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  • NPR Features APTA's List of '5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question'

    APTA's list of "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question" is reaching a wider audience by way of a recent National Public Radio (NPR) story in "Shots," its medical news blog.

    In her story "Farewell Heating Pad: Physical Therapists Say It Doesn't Help," reporter Nancy Shute summarizes APTA's recommendations by noting a "pattern" in the list. "The emphasis is on physical activity, and on doing it yourself with the guidance of a physical therapist so you work hard enough to get stronger and don't get hurt."

    The recommendations covered in the NPR story are now part of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation's Choosing Wisely® campaign. APTA member Anthony Delitto PT, PhD, FAPTA, who chaired the workgroup that reviewed member-submitted suggestions for the list, is quoted in the story.

    A downloadable copy of the list with accompanying citations (.pdf) is available at APTA's Center for Integrity in Practice website, and a detailed consumer-friendly explanation of the list is available through APTA and Consumer Reports, which partnered with the association in the creation of the brochure.

    APTA's list for Choosing Wisely is one part of the association's broad Integrity in Practice campaign. Check out the Center for Integrity in Practice for additional resources, including a primer on preventing fraud, abuse, and waste, and an online course on compliance and professional integrity.

    Help Bring Attention to Falls Prevention Awareness Day

    Thinking about fall? Think about falls—or more precisely, how to prevent them.

    September 23 is the first day of autumn, which also happens to be national Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD), and APTA is encouraging its members to spread the word on the importance of reducing fall risk and the important role that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play in the effort.

    The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is once again providing extensive online resources to promote the day, which was recognized through events held in 47 states last year. The site includes links to a FPAD toolkit, a webinar, media resources, and a list of suggested activities.

    APTA also offers a wealth of resources on balance and falls, most of them accessible via the association's Balance and Falls webpage. Offerings range from consumer-focused information including a video, a PT's guide to falls, handouts on falls prevention and physical therapy and the balance system (members-only .pdfs), to PT- and PTA-focused information on how to develop community events on balance, falls, and exercise.

    In addition to planning and consumer-related resources, members can also access several continuing education courses related to falls at the Balance and Falls page, and the PTNow evidence-based practice resource includes a clinical practice guideline on falls and fall injuries in the older adult and a clinical summary on falls risk in community-dwelling elderly people.

    Doing something special in recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Day? E-mail Anita Bemis-Dougherty to share what you’re doing, or take photos of your falls awareness events and share them on Twitter by including the @APTAtweets handle.

    Postacute Care Data Bill Passes House

    Legislation that would standardize data used across postacute care settings has been approved by the US House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

    The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014 (H.R. 4994/S. 2553) passed by voice vote in the House. It is unlikely the Senate will take up the bill before leaving for the elections.

    If it becomes law, IMPACT would instruct the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to standardize patient assessment data, quality, and resource use measures for postacute care providers including home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals. A June PT in Motion News story outlined the major provisions of the legislation.

    APTA has been working to influence this legislation and will continue to monitor its progress.

    Bill Introduced in Senate Would Allow PTs to Bring in Another PT During Absences

    A version of a bill that would allow physical therapists (PTs) in private practice to provide Medicare patients continuity of care in the PT's absence has been introduced in the US Senate. Like its companion bill introduced in the US House of Representatives last year, the Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act (H.R. 3426/S. 2818) would expand so-called "locum tenens" arrangements to include PTs.

    Locum tenens provisions allow health care providers to bring in another licensed provider to treat Medicare patients and bill Medicare through the practice provider number during temporary absences for illness, pregnancy, vacation, or continuing medical education. Current law only extends locum tenens to doctors of medicine, osteopathy, dental surgery, podiatric medicine, optometry, and chiropractic, forcing PTs in private practice to avoid absences or risk gaps in patient and client care.

    APTA and its Private Practice Section (PPS) collaborated on pressing for the legislation which was introduced by Sens Chuck Grassley (IA) and Bob Casey (PA). "This legislation seeks to eliminate an unnecessary limitation on our ability to practice and provide excellent continuous care," said PPS President Tom DiAngelis, PT, DPT. "We commend Senators Grassley and Casey for taking an important step to ensure a patient’s access to uninterrupted physical therapy."

    APTA has advocated for this issue as an easy technical fix bill that should be linked to larger Medicare reforms that are moving through congress. The locum tenens legislation has continued to gain awareness and cosponsorship in the House, and APTA will now advocate for Senate support.

    APTA will monitor the progress of the bill and will post updates to its locum tenens webpage. Resources on the website include a podcast on the importance of this legislation and information on how PTs can get involved in advocating for its passage.