They came. They gala-ed. They exceeded their physical therapy research fundraising goal by 50%—all in all, a great night for attendees to the Foundation for Physical Therapy's (Foundation) 35th Anniversary Gala held last month during APTA's NEXT Conference and Exposition.
According to a Foundation news release (.pdf), the gala netted just under $50,000, well over the $35,000 goal set by organizers. A total of 165 supporters used mobile fundraising technology to meet the initial challenge in less than 30 minutes and go on to blow away expectations by taking in $44,750 by the event's end. Paired with money raised through a silent auction, the total raised from the gala was $47,710.
"We are delighted by the generosity of everyone who made a donation in honor of the Foundation's 35th Anniversary," said Foundation Board of Trustees President William G. Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAPTA, FAAOMPT. "Reaching this milestone holds great significance to us as we look forward to advancing physical therapy for many more years to come."
A new resource at APTA.org helps to dispel some of the myths around skilled maintenance therapy, and provides physical therapists (PTs) with information that can help them better understand documentation, billing, and other issues brought to light in the recent Jimmo v Sebelius settlement.
The APTA Skilled Maintenance webpage states that "There has been a longstanding myth that Medicare does not cover services to maintain or manage a beneficiary's current condition when no functional improvement is possible." Getting past that myth is only the first step, however, and the webpage includes detailed information on Medicare regulations and practice applications.
In addition to the Medicare and practice resources, the webpage includes information on the Jimmo v Sebelius settlement, legislative and regulatory activity, and a link to a webinar on defining skilled maintenance therapy and minimizing denials.
APTA's vision for the physical therapy profession—transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience—is broad and ambitious, to be sure. But it's also achievable. Getting there, however, will require strong member engagement to truly make that vision a reality, and a big opportunity for just that kind of engagement is now available.
As part of its effort to align the 2015 APTA strategic plan to the association's vision, the APTA Board of Directors is asking for direct member input on the guiding principles that accompany the vision, as well as reactions to the association's definition of "movement system," a term used frequently throughout the vision's guiding principles.
Members are encouraged to review the APTA vision webpage, then complete an online feedback form with their ideas on services, products, or activities that the association could provide or engage in to support the guiding principles—note that the form accommodates feedback for 1 principle at a time, so to comment on more than 1, members can fill out and submit the form multiple times. The form also asks for feedback on whether the association's definition and use of "movement system" is sufficient, and how the term might directly relate to practice, education, and research.
Deadline for participation is August 11. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone interested in understanding APTA's approach to ensuring consumer protection in physical therapy through state licensure of physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can now turn to one resource that, among other positions, advocates for greater licensure portability, supports restricted licenses for PTs in clinical internships, and brings policies up to date with recent House decisions in related areas. The new policy was approved by the APTA House of Delegates at its 2014 session June 9-11 in Charlotte, North Carolina (RC 10-14).
In what was largely a "modernization project to reduce redundancies," according to APTA Vice President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS, the House voted to adopt a policy titled "Consumer Protection Through Licensure of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants." Essentially, the new policy consolidates positions and policies that existed in 11 separate documents into a single policy that addresses many aspects related to state licensure and regulation. The new resource policy provides APTA’s positions on a variety of state licensure issues including state licensure designations, minimum qualifications and requirements for licensure, protected terms and titles, temporary exemptions to state licensure, and continuing education and continuing competence as a condition for licensure renewal.
For the most part, the policy incorporates language from existing APTA positions; however, the new document does include 2 new positions that address licensure's reach and portability.
Specifically, the Consumer Protection document outlines APTA's support for provisional or restricted state licensure for student PTs in clinical internships, as well as for exam-eligible graduates of accredited PT and PTA programs, or individuals who have completed requirements for graduation.
The new resource also states that APTA supports licensure models that allow for portability, such as an interstate licensure compact for physical therapy.
Akin to driver's licenses systems, an interstate licensure compact is a legal agreement among participating states that allows for recognition of one state license among multiple states. An interstate licensure compact—achievable only through the adoption of uniform legislation in multiple states—would reduce the requirement for a PT to hold multiple state licenses and would facilitate practice via telehealth. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) has formed a task force that is investigating what an interstate compact might look like for the physical therapy profession.
The consumer protection policy adopted by the House also incorporates technical revisions to existing positions to provide for better clarity, as well as language that brings the policy in line with actions taken by this year’s House in other areas (see related PT in Motion News stories on accountability of care and regulatory designation of the PT).
