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  • Big Insurance Companies Will Release Data in 2015

    Three of the largest commercial health insurance companies in the US will be sharing price data to provide consumers with a "transparent and comprehensive destination to make more informed choices about health care," according to the creator of a new online database.

    UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Humana announced that they will partner with the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) to create an information portal that will aggregate pricing data from those companies as well as from Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans where permitted by state law. According to a press release from HCCI, the database will be operational by 2015, and will likely include data from additional insurance companies that are expected to sign on to the program between now and then.

    A recent Forbes magazine article reports that the system will provide "three tiers" of information: 1 containing average price information for an episode of care, available to any consumer; another more detailed set of data available to customers of the participating companies; and a third even more in-depth compilation available to employers.

    "Voluntarily making this information available will be of immeasurable value to consumers and other health system participants as they seek to manage the cost and quality of care," said HCCI Executive Director David Newman in the press release.

    Justin Moore, PT, DPT, APTA vice president of public policy, practice, and professional affairs believes the data release is great news not just for consumers, but for physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs).

    “Access to data is critical in this new era of health care, and APTA applauds the leadership of 3 major insurers in beginning the process toward improved transparency," Moore said. "We believe this kind of information will empower consumers in their selection of health care services and providers, and has the potential to demonstrate the value physical therapy provides our health care system every day."

    CDC Webinar on Activity for Adults With Disability Includes PT Perspective

    On the heels of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that stresses the importance of physical activity in the lives of people with disabilities, the agency is offering a webinar to help health care providers learn how to effectively deliver this information to patients—and part of that learning will include a physical therapist's perspective.

    The free program, titled "More adults with disabilities need physical activity – how can health professionals help?" will feature panelists from the US Public Health Service; the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability; the Exercise is Medicine Program; the Special Olympics; Paralympics; the Amputee Coalition; and APTA by way of Lisa Culver, PT, DPT, MBA, senior specialist in clinical practice for the association.

    The 1-hour program will begin at 2:00 pm ET on May 20. Participants can register online.

    The program is being provided as a follow-up to a recent CDC report asserting that adults with disabilities who are inactive are at a 50% higher risk of developing chronic disease than adults with disabilities who engage in 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity per week. The study found that these individuals are 82% more likely to become active if appropriate activity is recommended by their health care providers.

    The webinar is being jointly sponsored by the CDC and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

    View Highlights of Membership Matters Week

    There are dozens of reasons to be an APTA member.

    Need proof? Check out highlights from APTA’s Membership Matters Week, including photos and social media posts from members across the country.

    The 7-day campaign, April 14-20, was designed to raise awareness about the value of membership – for the individual, the association, and the profession of physical therapy at large.

    The Membership Matters section of the APTA website includes numerous evergreen resources to help members discuss the importance of membership with their peers year-round, including testimonials, FAQs, and tips on promotion.

    Graphics from the campaign are available to download in online-friendly .jpg versions, as well as print-friendly .eps versions.

    Did you miss Membership Matters Week? It’s not too late to download the “I’m an APTA member because …” sign, or share the resources above, and join the Membership Matters movement.