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  • Sisto Receives ACRM Fellow Award

    APTA member Sue Ann Sisto, PT, MA, PhD, FACRM, recently was named a Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM). ACRM is the world's leading interdisciplinary rehabilitation research organization. The Fellow of ACRM designation recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the field of rehabilitation and to ACRM for at least 5 consecutive years, have an outstanding record of professional service, and have a sustained record of contributions of national significance to medical rehabilitation in the areas of clinical practice, research, education, and administration. Sisto has been a member of ACRM since 1998 and served on numerous committees over the years. Her greatest contribution was the development of the SCI networking group, which she was instrumental in elevating to ACRM’s SCI special interest group (SIG) in 2009. She has served on the Board of Governors as member at large, secretary, vice president and now president-elect. Sisto is the first physical therapist to receive the ACRM Fellow designation. 

    Sisto is professor of physical therapy and director of research in rehabilitation sciences at Stony Brook University. She has been a physical therapist for more than 32 years and specializes in pathokinesiology. Her doctoral studies at New York University were funded by grants from the National Institute on
    Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Foundation for Physical Therapy.

    Her current research direction is recovery of locomotion in spinal cord injury (SCI), but her grants and publications span broad areas of rehabilitation outcomes with neurological/orthopedic patients. Sisto has served on multiple grant review panels and is the associate editor for the Journal of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. Her textbook on SCI rehabilitation was published in 2009. Sisto has served on various National Institutes of Health review committees and is chair of the Rehabilitation Advisory Board grant review panel for Shriners Hospital for Children. She has served on APTA's Scientific Review Committee and the Nomination Committee and currently is vice chair of the Neurology Section’s Spinal Cord Injury SIG.

    Medicare to Cover Preventive Services for Obesity

    Preventive services for obesity now will be included under Medicare and can be provided by primary care physicians or primary care practitioners only (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, or physician assistants) in primary care settings only.

    Under the regulations, announced on Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, physical therapists do not currently fit all the requirements to provide obesity intensive preventive therapies, which include:

    1. Screening for obesity in adults (BMI measurement; BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2);
    2. Dietary (nutritional) assessment; and
    3. Intensive behavioral counseling and behavioral therapy through high-intensity interventions, including diet and exercise. 

    Additionally, any behavioral intensity therapy should meet the 5-A framework recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force:

    1. Assess: Ask about/assess behavioral health risk(s) and factors affecting choice of behavior change goals/methods.
    2. Advise: Give clear, specific, and personalized behavior change advice, including information about personal health harms and benefits.
    3. Agree: Collaboratively select appropriate treatment goals and methods based on the patient's interest in and willingness to change the behavior.
    4. Assist: Using behavior change techniques (self-help and/or counseling), aid the patient in achieving agreed-upon goals by acquiring the skills, confidence, and social/environmental supports for behavior change, supplemented with adjunctive medical treatments when appropriate.
    5. Arrange: Schedule follow-up contacts (in person or by telephone) to provide ongoing assistance/support and to adjust the treatment plan as needed, including referral to more intensive or specialized treatment.

    Primary care physicians in non-primary care settings are not precluded from conducting an obesity screening, then referring the patient to a primary care setting for further obesity therapy to be conducted by the primary care physician or primary care practitioner.

    APTA is gathering the necessary supportive data to demonstrate the value of physical therapy interventions in reducing obesity and to advocate for inclusion of physical therapists in obesity prevention.