APTA members can view videos of all open sessions of the 2014 House of Delegates online. Final language for all actions taken by the House will be available by September after the minutes have been approved.
Ten years can seem like a long while—unless you're preparing for a national campaign to change the way an entire country refers to your profession. For APTA's House of Delegates (House), that's the appropriate timeframe to make preparations for a nationwide shift from "PT" to "DPT" as the state licensure designator for all physical therapists in all US jurisdictions.
Delegates to the 2014 House session held June 9-11 in Charlotte, North Carolina, voted to adopt an APTA position that connects the dots between the association's support of the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) as the profession’s entry-level educational degree and the regulatory designation PT licensees are legally allowed to use to denote state licensure. The changeover would begin in January 2025 and will require a significant amount of legwork at both the national and chapter levels. Many states will need to enact state legislation to amend their state PT licensure law to change the licensure designation from "PT" to "DPT" for licensees.
The current state licensure designation for all physical therapists, regardless of degree earned, is PT. "Most agree that allowing DPT as the state licensure designation is inevitable and that it is just a matter of time," according to a supporting statement that accompanied the motion. Authors of the supporting statement describe a "window of opportunity" over the next few years, and state that "working together to accomplish what this motion proposes can be a rallying and unifying focus within the profession and will send a clear external message. The uniform state regulatory designation of DPT will affirm that an entire profession is practicing at a doctoring level."
While state chapters will need to wait until 2025 to initiate any legislative or regulatory change, APTA will immediately begin working out a roadmap for the achievement of this goal. This work will likely involve the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), APTA chapters, state legislative leaders, and other stakeholders. The start date to launch the legislative change in 2025 is an acknowledgement of the time needed to prepare for a uniform change in all US jurisdictions, as well as to time to reach a “critical mass” in which the vast majority of practitioners will have obtained a DPT degree.
The regulatory designation would share an acronym with the doctoral educational degree in physical therapy, but would not substitute for the degree itself, according to the support statement. ."No one is proposing granting degrees unearned," according to the statement. "A unified regulatory designation of DPT demonstrates to our profession and the public the shared competence of the entire profession and the exemplary history of accomplishments in education, research, and practice over the last few decades to arrive at the point where we are recognized as practicing at the doctoring level."
Determining that this is not the right time for a more “permissive” policy on the individuals that should be permitted to perform physical therapist (PT) interventions under the direction and supervision of the PT, the APTA House of Delegates (House) rescinded a 2011 position statement, not yet implemented, that would have supported the expansion of support personnel available to the PT. At the same time, a new House position affirms that APTA can best help PTs and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) navigate the changing health care landscape by encouraging diverse creative approaches to the provision of patient-centered physical therapist delivery of care through consultation, referral, direction and supervision, and interprofessional collaboration. The House reached this agreement after extensive executive session discussion, closed to outside observers and not recorded, at the 2014 House session June 8-10 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The newly adopted policy states that APTA positions and policies are "intended to communicate best practice for physical therapist practice," and are "not intended to limit the development of innovative approaches to physical therapist practice in the evolving health care system."
The related motions and discussion were the result of proposals to refine the position statement, titled "Physical Therapist Responsibility and Accountability for the Delivery of Care," first adopted at the 2011 House and amended in 2012. The position had confirmed that physical therapy is provided by, or under the direction and supervision of, a physical therapist (PT), and that evaluation remains the complete responsibility of the PT. Additionally, the position acknowledged how the changing health care system and the needs of the patient based on the PT’s clinical decision making could have an effect on which personnel the PT may use in treatment, and the nature of those relationships. The actual implementation date had been delayed to allow the association to explore the potential impacts; implement necessary initiatives in education, practice, payment, regulation, and research; and adopt positions, standards, guidelines, policies, and procedures that were consistent with the new position.
As part of the run-up to implementation, a task force was created to carefully examine how APTA might best reflect the position in its policies and other documents. That task force’s report, delivered to the APTA Board of Directors in December of 2013, sparked the Board to ask for a third-party policy analysis. Meanwhile, amendments to the position were readied for 2014 that could have moved the position ahead.
In the end, however, the proposal that won favor with delegates was a new motion to rescind the position altogether and return to the position that the PTA is the only individual permitted to assist a PT in selected interventions, under the PT's direction and supervision. APTA will continue to be responsive to how new models of care and accountability are affecting physical therapy, and the association has reemphasized the importance of member ability to develop innovative practice models that best meet the needs of patients and clients. [RC-3, RC-4, RC-22, RC-23]
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