2011 State Government Affairs Forum Highlights

Almost 200 physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, and physical therapy student advocates from across the country attended the APTA State Policy & Payment Forum, September 24-26, 2011, in Austin, TX. This event, cohosted with the Texas chapter, was designed to increase participants' involvement in and knowledge of state policy and payment issues that have an impact on the practice of physical therapy, and improve their advocacy efforts at the state level. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from influential public policy makers and other physical therapy advocates; to collaborate with colleagues in developing and improving their components' state advocacy efforts; and to network with other professionals from across the country. This year's event was combined with the annual APTA Component Reimbursement Chairs Meeting.

This year's forum featured a variety of informational and strategy sessions on topics including: the implementation of health care reform at the state level; fair physical therapy copay legislation; utilizing social media in the state legislative advocacy; referral for profit (POPTS); silent Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs); concussion legislation; accountable care organizations (ACOs); and more.

In addition, the 2011 APTA State Legislative Awards were presented in conjunction with this year's forum. For their individual leadership on legislation advancing or defending Vision 2020 in the state arena, the APTA Board of Directors awarded the 2011 State Legislative Leadership Award to Paul Gaspar, PT, DPT, CCS, of the California chapter and Marcia Smith, PT, PhD, of the Colorado chapter. Paul was recognized for his work on the successful defeat California Assembly Bill 783, which would have nullified the current California law that prohibits physician referral for profit in physical therapy (POPTS). Marcia was recognized for her leadership on the passage this year of Colorado Senate Bill 169, the new Colorado Physical Therapy Practice Act.

In recognition of their long-term commitment to their chapters' state advocacy activities over several years and for consistently providing assistance in the statehouse, the APTA Board of Directors awarded the 2011 State Legislative Commitment Award to Jim Stoker, PT, SCS, of South Carolina, Emmett Parker, PT, MS, ATC, of Alabama, and Eric Wilson, PT, of Texas. Jim, who has worked tirelessly over the last several years defending the current South Carolina anti-POPTS law from repeal, has been a key leader in improving and coordinating the South Carolina chapter's advocacy and lobbying resources. Emmett was recognized for his many years of service as legislative chair for the Alabama chapter and his work on new initiatives in support of direct access legislation in Alabama. In his role as chairman of the Texas chapter's Government Affairs Committee, Eric significantly improved the Texas chapter's legislative and lobbying efforts, resulting in considerable progress towards the passage of legislation to improve direct access in 2011, as well as record fundraising for the Texas chapter's political action committee (PAC).

The 2012 State Policy & Payment Forum is scheduled for December 1-3, 2012, at the Hilton in Old Town Alexandria, VA, and will be combined with the 2012 APTA Reimbursement Chairs meeting and the 2012 APTA Board of Directors meeting.


Eric Wilson, PT, (left) and Paul Hardin, CAE, of the Texas chapter share how they integrated social media strategies and public relations in support of the Texas chapter's legislative campaign to achieve unfettered direct access.

James Syms, PT, DSc, ATC , SCS, (left) and Paul Gaspar, PT, DPT, CCS, discuss the fierce legislative battle this past year in California on AB 783 legislation, which would have nullified the current antireferral for profit law.


APTA Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs Gayle Lee, JD, reviews physical therapy audits under Medicare with state chapter reimbursement chairs.

Sunday's featured luncheon speaker on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) was Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas.


Gillian Russell, JD, assistant director, APTA Regulatory and Payment Counsel, reviews how state chapters can effectively advocate on proposed local coverage determinations from Medicare contractors.

Daryl Menke, PT, DPT, MCMT, of the Kansas chapter and Carmen Elliott, director of APTA Private Payment Advocacy, provide a case study from Kansas on the issue of PT/PTA payment differential.


Gwen Simons, PT, Esq, OCS, FAAOMPT, of the Maine chapter and Associate Director of Private Payment Advocacy Karen Jost, PT, MS, lead a workshop on the issue of silent PPOs.

Indiana Chapter Executive Director Terry Schroeder provides information on hosting a PT rally at a state legislature. The Indiana chapter held a successful PT lobby day and rally at the Indiana Legislature this year with more than 500 PTs, PTAs, and students rallying in support of direct access.


The 2011 APTA State Legislative Award winners pose with members of the APTA Board of Directors. Pictured from left to right are: APTA Board members Roger Herr, PT, MPA, COS-C; Dianne Jewell, PT, DPT, PhD, CCS; and Paul Rockar, PT, DPT, MS, award winner Marcia Smith, PT, PhD, of Colorado; APTA President Scott Ward, PT, PhD; award winner Emmett Parker, PT, MS, ATC, of Alabama; APTA Board member Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS; and award winner Eric Wilson, PT, of Texas. Not pictured: award winners Jim Stoker, PT, SCS, of South Carolina and Paul Gaspar, PT, DPT, CCS, of California.

The Texas state capitol dome in Austin.