• Monday, September 15, 2014RSS Feed

    Choosing Wisely: APTA Releases List of Procedures That PTs and Patients Should Question

    Passive physical agents that aren’t part of an active treatment plan, under-dosed strength training for older adults, and the use of whirlpools for wound management are among the "5 Things That Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question," according to a list recently announced by APTA. The list, developed through member suggestions and refined by an expert panel, is now part of a national campaign that encourages patients and health care providers to talk about whether a given procedure is really necessary based on the patient's individual circumstances.

    The list announced today is part of APTA's partnership with the Choosing Wisely® campaign from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation. The initiative aims to help consumers make informed health care choices by providing lists of procedures that tend to be done frequently, yet whose usefulness is called into question by evidence. APTA is the first nonphysician group to release a list, joining more than 50 medical specialty societies.

    "A well-informed patient is a well-treated patient," said APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, in a news release. "The Choosing Wisely campaign addresses the patient's role in good health care, and we are happy to join this effort."

    The 5 recommendations are:

    • Don’t employ passive physical agents except when necessary to facilitate participation in an active treatment program.
    • Don’t prescribe under-dosed strength training programs for older adults. Instead, match the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise to the individual’s abilities and goals.
    • Don’t recommend bed rest following diagnosis of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after the initiation of anti-coagulation therapy unless significant medical concerns are present.
    • Don’t use continuous passive motion machines for the postoperative management of patients following uncomplicated total knee replacement.
    • Don’t use whirlpool for wound management.

    The process for developing the list began with an open call for APTA members to submit their lists of questionable procedures. After receiving more than 170 submissions, APTA convened an expert group of physical therapists from a wide range of practice settings and areas of clinical expertise. The group reviewed all nominations and conducted extensive literature reviews to narrow down the list to 9 procedures. The list of 9 was presented to the 88,000 members of APTA, who voted on the final 5.

    To help patients and clients understand what APTA’s Choosing Wisely recommendations mean for them, APTA has partnered with Consumer Reports to create a free consumer-friendly summary, which will also be made available in Spanish. Consumer Reports already has reached more than 100 million consumers with Choosing Wisely information through its network of consumer communications partners.

    APTA's Choosing Wisely list is also the subject of a ProfessionWatch paper e-published ahead of print in Physical Therapy. The paper details the process of the list's development and provides professional context for APTA's decision to partner with the ABIM Foundation in Choosing Wisely.

    The partnership is a component of the larger APTA Integrity in Practice campaign, an effort to support the profession of physical therapy as a leader in the elimination of fraud, abuse, and waste in health care. An APTA Center for Integrity in Practice has been created and will be developing resources throughout the course of the campaign, but already offers a primer on preventing fraud, abuse, and waste, and an online course on compliance and professional integrity.

    "Care that is best for the patient has always been a priority for APTA," Rockar said. "Choosing Wisely is an outstanding effort, and its mission to foster better, more efficient care through informative dialogue between patients and health care providers dovetails perfectly with the goal of our Integrity in Practice campaign."





    Monday, September 15, 2014RSS Feed

    Otto Payton, Noted Physical Therapy Author, APTA Fellow, Dies

    Physical therapy leader Otto D. Payton, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Catherine Worthingham fellow and author of the seminal Research in Clinical Practice, died September 4 in Richmond, Virginia. He was 84.

    Professor emeritus of physical therapy at the Medical College of Virginia campus at Virginia Commonwealth University, Payton was an internationally known lecturer and author, as well as a practicing physical therapist for more than 50 years. He edited the Journal of Physical Therapy Education and served as chairman of the editorial board for the Clinics in Physical Therapy series of books throughout its 33-volume publication history.

    In addition to Research in Clinical Practice, Payton authored or coauthored several texts including Patient Participation in Program Planning, Psychosocial Aspects of Clinical Practice, and Treatment Planning for Rehabilitation: A Patient-Centered Approach.

    Payton received the Jules M. Rothstein Golden Pen Award for Scientific Writing from APTA in 1981 and the Lucy Blair Service Award in 1988. He became a Catherine Worthingham fellow in 1993.

    In an oral history available for loan from APTA, Payton also mentions that he served on the Maryland physical therapist examining board with Florence and Henry Kendall, and was an early chair of the Physical Therapy Fund, the predecessor of the Foundation for Physical Therapy.

    He is survived by his daughter, Colleen M. Payton, and granddaughters, Jane Yoon and Meredyth Yoon.


    Friday, September 12, 2014RSS Feed

    Move Forward Radio Shines a Spotlight on Childhood Cancer

    In recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, this week Move Forward Radio showcased the impact that physical therapists (PTs) can have on the lives of children with cancer by sharing the story of Mathias Giordano.

