Ending the hard cap in Medicare outpatient physical therapy services will take unified voices, personal effort—and more than a little help from technology. APTA is hoping to do just that when it launches a new grassroots campaign that will allow physical therapists (PTs) and others to combine their individual social media reach to create a wave of highly coordinated messaging.
APTA has worked with the Therapy Cap Coalition to create an opportunity for PTs, physical therapist assistants (PTAs), patients, and others to participate in a "thunderclap," a service in which participants donate their Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr presences to allow a 1-time coordinated message to be sent to their friends and followers. To participate in the therapy cap thunderclap, supporters simply sign up and choose which social media outlets they would like to temporarily donate. At noon on November 4, thunderclap will automatically send out the same messages through all participants’ social media outlets. The thunderclap is free and limited to a single message. Deadline for sign up is November 3.
The Therapy Cap Coalition's thunderclap is aimed at drawing national attention to the Medicare therapy cap and preventing a hard cap from being implemented in 2014. The cap puts arbitrary limits on therapy services under Medicare and negatively impacts a PT's ability to provide the highest quality care to often-vulnerable populations. While APTA representatives have been meeting with legislators over the past year, coalition organizers believe that grassroots efforts to stop the cap need to intensify now that Congress has little more than 60 days to address the issue.
The coalition must meet its goal number for thunderclap participants to send the message, but participants need not be limited to the affected health care providers. APTA is urging its members to encourage colleagues, patients, family members, and friends to join in the thunderclap to make the reach as broad as possible. More information about thunderclap and APTA's therapy cap efforts can be found at APTA's therapy cap advocacy site, and questions about the program or how to get involved can be sent to APTA's advocacy staff e-mail. Specific information on thunderclaps can be found at Thunderclap's website.
Physical therapy students unable to attend National Student Conclave (NSC), October 24-26, in Louisville, Kentucky, will be able to watch select events live online.
The first livestreamed session, "What It Means to Your Career to Be Connected," features current and former members of APTA's Board of Directors APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS; APTA Vice President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS; APTA Director Kathy Mairella, PT, DPT, MA; and former APTA Director and Treasurer Connie Hauser, PT, DPT, ATC. Using the "TED-talk" style of conversation and inspired by the life and friendship of the late Dave Pariser, PT, PhD, who was a board director, they will each discuss the importance of involvement with APTA. The 90-minute session is scheduled for Thursday, October 24, with an approximate start time of 5:30 pm, ET.
Also livestreamed will be the Friday, October 25, keynote address, "Transcending Limitation on Disability," by Aaron Scheidies, PT, DPT, who hasn't let a hereditary eye condition stop him from practicing physical therapy or from competing in triathlons and earning 8 paratriathlon national championships. The address is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm, ET.
Each event will be streamed live, and an archive of the sessions will be available for an additional month. A broadcast schedule and session descriptions can be found on the NSC livestream page.
APTA member Alan M. Jette, PT, MPH, PhD, FAPTA, was included in the 70 professionals named to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the world's most prestigious health care advisory organizations. Election to the IOM is considered among the highest honors given to health care professionals.
Jette serves as professor of health policy and management at Boston University's School of Public Health. He is also active in APTA, serving on the association's PT Outcomes Registry Task Force and as chair of the Foundation for Physical Therapy's Scientific Advisory Committee.
A news release from IOM describes its membership as professionals "who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health." The organization is among the 4 US National Academies along with the national academies of science and engineering and the National Research Council, and has provided analysis and recommendations on issues ranging from postdeployment needs of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to the benefits of physical activity programs in schools.
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