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  • APTA-Hosted Panel Discussion on Opioid Epidemic and Pain to Be Broadcast Live Via Facebook

    The opioid crisis needs more action and attention. APTA continues to engage.

    Monday, February 5, APTA will convene a panel of experts to discuss how pain management in America can be transformed to move beyond opioids and improve the health of society. The discussion will be broadcast live from APTA’s Facebook page and will include the premiere of the association’s second public service announcement about the crisis.

    “Despite intensive media coverage over the past 2 years, there are aspects of the opioid epidemic that need significantly more discussion, understanding, and awareness,” said APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, DPT, board-certified orthopaedic clinical specialist. “This crisis is not just about fentanyl, overdose, and addiction, it’s also about educating Americans so they know they have options in pain management and the prevention of chronic disease. We hope this event can advance the national conversation in a way that’s beneficial to both the public and health care providers.”

    The approximately 1-hour event, titled "Beyond Opioids: Transforming Pain Management to Improve Health," will be streamed live via APTA’s official Facebook page beginning at 8:00 pm ET. APTA encourages members to tune in and share the video via Facebook and Twitter using the #ChoosePT hashtag.

    Panelists for the discussion are:

    • Grant Baldwin, director of the division of unintentional injury prevention for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Bill Hanlon, PT, DPT, board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy, staff physical therapist working in addiction recovery at St Joseph Institute in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania
    • Joan Maxwell, patient and family advisor for John Muir Health, and patient-member of Patient & Family Centered Care Partners Inc
    • Tiffany L. McCaslin, senior policy analyst, public policy, for National Business Group on Health
    • Donald Norcross (D-NJ), US congressman, vice chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic
    • Steven Stanos, DO, medical director, Swedish Pain Services; medical director, occupational medicine services, Swedish Medical Center; and president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine
    • Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy, associate clinical professor at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, and contributor to an upcoming issue of Physical Therapy (PTJ) devoted to pain management

    The public service announcement is part of the association's national public awareness campaign, #ChoosePT, which has won multiple national awards, including best video for the first public service announcement.

    That public service announcement reached more than 377 million Americans via television and radio in its first year of release, and APTA’s official consumer information website, MoveForwardPT.com, was visited by more than 3.2 million users in 2017.

    Monday’s panel discussion will be archived on Facebook and YouTube.

    Mid-Atlantic, Pacific States and Territories Will be First to See New Medicare Cards

    New Medicare cards are coming beginning this April, and, along with them, new beneficiary identifiers that don't rely on social security numbers (SSNs).

    According to recent information from the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare beneficiaries in 9 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 US territories will be the first to receive the new cards: Alaska, American Samoa, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Maryland, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. CMS will begin mailing cards to those recipients in April. New cards in the remaining states and territories will be mailed beginning in June.

    The new cards will feature a unique Medicare identification number that will help CMS move away from health insurance claim numbers (HICNs) that contain the beneficiary's SSN and toward a CMS-generated Medicare beneficiary identifier (MBI). The change, intended to thwart fraud, was required by provisions in the Affordable Care Act and the Small Business Jobs Act. CMS offers a guidance resource with details on the change.

    According to CMS, providers can start using the MBI as soon as their patients receive the new cards and should have systems in place to accept the new number by April 2018. The changeover includes a transition period from October 2018 through December 2019, during which time CMS will accept claims using either the HICN or MBI. Once the mailings begin in April, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to check on the status of their cards on Medicare.gov.