    A 13-year-old with osteosarcoma, Mathias had his lower right leg amputated during his battle with cancer in the hopes of remaining as active as possible, and with the goal of returning to the soccer field.

    Before the amputation, Mathias started seeing Mike Reing, PT, MSPT, OCS, and the 2 formed a special bond.

    "I can't save anyone's life; that's not my role," Reing told Move Forward Radio. "But my job for Mathias is, 'All right, let's do everything we can to preserve his quality of life.' And my definition of [quality of life] doesn't really matter. What matters is his [definition]."

    Mathias's mother, Roya Giordano, said that physical therapy has been "incredibly meaningful and important" in her son's journey.

    "Having Mike on our team has been the biggest blessing of all, because Mathias and Mike established a relationship that no one else has," she said.

    Move Forward Radio airs approximately twice a month. Episodes are featured and archived at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA's official consumer information website, and can be streamed online via Blog Talk Radio or downloaded as podcasts via iTunes.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients and clients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a PT. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be e-mailed to consumer@apta.org.


    Friday, September 12, 2014RSS Feed

    Volunteers Needed for 2 APTA Task Forces

    Opportunities are now available for APTA members to serve on the Excellence in Physical Therapist Education and Scope of Practice task forces, but applications for the positions must be completed by October 2.

    The first step is to fill out an interest profile on the Volunteer Interest Pool webpage. Once completed, click on the "Apply for Current Vacancies"button and select the task force you're interested in joining. Details on all volunteer groups can be found on APTA's Volunteer Groups webpage.

    APTA relies heavily on its volunteers, who in turn gain valuable leadership and growth opportunities while working with some of the most outstanding physical therapists in the country.


    Friday, September 12, 2014RSS Feed

    Free Webinar Will Focus on Aquatic Interventions for OA

    An upcoming 30-minute "Lunch and Learn" free webinar from the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA) will focus on the latest thinking around aquatic exercise interventions. The session will be held September 17 beginning at 12:00 pm ET.

    The presentation will feature Dennis Dolny, PhD, and Eadric Bressel, PhD, professors in the department of health, physical education, and recreation at Utah State University. Dolny's work has included research on techniques to monitor skeletal muscle activity while walking and running in water. Bressel's biomechanics laboratory focuses on relationships between anatomical structures, mechanics, and injuries, with specific emphasis on aquatics-based research.

    Registration for the event is available online, and the slide presentation for the webinar can be viewed in advance. OAAA archives its Lunch and Learn webinars for use at a later time. APTA is a member of OAAA.


    Thursday, September 11, 2014RSS Feed

    Patient Support for Home-Based Telemedicine Growing but Barriers Remain

    More patients are willing than not to consider staying at home for video-based appointments with a health care provider, but the consumer demand for such an option still has a way to go before it could be characterized as overwhelming, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic.

    In a survey of 263 patients who recently received outpatient treatment at the Mayo Clinic Center, researchers found that about 66% of respondents said that they were "somewhat likely" (28.1%) or "very likely" (38%) to accept an invitation to meet with their provider by way of video from their homes. The survey included questions about familiarity with video calls, what kinds of technology patients owned, patient assessments of the value of video appointments, and costs of travel to the local institution, among other topics. Findings were published in the September issue of Telemedicine and e-HEALTH.

    Not unexpectedly, researchers found a high correlation between a patient's willingness to consider a home-based video appointment and that patient's experience with video calls and the technology involved. Other drivers included age and distance from home to the health care institution—generally the younger and farther away, the more likely the patient was to consider a video appointment. Actual prevalence of the technology was less of an issue, with 75% of respondents reporting that they had a broadband Internet connection—although only 36% had a web camera.

    The real problem, according to authors of the research, is that patients opposed to video appointments are unlikely to change their minds without some significant work on the part of health care providers and others—and that work may have to focus on issues beyond the technology itself. "Of the 4 primary concerns to address," authors write, "3 of the 4 express concern not about logistics of the connection, privacy, or security of the medium … but about the general preferences of face-to-face over video communication. To shift perceptions about the medium may require deploying a focused communication strategy … encouraging the use of the system on a trial basis, or simply allowing technology use behavior to catch up with what technology enables."

    The study describes overall patient demand for video appointments as "nascent," and asserts that growth will be highly dependent on sensitivity to multiple patient factors—something that Matt Elrod, PT, DPT, MEd, NCS, senior practice specialist at APTA believes is crucial to telemedicine's success. "The technology behind telehealth is exciting and presents many opportunities for patients and providers," he said, "but the true benefits of telehealth are realized when it is used for the right patient at the right time and incorporates the patient's, wants, needs, and preferences."

