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  • South Dakota Law Protects Patients From Excessively High Copays

    Last week, South Dakota became the latest state to improve consumer protections from excessively high physical therapy copays when Gov Dennis Daugaard signed House Bill 1183, legislation promoted by the South Dakota Chapter.

    HB 1183 limits the amount a health insurer may charge a patient for an out-of-pocket copayment or coinsurance amount when he or she visits a physical therapist or occupational therapist. After the bill takes effect July 1, those copayment and coinsurance amounts cannot be higher than those charged when a patient visits a primary care physician or practitioner.

    Health insurers often categorize physical therapy as a "specialty" service, and typically require higher copays than primary care services—sometimes as high as $60 or more for a single visit. 

    "Legislators saw that this bill was all about patient access and affordability," said Ronald Van Dyke, PT, OCS, president of the South Dakota Chapter. "They wanted to make sure the people of South Dakota could access the physical therapy and occupational therapy care they need at a fair cost."

    Read more about House Bill 1183 in this APTA press release.   

    Last year, Kentucky enacted a similar copay protection law.

    Physical Therapist Named 'Best Job' in 2012

    US News & World Report yesterday issued its list of "best jobs"—ranking physical therapist as the fourth best job in health care and the eighth best overall job in 2012. The annual list includes jobs that are "hiring in droves, paying well, and providing room to grow." APTA Deputy Executive Director Janet Bezner, PT, PhD, is quoted in the article about how students can use internship opportunities to "to pay attention to what they like or don't like" and determine the type of patients and the size and style of practice that will best suit them.     

    Active Video Games Fall Short of Boosting Overall Physical Activity

    Children given video games that simulate activities such as boxing and dancing are no more physically active overall than children who play nonactive video games, says a HealthDay article based on a study published this month in Pediatrics.

    Researchers followed 78 children ages 9-12 who had never owned a Wii video game console. Half of the children choose from a selection of 5 active fitness-focused games. The other half chose from inactive games. After 6 weeks they were given an opportunity to choose another game. The children received needed accessories including balance boards, remote controllers, and resistance bands. Each child wore an accelerometer to measure physical activity. The belt could be taken off only when swimming or bathing, and the children kept a journal of when they removed it.

    Lead author Tom Baranowski, PhD, told HealthDay that the investigators expected to see a "substantial increase in physical activity in the group that played the active games, but not in the inactive game group" starting in the first week. They expected another surge when the children chose their second game.

    "But we found there was no difference in the level of the activity between the treatment and control groups. What we detected at baseline, before playing active video games, was exactly the same in weeks 1, 6, 7, and 12," Baranowski said.

    Pediatrician Christina Suh, MD, who was not part of the research team, said, "The take-home message is that on a population basis, it looks like using active video games is not an effective way of getting kids to be more active. In other words, if someone thinks of passing out Wii fitness consoles to kids in a public school district, for example, it probably wouldn't be effective in terms of its impact on public health."

    Exercise prescription for children needs to individualized, Suh added. "The key is figuring out what's really fun for that child." 

    Full text of the article is available through Pediatrics

    Order CSM 2012 Images and Downloads Now

    You now can order images and downloads from CSM 2012 from David Braun Photography Inc. To order, go to www.davidbraun.photoreflect.com and click on APTA CSM 2012. Enter the password windy12, click the GO button, select any day or event gallery link, and click on thumbnails to view larger images. Use the drop-down menu on the upper right to change between daily galleries. Prices for prints appear on the right when viewing an image. To order file downloads, click on the Digital Products link below the print prices.