care that is best for the patient has always been a priority for APTA," Rockar said. "Choosing Wisely is an outstanding effort, and its mission to foster better, more efficient care through informative dialogue between patients and health care providers dovetails perfectly with the goal of our Integrity in Practice campaign."





    Monday, September 15, 2014RSS Feed

    Otto Payton, Noted Physical Therapy Author, APTA Fellow, Dies

    Physical therapy leader Otto D. Payton, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Catherine Worthingham fellow and author of the seminal Research in Clinical Practice, died September 4 in Richmond, Virginia. He was 84.

    Professor emeritus of physical therapy at the Medical College of Virginia campus at Virginia Commonwealth University, Payton was an internationally known lecturer and author, as well as a practicing physical therapist for more than 50 years. He edited the Journal of Physical Therapy Education and served as chairman of the editorial board for the Clinics in Physical Therapy series of books throughout its 33-volume publication history.

    In addition to Research in Clinical Practice, Payton authored or coauthored several texts including Patient Participation in Program Planning, Psychosocial Aspects of Clinical Practice, and Treatment Planning for Rehabilitation: A Patient-Centered Approach.

    Payton received the Jules M. Rothstein Golden Pen Award for Scientific Writing from APTA in 1981 and the Lucy Blair Service Award in 1988. He became a Catherine Worthingham fellow in 1993.

    In an oral history available for loan from APTA, Payton also mentions that he served on the Maryland physical therapist examining board with Florence and Henry Kendall, and was an early chair of the Physical Therapy Fund, the predecessor of the Foundation for Physical Therapy.

    He is survived by his daughter, Colleen M. Payton, and granddaughters, Jane Yoon and Meredyth Yoon.


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