    More resources on telehealth and physical therapy practice can be found at APTA's Telehealth webpage.


    Thursday, September 11, 2014RSS Feed

    2015 Medicare Changes: Are You Ready?

    It's no surprise that Medicare has changes in store for 2015 payment policies. But the changes themselves could be surprising if you're not prepared.

    Physical therapists (PTs) in home health, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing facilities can get up to speed on the changes, many of which directly affect physical therapy in postacute care settings, by signing up for a 90-minute APTA webinar on what Medicare has in store for 2015. The program is set for October 16 beginning at 2:00 pm ET, and will cover new Medicare definitions, changes to how therapy minutes are recorded, changes to postacute care quality reporting, and more.

    Participants in the live event will be able to pose questions to the presenters, and will also receive a preview of the upcoming 2014 APTA Postacute Care Compliance Seminar. Cost for the webinar is $99 for APTA members and $169 for nonmembers, which includes on-demand access to the webinar for later viewing. The session will provide 0.2 CEUs (2.0 contact hours/CCUs).

    More information and registration instructions are available at the APTA Learning Center.


    Thursday, September 11, 2014RSS Feed

    APTA Grassroots 'Flash Action' Campaign Delivers Message on Concussion

    In the largest grassroots effort on concussions in APTA history, members, students, and patients sent a loud-and-clear message to members of Congress: greater attention needs to be paid to youth sports concussion, and physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play an important role in managing these injuries.

    The concussion message was the focus of this year's Flash Action Strategy FAS), a student-led advocacy campaign that took place September 8-10. In the span of 72 hours, FAS participants sent letters to every member of Congress through APTA's Legislative Action Center (LAC) and Patient Action Center (PAC) asking them to support the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act (H.R. 3532) and the Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth Act (SAFE PLAY Act) (S. 2718/H.R. 5324). Organizers estimate that the FAS required about a minute of a participant's time.

    Although the official FAS wrapped up on September 10, members and others interested in delivering messages to legislators can still get in the game by contacting legislators through the LAC and PAC.

    "Once again the partnership between APTA and the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors set the stage for a great advocacy effort," said Justin Moore, DPT, vice president, public policy, practice, and professional affairs at APTA. "We are grateful to all of the members, patients, and others who spoke out on this important issue. We've moved the ball down the field on concussion awareness."

    Interested in getting involved in APTA’s advocacy efforts throughout the year? Join the PTeam online or on the APTA Action App. You can also support the PT-PAC by contributing to the $20 campaign.


    Wednesday, September 10, 2014RSS Feed

    Light-Intensity Short Walks Can Prevent LE Vascular Damage Caused by Sitting

    Long bouts of sitting can have serious effects on blood flow that could increase risk of cardiovascular disease, but a new study proposes that lower extremity vascular damage can be prevented by walking as few as 5 minutes every hour—and not even at a particularly fast pace.

    In a study e-published ahead of print in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (abstract only available for free), researchers from Indiana University monitored the ways in which the superficial femoral artery reacted to 3 hours of sitting without leg movement, and compared those results with study participants who took 5-minute walks at 2 miles per hour every hour. What they found was that prolonged sitting does lead to a "significant impairment" in endothelial function, but that the short walks prevented the damage from taking place altogether.

    The study was limited to 12 nonsmoking men in their 20s who did not meet the physical activity guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and were not taking any anti-hypertensive, lipid lowering, or anti-diabetic medications. Assessments were based on measurements of mean shear rates and flow-mediated dilation of the superficial femoral artery just above the knee.

    "Uninterrupted sitting leads to a progressive decline in antegrade and mean shear rate and corresponding impairment in endothelial function," authors write. "We can hypothesize that repeated bouts of prolonged sitting may contribute to vascular aging, at least in the lower extremities."

    But walking made all the difference. "Even this very light-intensity physical activity prevented the decline … and may explain the protective effect against sitting-induced impairment," they write. "We believe our observations further the argument to have structured public health guidelines on limiting sitting time."

    The study was featured in both the Washington Post and United Press International. Earlier research on the cardiovascular risks of prolonged sitting has been reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (.pdf) and elsewhere.

    Research-related stories featured in PT in Motion News are intended to highlight a topic of interest only and do not constitute an endorsement by APTA. For synthesized research and evidence-based practice information, visit the association's PTNow website.


    Wednesday, September 10, 2014RSS Feed

    'Movement Is Life' Accepting Abstracts, Posters

    Abstracts and poster proposals are now being accepted for the Movement is Life Caucus, a gathering that will focus on the role of early intervention in decreasing musculoskeletal health disparities among women and minorities.

