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  • 2017's Top Stories From PT in Motion News

    The past year was another eventful one for the physical therapy profession, and with more than 270 stories posted during 2017, readers of PT in Motion News were able to keep up with a wide range of developments, from payment to research to new APTA offerings. Here are 7 of the most-read stories from 2017.

    (Editor's note: Don't miss reader comments on the articles—often as interesting as the story itself.)

    A change in how CMS calculates reimbursement results in generally higher payments under the new CPT code set.
    January: When the 3-tiered current procedural terminology (CPT) code set launched in 2017, not much was known beforehand about its effects on payment. Early on, however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revealed that it had tweaked a formula in ways that would likely result in modest payment increases, depending on geographic region and other factors.

    A study underscores the importance of patient education and choice when it comes where to receive physical therapy soon after surgery for TKA.
    January: Authors of a retrospective cohort study found that patients who receive home-based physical therapy before entering an outpatient program do just about as well as those who receive immediate outpatient physical therapy—but it may take them longer to get there. The results, they say, point to the importance of shared decision-making between patient and the care team. PT in Motion News readers were eager to share their personal takes on both the research itself and the role of home-based physical therapy in general.

    The Physical Therapy Licensure Compact reaches a critical milestone.
    April: Washington became the 10th state to sign on to the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), allowing for official establishment of a system designed to allow PTs and PTAs to apply for privilege to practice in any participating PTLC state without having to be licensed in each one.

    A new guideline says no to arthroscopy for knee OA or meniscal tears.
    May: Delivered in the form of a clinical guideline, researchers said that short-term gains and function from arthroscopy are outweighed by the burden and risks of the procedure. Instead, the guideline recommends conservative treatment for "nearly all" patients with degenerative knee disease.

    A new APTA webpage focuses on the PT's role in nutrition.
    June: APTA unveiled a new "Nutrition and Physical Therapy" webpage with resources reflecting the association's position that it's appropriate for physical therapists (PTs) to "screen for and provide information on diet and nutritional issues to patients, clients, and the community." The story prompted a lively exchange of reader comments, both pro and con.

    PTAs are included as providers under TRICARE.
    December: In a big win for the profession, the new defense spending bill signed into law by President Donald Trump paves the way for physical therapist assistants (PTAs) to be recognized providers under the TRICARE payment program used throughout the Department of Defense health care system.

    Capitol Hill inaction triggers a no-exceptions therapy cap—at least until mid-January, 2018.
    December: The celebration of the news that PTAs would be included in TRICARE had hardly died down before the news hit that Congress was headed into recess without addressing the Medicare therapy cap in any way—including creating a stopgap exceptions process. The result? The $2,010 hard cap on therapy services is now in place until legislators decide to take up the issue once they return in January. The news was especially disappointing given that a bipartisan agreement to end the hard cap had been reached.

    Do-Over: Check Out PT in Motion Magazine's Most-Read Articles From 2017

    PT in Motion, APTA's award-winning member magazine, offered up another year of stellar articles relevant to the physical therapy profession in 2017. And it just so happens that January is when the magazine takes a 1-month break. So while PT in Motion gears up for 2018, why not catch up on what you may have missed from last year?

    Here are some of the year's most-read PT in Motion stories, arranged by shared themes.

    Explorations of the ways the physical therapy profession is expanding its reach
    In 2017, PT in Motion ran highly popular pieces on how physical therapists (PTs) are getting the word out on the profession's role in concussion management, as well as the ways PTs treat patients during and after pregnancy. The magazine also looked at opportunities for PTs in employer self-insurance programs and delivered a fascinating article on physical therapy and chronic fatigue syndrome that includes interviews with PTs who are themselves battling the condition.

    Features on PTs and PTAs letting their creativity shine
    Other popular articles looked at how PTs and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) created their own solutions, including within their own career paths. An August article on "inventional thinking" introduced readers to several PTs who became inventors to fill in gaps in rehabilitation, while "Physical Therapy by Design" in the October issue featured PTs who have redesigned their clinics, both big and small. Earlier in the year, PT in Motion looked at how creativity, passion, and bravery intersected to spur several individuals to make dramatic career changes to become a PTA.

    Perspectives on how to survive (and thrive) in the profession
    PT in Motion also regularly offers practical information that help readers navigate their day-to-day lives. In 2017, popular articles included a primer on the revised Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set, as well as insight on documentation in the new 3-tiered system. The magazine also looked at the importance of financial literacy for new DPT grads who often face significant education-related debt.

    Printed editions of PT in Motion magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.