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  • APTA: Disability Rights Convention Should Be Approved

    APTA has added its voice to the long list of supporters of an international treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities, stating that it fits squarely within the association's vision of transforming society. The letter of support from APTA coincided with rallies held on Capitol Hill to press Senate passage of the United Nations (UN) Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that would establish protections against discrimination and support equal access to education, among other basic human rights.

    The UN drafted the CRPD in large part as a response to nations that, unlike the US, do not clearly articulate the rights of persons with disabilities. "Because of discriminatory practices, persons with disabilities tend to live in the shadows and margins of society, and as a result their rights are overlooked," write the convention's authors. "A universal, legally binding standard is needed to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are guaranteed everywhere."

    Nearly 150 countries have already signed the treaty. The CRPD needs Senate approval only but requires a supermajority for passage.

    "APTA commends the purpose of this treaty, as the CRPD embodies the values of the ADA," writes APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, in the letter of support. "As a profession committed to 'transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience,' we support this initiative to facilitate equal access to patients we serve across the lifespan."

    It was unclear at the time of this writing whether the CRPD would be taken up by the Senate before the session's close on August 1. Participants in 2 rallies set for July 29 aim to convince the Senate to move on the treaty before leaving town.

    Medicare Insolvency Deadline Improves, SGR Not Incorporated in Projections

    It's far from rosy, but Medicare trustees are pointing to a slightly improved financial picture for the future of the program's trust fund, and they are no longer incorporating savings from the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) in their projections.

    According to an article in Modern Healthcare (free access after sign-on), the Part A hospital insurance trust fund is now projected to be depleted by 2030, 4 years later than last year's projections. In 2012, the insolvency date was projected to be 2024. Medicare spending is projected to rise from 3.5% of GDP to 5.5% in the next 25 years.

    As part of its projection process, the trustees used figures that did not incorporate cuts achieved through the SGR, assuming instead that Congress would replace the cuts with annual .6% raises. Congress has created workarounds to avoid cuts required for the flawed SGR every year since its inception, and in 2013 came very close to ending the SGR permanently. APTA and many other health care organizations have long opposed the SGR.

    The trustee report attributes the improved projections to savings realized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but warns that ultimately the program will run out of money. Trustee Robert Reischauer is quoted in the Modern Healthcare story as saying that Medicare is "fiscally unsustainable over the long run."

    PT Recruitment Video Also a Great Reminder

    The life of a physical therapist (PT) can be frustrating and exhausting to be sure—that's why every now and then it's good to take a couple of minutes to slow down and think about why you joined the profession in the first place.

    And if you need some reminders, APTA has you covered.

    Now available on the association's YouTube channel—a short video featuring PTs talking about why they chose their profession. Technically, it's a student recruitment video that you could share with anyone considering the profession, but it's also a great way for an experienced PT to recharge.

    PTs featured in the video offer lots of reasons for their professional choice, ranging from their own childhood experiences with physical therapy, to the ways the profession blends exercise and science, to the opportunities to do real good for people in need. Their reasons are diverse, but they share an obvious love for what they do.

    Check it out, and maybe get reacquainted with your own passion for physical therapy.

    For even more inspiration, read or listen to members’ accounts of their personal passion for physical therapy in “Defining Moment,” PT in Motion magazine’s recurring column. Find them in the PT in Motion archives of every issue (titled “This Is Why” prior to June 2014), and as APTA podcasts.