    The 2014 caucus will be held at the Washington Marriott Metro Center in Washington, DC, November 13–14. The submission deadline is October 1, and participants must register for the caucus to have their submissions considered for possible presentation. Registration is free.

    Movement is Life's (MIL) mission is to decrease disparities by raising awareness of their impact on chronic disease management and quality of life. The organization works to slow musculoskeletal disease progression, reduce disability, and encourage physical activity and daily movement to improve the overall health of the nation. APTA is a member of the MIL steering committee.

    For more information, contact Rene Malone.


    Tuesday, September 09, 2014RSS Feed

    Inexpensive Graphene and Rubber Band Composite Could Be the Future of Body Movement Sensors

    The next generation of body motion sensors may be a combination of low and high tech: researchers have found that common rubber bands infused with graphene produce adaptable and accurate sensors capable of functioning at high strain rates, all at a materials cost of "essentially zero."

    Researchers from Surrey University and Trinity College Dublin were able to create "G-bands," body sensors that they claim check all the needed boxes when it comes to monitoring everything from heart rate to high-force, high-velocity joint and muscle movements—they're cheap, lightweight, stretchable, and sensitive. "One can envisage weaving G-band based sensors into clothing to monitor the motion of athletes or patients undergoing rehabilitation," authors write. The results of the research were recently published in the journal ACS Nano.

    The G-bands were created by infusing rubber bands with graphene, a 1-atom-thick layer of carbon molecules capable of conducting electricity. Graphene is able to maintain its ability to conduct throughout stretching and twisting, a quality "generally not compatible with traditional silicon/metal-based electronics," according to authors. The G-bands deliver information even at strains above 800%, they write, and "demonstrate impressive performance as kinesthetic motion sensors, detecting motions as subtle as those associated with breathing and pulse."

    "Ultimately, one can imagine a wearable network of G-bands performing wellness monitoring by continuous recording of functions," authors write. They add that the low cost "will make it possible to roll out G-band based sensors extremely widely; for example, facilitating use in the developing world."


    Tuesday, September 09, 2014RSS Feed

    Business Associate Agreements Must Be Updated by September 22

    September 22 is the deadline for meeting new HIPAA rules on some types of business associate agreements, and APTA is reminding members to make sure they're compliant.

    The HIPAA Omnibus final rule that was published in January 2013 requires that all business associate agreements entered into before January 25, 2013, be updated. A template of the HIPAA-compliant business associate agreement can be found at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website and on APTA’s HIPAA Resource webpage under the “Model Business Associate Contract Language” link.

    HIPAA requires covered business entities and associates to enter into agreements that outline the provisions necessary to safeguard protected health information. The rule defines a “business associate” as “a person or entity, other than a member of the workforce of a covered entity, who performs functions or activities on behalf of, or provides certain services to, a covered entity that involve access by the business associate to protected health information.” A subcontractor that creates, receives, maintains, or transmits protected health information on behalf of another business associate may also be a “business associate.”

    Although HHS provides a business associate agreement template, it’s wise to tailor the template to your business relationship(s). It’s also wise to consult with an experienced health law attorney in your state when entering into or revising agreements so that the agreement is in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws.


    Tuesday, September 09, 2014RSS Feed

    APTA on Capitol Hill to Push for Lymphedema Coverage

    APTA believes Medicare coverage of lymphedema treatment should be expanded, and the association is helping to bring momentum to the issue by participating in a congressional briefing on the condition. The briefing and other activities are part of Lymphedema Lobby Days on Capitol Hill, and are part of a push for a new law that would increase coverage.

    The September 9 briefing seeks to bolster legislator support for the Lymphedema Treatment Act (H.R. 3877), a bill introduced by Rep Dave Reichart (WA-8) that seeks to provide Medicare coverage and payment for lymphedema treatment items and supplies. APTA is a supporter of the bill, and APTA Board of Directors member and lymphedema specialist Nicole Stout, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA is a member of the expert panel speaking at the briefing.

    In a letter to Reichart, APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, notes that "many of these [lymphedema-related] items and services are either not covered or are only covered on a limited basis. Passage of this legislation would ensure access to these supplies for individuals with lymphatic impairments and conditions." Rockar also points out the crucial role physical therapists play in the treatment of lymphedema and in patient education on how to avoid injury and infection, improve skin care, and modify diet to decrease fluid retention.

    APTA staff will monitor the progress of the bill and update members with news and opportunities for advocacy.


    Monday, September 08, 2014RSS Feed

    'Alternative' CR Programs, Better Reimbursement Both Necessary to Close Care Gap

    A recent survey of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) centers across the US has found that even if current facilities were able to expand modestly, more than half of the US patients in need of CR would remain unserved—a care gap that can only be filled through alternative delivery models and significant changes to reimbursement policies, according the study's authors.

