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  • $850 Million CMS Initiative Will Fund Clinical Practice 'Transformation'

    A new initiative announced by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will offer $850 million in funding to provider networks, professional associations, and other organizations that are providing education and training in the transition to value-based health care.

    The "Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative" unveiled by the CMS Innovation Center is a 4-year project that aims to "support clinician practice through nationwide, collaborative, and peer-based learning networks that facilitate practice transformation," according to a CMS fact sheet.

    Funding will be awarded in 2 general areas: "practice transformation networks" that involve peer-to-peer learning, and "support and alignment networks" that involve learning opportunities created by professional associations, societies, and other organizations.

    CMS envisions successful practice transformation network applicants as those that have relationships and share data with multiple clinician practices, and can lead "clinicians and their practices through the transformation process." CMS-funded support and alignment networks will be organizations that generate evidence-based guidelines, promoting measurement, supporting efforts to reduce unnecessary testing and procedures, and "effectively incorporating safety and patient and family engagement," according to CMS.

    CMS encourages applicants to submit a letter of intent by November 20, with completed applications due by January 6, 2015. The awards are scheduled to be announced in spring or summer of 2015.

    APTA Shares Summary of Proposed HHS Rule on Kickbacks, Remuneration

    The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a proposed rule (pdf) on civil monetary penalties and exceptions to the anti-kickback statute, and APTA is helping members understand how the changes could affect physical therapists (PTs).

    APTA posted a summary of the proposed rule (under the "Patient Protection" header) from OIG. Many of the proposals deal with carving out new "safe harbors" for the anti-kickback statute, and refining—and in some cases, loosening—rules around what activities would be considered illegal remuneration. Some of the proposed changes codify existing statutory provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    Of particular importance to PTs, according to the APTA summary, are the "safe harbor" proposals, which would permit some forms of free or discounted patient transportation services. Also of note: a proposal to define what is meant by ACA-mandated remuneration exceptions allowing activities that "promote access to care" and have a "low risk of harm."

    Comments on the proposed rule are due on December 2. APTA will provide comments to the proposals, and will post those comments in the coming weeks.

    CSM Early-Bird Discounts Ending Soon

    Early-bird registration for the 2015 APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in Indianapolis is heading for the final turn. Are you ahead of the pack?

    November 5 is the deadline for saving on registration fees for CSM, set for February 4–7, 2015. Registering now will ensure you're on track for a 1-of-a-kind event that will feature 300 forward-thinking sessions, multiple social events, and a host of lectures, platforms, and poster presentations.

    Start your planning engine: grab an early-bird discount before November 5, take advantage of special rates on housing and travel, then explore the programming coming your way.

    Stock Up on Mythbusting Ideas, Resources

    Think of it as a 1-stop shop for all your debunking needs: APTA's National Physical Therapy Month webpage at www.apta.org/NPTM/MediaCampaign has just about everything you'll need to help knock down "7 Myths About Physical Therapy."

    The page contains ideas for educating patients and clients, infographics, and downloadable artwork that you can use to help spread the truth about how physical therapy can transform society. You can also do double debunking by referring patients and community members to www.MoveForwardPT.com for consumer-oriented information on the myths.

    Think you have another myth about physical therapy that needs a good busting? E-mail it to APTA!

    'Top 15' Clinical Trials in Physical Therapy Released by PEDro

    The "top 15" physical therapy clinical trials include 5 trials related to low back pain, and 1 trial on Bell palsy that dates back to 1958, according to a list based on nominations from physical therapists (PTs) around the world. The list is the focus of the October 22 PTNow blog.

    The list was developed by the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), an Australia-based project and collaborative partner with PTNow, in celebration of its 15th anniversary. PEDro solicited nominations from PTs for the clinical trials that had the most impact on the field of physical therapy, then turned over those nominations to an expert panel for final selection.

    Among other trials that made the list: a 2009 trial on early physical therapy in mechanically ventilated, critically ill patients, a comparison of approaches to tennis elbow from 2006, and results of a trial published in 1999 that looked at management of genuine stress incontinence in women.

    For a complete linked list of the trials, check out the PTNow blog—then let PTNow know what you think of the list.