    The study, published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention (abstract only available for free), is based on survey results from 252 CR programs asked to assess their current utilization, current capacity, and potential expansion capacity. The bottom line: most were not running at capacity and could increase services by about 33% without having to expand—and by 68% "if they were given reasonable resources to expand."

    As unlikely as such expansion may be, authors write, the real issue is that even in the rosiest of scenarios in which staffing, facility, insurance copay, and other obstacles resolve themselves favorably, a full 33% of patients in need of CR would still go without due to lack of capacity. "As currently structured and staffed, center-based CR programs simply do not have the capacity, by themselves, to provide services to all eligible patients—even in the setting of perfect referral and enrollment," authors write.

    Authors believe that the current underutilization of CR has more to do with the structural and financial barriers encountered by the programs, and not patient behavior. These barriers, which include high copays, low reimbursements, and a limited range of conditions for which insurance companies will cover CR, make it difficult for the programs to make even marginal progress in addressing current gaps.

    Still, authors write, changes to when and at what level insurance companies cover CR won't themselves cover the shortfall in care—there simply isn't enough capacity. One solution? The development of alternative CR programs.

    "Our data suggest that alternative models of CR delivery will need to be explored and implemented to substantially increase national CR participation rates," they write, suggesting "group-based CR programs in community centers, home-based programs, and web-based methods" to provide the care. Combined with changes to reimbursement policy, authors believe better participation rates could be achievable. "If additional alternative models of CR delivery … were developed as additional options for patients," they write, "it seems possible that participation rates of >80% could become possible."

    Research-related stories featured in PT in Motion News are intended to highlight a topic of interest only and do not constitute an endorsement by APTA. For synthesized research and evidence-based practice information, visit the association's PTNow website.


    Monday, September 08, 2014RSS Feed

    PTNow Blog: Fall for One and One for Fall?

    Been waiting for that "singular test that will, with 100% accuracy, predict who will fall?"

    Keep waiting.

    According to the latest PTNow blog, no such test exists—which is why sound clinical judgment and careful matching of patient to test are critical. There are good falls risk tests out there, according to the blog, but they need to be used appropriately.

    And yet, the blog argues, even if no single test can do the trick, there may be a "magic elixir for falls prevention" after all. Check out the blog for the recipe, and join the conversation.


    Friday, September 05, 2014RSS Feed

    New CDC Obesity Map Shows Rates Remain High Everywhere

    And the most obese state is … well it's a tie, actually.

    Mississippi and West Virginia topped the list of states in rates of self-reported obesity, both with a 35.1% rate. At the low end of the scale, Colorado, with a 21.3% rate, was followed closely by Hawaii, which came in at 21.8%. The numbers are part of the annual US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Obesity Prevalence Maps" report, released this week.

    The report is based on responses to telephone surveys conducted in 2013 by the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey System (BRFSS), which collects data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 US territories.

    Among the findings:

    • The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (30.2%), with the Midwest not far behind (30.1%). The Northeast (26.5%) and West (24.9%) were lower.
    • Between 2011 and 2013, non-Hispanic blacks reported the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity (37.6%), followed by Hispanics (30.6%), and non-Hispanic whites (26.6%).

    When compared with statistics from 2012, the 2013 rates show a continued rise in obesity in the US, as outlined in the table below

    Self-Reported Obesity Prevalence

    < 20%

    20%-25%

    25%-30%

    30%-35%

    > 35%

    # states in 2013

    0

    7

    23

    18

    2

    # states in 2012

    0

    10

    22

    13

    0


    APTA strongly supports the promotion of physical activity and its value in obesity prevention, maintaining a healthy weight, and assisting in weight loss. APTA has representatives on the board of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, and offers several resources on obesity, including continuing education on childhood obesity, and a prevention and wellness webpage that links to podcasts on the harmful effects of inactivity.


    Friday, September 05, 2014RSS Feed

    Education Leadership Fellowship Opportunities Available

    New and emerging physical therapist (PT) and physical therapist assistant (PTA) academic, residency, and fellowship directors will once again have an opportunity to hone their leadership skills through a one-of-a-kind learning program now accepting applications.

    APTA's American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education's (ABPTRFE) accredited Education Leadership Institute (ELI) Fellowship is a yearlong invitational learning experience designed to instruct early-career directors in facilitating change, thinking strategically, and engaging in efforts to advance the physical therapy profession. The program is a blended learning experience that combines online and onsite instruction with experienced mentorship.

    Applicants to the program are selected based on the strength of their applications and meeting all eligibility criteria. Application submission deadline is December 1, 2014, at 5:00 pm ET. To learn more about the program, visit the ELI webpage.

    ELI is a collaborative program with ABPTRFE, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy, the APTA Education Section, the Physical Therapist Assistant Educators Special Interest Group, and APTA.


    Friday, September 05, 2014RSS Feed

    Don't Forget World Physical Therapy Day September 8

    There's still time to gear up for World Physical Therapy Day on Monday, September 8—don't miss out!

    This year the theme is "Fit to Take Part," emphasizing the physical therapy’s role in helping people with long-term illnesses or disabilities fulfill their potential by maximizing movement and functional ability.

    To help physical therapists and physical therapist assistants get the word out, the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) is offering a toolkit that includes designs for banners, stickers, and t-shirts, as well as press releases and informational booklets. New this year: several posters available in Spanish.

    APTA is a WCPT member organization.


    Friday, September 05, 2014RSS Feed

    APTA's Honors and Awards Program Accepting Nominations

    Help your colleagues or students receive the recognition they deserve by nominating them for an APTA national honor or award.

    Each year APTA celebrates members' outstanding achievements in the areas of education, practice and service, publications, research, academic excellence, the Catherine Worthingham Fellows of APTA, the Mary McMillan Lecture, and the John H.P. Maley Lecture. Award recipients are recognized in June with a ceremony and reception at the NEXT Conference and Exposition.

    The 2015 call for nominations is now open and will close December 1, 2014. The electronic submission process is quick and easy; go to APTA's Honors and Awards page, and click on the specific honor, award, or scholarship to obtain guidelines, requirements, and a link to the online submission site.


    Friday, September 05, 2014RSS Feed

    Lots of Free Webinars This Month

    September. 'Tis the season for football, yellowing goldenrod, chilly nights by a bonfire … and apparently, webinars. Lots of webinars. All free.

    Mark your calendars for the following online sessions—all but 1 provided by Healthy People —2020—to learn more about a range of health and prevention issues:

    September 9, 1:00–2:00 pm, ET  

    "Prevention and Population Health Education Across the Health Professions"

    This is an hour-long session on "the role that prevention and population health can play in advancing interprofessional education," brought to you by Healthy People 2020. Learn more and register here.

    September 10, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm, ET

    "US Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth"

    Learn more about the activity report card that has been described as a "wake-up call" for more emphasis on regular physical activity in the lives of young people. Sponsored by the National Physical Activity Plan. Learn more and register here.

    September 18, 12:00–1:00 pm, ET

    "Who's Leading the Leading Health Indicators? Webinar: Environmental Quality"

    A Healthy People 2020 presentation that provides a case study on how one organization is improving health by improving air quality in its community, and offers tips on resources on addressing this issue in your community. Learn more and register here.

    September 25, 12:30–2:00 pm, ET

    "Promoting and Measuring Well-Being and Health-Related Quality of Life"

    Learn how health-related quality of life and well-being outcomes are measured, and why they're important. Learn more and register here.

    September 29, 12:30–2:00 pm

    "Prevention, Treatment, and Care of Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease"

    This Healthy People 2020 review will address the organization's progress on objectives in advancing treatment and care of these diseases. Learn more and register here.


    Friday, September 05, 2014RSS Feed

    After Record-Low Rates of Increase, Health Spending Likely to Rise by 6% Annually Over Next Decade

    After historically low rates of growth in the wake of the Great Recession, health care spending is projected to rise by 5.6% in 2014, and will likely see average growth rates of 6% 2015–2023, according to a new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published in Health Affairs.

    A gradually improving economy and aging baby boomers will serve as primary drivers in the increased spending, which will be offset to a degree by "slower growth in Medicare payment rates mandated by health law, cuts made to hospitals and doctors in the congressional budget-cutting efforts, and the increasing use of higher deductibles in private insurance plans," according to a report from Kaiser Health News.

    The CMS report received widespread coverage, and nearly as interesting as the report itself is a Kaiser Health News summary of how various news outlets chose to characterize the predictions as everything ranging from the numbers confirming that "a feared surge in spending isn't happening" (Politico) to the predictions describing "substantial increases over the next decade, expected to be driven by increased coverage due to the Affordable Care Act" (Fox News).


    Thursday, September 04, 2014RSS Feed

    CPG Development Proposals Due September 15

    APTA will provide financial and training support for the development of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for physical therapist practice, but proposals need to be submitted by September 15 to be considered in this review cycle.

    Proposals for CPG development must focus on clinical practice areas that are important and relevant to the practice of physical therapy, and be supported and submitted by an APTA section. Each proposal will be considered individually, and awards of up to $10,000 may be granted based on the relevance to practice and the strength of the proposal.

    The support program is part of an initiative to provide structure, process, and resources for the development of CPGs that enable the translation of research into physical therapist (PT) practice. The CPG development project is part of a larger association goal to better enable PTs to consistently use evidence-based best practice to improve the quality of life of their patients and clients.

    Proposals for the current review cycle are due September 15. For more information or for a copy of the proposal submission document, contact Anita Bemis-Dougherty, director, Practice Department, at anitabemis-dougherty@apta.org or call 800/999-2782, ext 3176.


    Thursday, September 04, 2014RSS Feed

    Get Involved: Flash Action September 8-10 Will Focus on PTs and Concussion Management

    Led by students in physical therapist (PT) and physical therapist assistant (PTA) programs, APTA members will focus their energies on advocating for the role of PTs and PTAs in the management of youth sports concussions when this year's Flash Action Strategy (FAS) takes place September 8-10. The innovative concentrated advocacy effort will use the APTA Legislative Action Center to contact members of Congress to effect change in this crucial area of health care—and you're invited to be part of the action.

    Getting involved is easy. APTA has prepared resources and provided a prewritten letter on this issue. Beginning Monday, September 8, APTA members can e-mail their legislators using the Legislative Action Center. Nonmembers and patients can use the Patient Action Center. You can also watch the announcements on the APTA Student Assembly Facebook page and Twitter feed (@APTASA) for updates on this important advocacy initiative. In the meantime, spread the word using graphics available for download on the FAS webpage!

    Last year's FAS supporting the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act was the most successful advocacy effort in APTA history, with nearly 21,000 letters sent to Congress in only 72 hours. Hopes are that this year's effort will break that record. The FAS is a student-led campaign organized by the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors in conjunction with APTA.

    Details on the FAS, and a video that provides some background to the effort, are available on the Flash Action Strategy webpage.





    Thursday, September 04, 2014RSS Feed

    ICD-10 Testing Dates Announced

    After several delays, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is now ready to test its International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) system with providers before the October 1, 2015, startup date for use of the new codes. APTA is encouraging members to participate in the testing program to make sure that their own systems, billing companies, and clearinghouses are ready for the changeover.

    The testing program will be held over 3 separate weeklong sessions—one this November 17-21, and 2 in 2015, March 2-6 and June 1-5. Members only need to sign up for 1 session to find out whether their Medicare administrative contractor (MAC) will be able to accept claims with the new codes. The MACs will post information on how to participate in the tests. More information on the program can also be found in a Medicare Leaning Network bulletin (.pdf).


    Thursday, September 04, 2014RSS Feed

    WCPT President, Vice President Candidates Announced

    Candidates for World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) president and vice president have been announced and will be finalized at the confederation's General Meeting.

    One candidate has been announced for each position. Emma Stokes, currently WCPT’s vice president, has been nominated for president by WCPT member organizations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Lebanon, Malta, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom and the US. Margot Skinner, the Executive Committee member from the Asia Western Pacific Region of WCPT, has been nominated for vice president by member organizations in Bermuda, New Zealand, and Singapore.

    While there is only 1 candidate for each position, it is WCPT’s practice to hold a ballot at the General Meeting. Over the coming weeks, further information about both candidates will be published in WCPT News and on the WCPT website. Candidate CVs and statements will also be included in the General Meeting papers. The new term of office will begin at the close of WCPT Congress 2015 in Singapore in May. APTA is a member organization of WCPT.

    Keep up with the world of physical therapy: registration is now open for the 2015 WCPT Congress in Singapore, May 1–4. Attendees who register before the October 2 deadline can save up to 20%.


    Wednesday, September 03, 2014RSS Feed

    Next PT in Motion Magazine Cover Is Up to You

    Once again, PT in Motion magazine is letting members decide which design will adorn the upcoming issue. For October, editorial staff is proposing 3 designs and asking members to vote on their favorite cover to illustrate our annual edition of the "Best States for PT Practice." The design that receives the most votes will be the next cover.

    Take the quick and simple survey by September 8. Just pick the design you think is likely to get you to open up the magazine, and then check out the October issue to feel the dizzying vindication as a finger-on-the-pulse design pro—or the edifying loneliness of the genius whose artistic vision is woefully under-appreciated, depending on how the voting turns out, of course.


    Wednesday, September 03, 2014RSS Feed

    Report Predicts Coming PT, PTA Shortage in US

    A combination of a dip in the "natural rate of unemployment" and changed labor force numbers associated with the aging of the baby boomer population will likely place physical therapy among the professions experiencing a significant labor shortage over the next decade, according to a new study from The Conference Board.

    In its report "From Not Enough Jobs to Not Enough Workers," the corporate research organization analyzes likely labor market trends in North America, Europe, and Asia and finds that the recent global recession has only "postponed" the coming changes through lingering high unemployment rates. Once those rates begin to drop—as they already have in Canada and Germany—the demographic shift in the workforce will begin to take hold and create relatively rapid labor shortages in a majority of the 464 occupations studied in the report.

    According to a press release from the Conference Board, the US will likely see labor shortages in 3 broad areas: health-related occupations, skilled labor, and jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Among the needed health occupations, the report specifically cites physical therapy and occupational therapy as potential areas of labor shortage, with overall need heightened by a greater demand for health care in general among an aging population. The report received coverage from the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek.

    Most of APTA's projections continue to show physical therapy as a growing profession, with projected unmet demand ranging from 13,638 to 27,820 physical therapist (PT) full-time equivalents (FTEs) over the next 5 years depending on the attrition rate of PTs over time. The total number of licensed PTs is projected to rise from about 176,000 to between 203,000 and 232,000 by 2020. The supply and demand data are part of a suite of resources on the physical therapy workforce available on APTA's website.

    Keep up with APTA's work to support PTs and PTAs in the labor market: check out the association's Workforce Education and Legislation webpage.


    Wednesday, September 03, 2014RSS Feed

    APTA Comments on PFS, HHPPS, OPPS, DMEPOS Proposed Rules

    The 2015 physician fee schedule (PFS), home health prospective payment system (HHPPS), outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS), and durable medical equipment prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) are the subjects of newly available APTA comments on proposed rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

    In the PFS letter (.pdf), APTA raises concerns about the therapy cap and urges timely congressional action. The association also writes that while it supports improved transparency in the valuation of current procedural terminology (CPT) codes, CMS should hold off on implementation of any changes until 2017 and should allow the CPT Editorial Panel to continue its work to develop a new coding structure for the 97000 series. Other areas addressed in the letter include substitute physician billing arrangements (locum tenens), the Medicare Shared Savings Program, the physician quality reporting system (PQRS), and a CMS proposal to expand the value-based modifier program to nonphysicians.

    APTA's letter on the HHPPS (.pdf) makes recommendations on a number of issues, including urging CMS to reduce rebasing percentage cuts and to overhaul therapy payment under the HHPPS. The association also commends CMS on its efforts to simplify therapy reassessment by removing 13- and 19-day timeframes, and recommends that it extend timeframes to every 30 calendar days.

    A separate APTA letter on the OPPS (.pdf) requests that CMS remove physical therapy from the potential services packaged in the proposed comprehensive ambulatory payment classifications (APCs), and that the agency collect cost and utilization data on the proposed packaged ancillary services program and its effects on patient outcomes. The association also writes in support of a CMS-proposed revision to remove the physician recertification requirement for inpatient admission (with the exception of long stays and outlier cases).

    APTA's comments on the DMEPOS rule (.pdf) recognize CMS for its efforts to curb fraud, waste, and abuse but warn that "certain proposed changes … could impede or delay access to timely medically necessary care." The association recommends that CMS proceed carefully with any plans to move to competitive bidding and bundled payment approaches, and urges the agency to conduct pilot testing before implementing any broad program.

    CMS will consider all comments submitted and issue final rules for these settings on or around November 1, 2014.


    Tuesday, September 02, 2014RSS Feed

    Mark Your Calendar for the Latest on Parkinson Disease

    Coming later this month: the latest scientific information on Parkinson disease (PD) will be as close as your own Internet device, when the World Parkinson Coalition (WPC) hosts its first-ever series of free webinars.

    Called "WPC Scientific Update: Parkinson Pipeline Umbrella," the series will include 6 separate panel discussions available as live streaming presentations. Two discussions will be presented each day at 12 pm and 2 pm ET from September 30 through October 2. The program is free and will include presentations on protein folding, mitochondrial biology, therapeutics, treatment, dopamine efficacy, and personalized medicine from leading researchers and experts. Descriptions of the sessions can be found on the WPC website.

    Registration for the presentations is now open. WPC also plans to archive the presentations for later viewing.

    WPC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an international forum to learn about the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices, caregiver initiatives, and advocacy work related to PD. The coalition brings together physicians, scientists, nurses, rehabilitation specialists, caregivers, and people with PD to help expedite the discovery of a cure and best treatment practices.

    APTA offers several resources on the role physical therapy can play in the treatment of PD, including a PT's Guide to Parkinson Disease, a Move Forward radio broadcast on the topic, and evidence-based practice research that can be accessed through PTNow.


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